press release

This international group exhibition presents works that explore issues to do with democracy, national identity and personal freedom. The defence of individual freedom has become a controversial topic in which the concept of the nation plays an ambiguous role. The exhibition is part of the celebrations to mark the bicentennial of Norway’s Constitution. It will examine, interpret and comment on the philosophical and political ideals of 1814 in a contemporary perspective.

A key theme of the exhibition is freedom of speech, one of the fundamental human rights set down in the Norwegian Constitution. The exhibition shows works by international artists with a defining interest in the opportunities, but also the threats, associated with free expression in a world still plagued by systematic violations of human rights. Concepts such as democracy, independence and nationality are linked to contemporary discourses on culture and diversity and the struggle for freedom and the ideals of liberty. Human rights and personal freedom are being challenged. Traditional concepts such as citizenship and the nation are becoming unstable.

Artists represented in exhibition include John Akomfrah, Maja Bajevic, Andrea Bowers, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Phil Collins, Jeremy Deller, Olga Egorova og Natalya Pershina (Chto Delat), Gardar Eide Einarsson, Jihan El-Tahri, Matias Faldbakken, Rainer Ganahl, Sharon Hayes, Marianne Heier, Susan Hiller, Glenn Ligon, Jumana Manna og Sille Storihle, Aleksandra Mir, Pussy Riots, Slavs and Tatars, Superflex, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei has become a world famous artist for his protests against the restrictive political system in China. The photograph is part of an ongoing series in which the artist is showing his middle finger in front of well known sites and landscapes. The series started in 1995 with Ai Weiwei’s gesture in front of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, six years after the Tiananmen Square protest and massacre in 1989.

An installation by Maja Bajevic is shown in The National Museum – Architecture as part of this exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by Andrea Kroksnes.