press release

Experiences of Oil
November 12, 2021–April 18, 2022

Oil and other fossil fuels set the premises for today’s society, enabling speed of communication and mobility of people and goods. It is present everywhere in our material surroundings: from our furniture and clothes, to the food we eat and the pharmaceutical products we need. Oil has literally lubricated the engine of globalisation and led to far-reaching changes in societal structures. Oil related industries have led to enormous material prosperity for some nations and political and armed conflict for others, as well as aggregated destruction of the natural environment on a large scale for all. Always in close physical proximity, oil shapes individual experiences and identities alike. Experiences of Oil displays artworks that trace various experiences that living close to oil creates, as well as its rippling effects on society. The participating artists have personal connections to some of the world’s largest oil producing nations. Their contributions explore the social, cultural, and emotional aspects of oil and its economic and political frameworks. The exhibition thereby offers an opportunity for reflection on and comparison of oil nations. Is it possible to imagine an affective neighbourhood between these different geographical areas and nations—based on oil? The exhibition examines how the invisibility of oil, and its language, representations and visual culture, affect identities, nation states, power structures, and the lived experiences of indigenous peoples. This exhibition highlights how the business of extracting oil perpetuates and enforces power, disempowerment, and colonial structures.

Stavanger is the third largest metropolitan area of Norway, and commonly known as the “oil capital of Norway.” Experiences of Oil will be on view at Stavanger Art Museum and in public space throughout the city of Stavanger over the course of the exhibition period.

With contributions by Liv Bugge, Christopher Cozier, Ane Graff, INFRACITIONS, Linda Lamignan with David Lamignan Larsen, Alessandro Marchi, Otobong Nkanga, Camille Norment in collaboration with Lisa Harris and Sarah Prosser, Monira Al Qadiri, Farah Al Qasimi, Raqs Media Collective, Øyvind Rimbereid, Shirin Sabahi, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chai Siris, Brynhild Grødeland Winther, Kiyoshi Yamamoto.

Experiences of Oil is curated by Anne Szefer Karlsen and Helga Nyman.