Kunsthall Oslo opening Friday 17th September

Kunsthall Oslo is pleased to invite you to our official opening, and to the preview of the exhibition I Must Say That At First It Was Difficult Work, with works by Dina Danish, Judith Hopf, Johan Berner Jakobsen, Silke Otto-Knapp, Yvonne Rainer, Mary Redmond, John Smith, Saul Steinberg & Inge Morath, and Arild Tveito.

Please join us for the opening on Friday 17th September at 7pm.
Yvonne Rainer's choreographic work Trio A will be performed by Shelley Senter at 8pm.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 18th September to Sunday 24th October.

Kunsthall Oslo is at Trelastgata 3, 0191 Oslo +47 24047202 info@kunsthalloslo.no
Further information, opening hours and directions can be found at www.kunsthalloslo.no

I Must Say That At First It Was Difficult Work combines new commissions from contemporary artists with painting, photography, film and performance from the twentieth century. We have invited five artists to select existing artworks by others, and also to make new work themselves in relation to their selections.

This is not a thematic exhibition, but it is concerned with looking at, thinking about, and making art. It is about how culture is transmitted and also consciously reinterpreted or changed; about that part of an idea or an experience that cannot be bought, sold or archived; about the ways in which the past influences the future and the ways in which the culture of the present alters the way we see the past.

The exhibition title comes from a poem by the British writer Matthew Welton, who took it in turn from Raymond Roussel's essay 'How I Wrote Certain Of My Books'. Roussel describes a literary method in which each line of text is produced in response to the formal qualities of the line before, with the aim of escaping established narrative conventions in search of a new form of expression.

About Kunsthall Oslo

Kunsthall Oslo is a new, non-profit art space located in the Bjørvika area of central Oslo. The space will present a programme of international contemporary art, with an emphasis on new commissions and a parallel commitment to exploring the social and historical context of contemporary art production. Kunsthall Oslo also hosts the independent art bookshop and publisher Torpedo (www.torpedobok.no).

About the artists

Dina Danish has selected the film 'The Girl Chewing Gum' (1976) by the British film-maker John Smith (b. 1952). 'In a twelve-minute take of an ordinary busy street, a voice-over seems to direct the random events that unfold there. ... Much like Chris Marker's best work, Smith's film exposes the constructedness of the real in a way that is fundamentally destabilizing.' Smith's work has been presented in many solo exhibitions including Royal College of Art Galleries, London (2010) and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2010), and in recent years it has been profiled through retrospectives at the 2007 Venice Biennale and film festivals in Oberhausen, Cork, Tampere, Uppsala, Bristol, Regensburg, Glasgow and La Rochelle.

Dina Danish's work combines conceptual art's preoccupation with language and structure with an interest in absurdity, misunderstanding, mistranslation and superstition. She recently took part in the exhibition 'A Fantasy for Allan Kaprow' at CIC Cairo, and performed Kurt Schwitters's Ursonata at the Cairo Pavilion of the Amsterdam Biennial. Danish (b. 1981) studied in Cairo and San Francisco and is currently a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

Judith Hopf has selected photographs from the 'Masquerade' series (1959-63) by Saul Steinberg and Inge Morath. From 1959 to 1963, New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg collaborated with the Austrian photojournalist Inge Morath to produce a series of photographs of Steinberg and others in home-made paper bag-masks. The resulting pictures are straightforward yet displaced from the everyday, both ordinary and uncanny.

Judith Hopf (b. 1969) has a diverse art practice that includes the production of objects and installations, alongside graphic works, texts, performance and film works. The topics addressed in her work range from love to politics. She has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at the Secession in Vienna (2006), Portikus, Frankfurt (2007) and Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2008). Hopf is currently Professor of Art at the Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Kunst, Frankfurt am Main.

Silke Otto-Knapp has selected the dance performance Trio A (1966), choreographed by Yvonne Rainer. Trio A will be performed at the exhibition opening on September 17th by New York-based dancer Shelley Senter. Dance historian Sally Banes has called Trio A "a paradigmatic statement of the aesthetic goals of post-modern dance," and perhaps the most influential piece of choreography of the 1960s and 1970s.

Silke Otto-Knapp (b. 1970) is currently based in London. 'Otto-Knapp came to prominence as a painter of land- and cityscapes rendered in heated colours and with an almost naive clarity ... nature as theatrical in its own right. The focus of Otto-Knapp's work has more recently shifted to the world of ballet and contemporary dance. ... with their rigid poses and sharply defined outlines, these figures are stylistically closer to those of Francis Picabia than of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.' (Catrin Lorch, Frieze #114, 2008). Otto-Knapp's recent exhibitions include, among others, solo shows at the Munich Kunstverein (2010), Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff and Modern Art Oxford (2009), and the group shows While Bodies Get Mirrored, Migros Museum, Zurich (2010) and Strange and Close at the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2009).

Mary Redmond has selected the first chapter of the book 'The Sorceror's Apprentice' (1998) by Tahir Shah (b.1966). The book is a non-fiction memoir of a cross-cultural journey in which a British writer of Afghan descent searches for the Indian origins of certain ritual illusions.

Mary Redmond makes sculpture using a mixture of found objects and raw materials which are altered, shaped, bent, hammered or painted, meticulously worked and carefully placed until it is hard to distinguish the found object from the hand-made. Redmond recently exhibited in Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture at the Henry Moore Foundation and her latest solo exhibition The Floating World opened on 20th August at DCA, Dundee. She lives and works in Glasgow.

Arild Tveito has selected paintings by Johan Berner Jakobsen. Jakobsen (b.1859) grew up in Lofoten in northern Norway, where he worked as a fisherman and farmer, and began his career as a self-taught painter late in life after moving to Oslo. He painted northern landscapes and mythological scenes from memory and imagination, and his work was recognised by the Norwegian avant-garde of the time for its surrealist spirit. This is the first major presentation of his work since a solo exhibition was organised by the Norwegian Artists' Association in 1928.

Arild Tveito (b.1976) studied in Kokkola, Oslo, Munich and Vienna and graduated from Statens Kunstakademiet Oslo in 2010. He has presented his sculpture and installation work in recent solo exhibitions at Dortmund Bodega, Oslo (2010), and Galleri Annen Etage, Oslo (2009) and in group exhibitions at NP Gallery, New York (2010), Al-Mahatta Gallery, Ramallah (2010), The Institute of Social Hypocrisy, Paris (2010) and the Museum for Contemporary Art, Oslo (2009) among many others.