Join in the celebrations of one of Stavanger’s most important art institutions!
In 2015 Stavanger Art Society – which runs Kunsthall Stavanger – turns 150. The event will be celebrated with an anniversary exhibition in four parts with a combined opening and birthday party open to everyone on Thursday 26 November 18:00 – 21:00. The official opening of the exhibition will be conducted by Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey. The exhibition is open 26 November 2015 – 17 January 2016.
An important history
Stavanger Art Society was founded in 1865 by citizens of Stavanger with an interest in art. The first chairman of the Society was Consul and amateur artist Jens Zetlitz Kielland, and at the beginning it had 62 members. In 1925, Stavanger Art Society was the first of the country’s art societies to move into its own building. The inauguration of the building by King Haakon VII was at the same time an element in the 800th anniversary of the city of Stavanger.
Since its establishment Stavanger Art Society has been an important social meeting place for the artistic life of the region, where artists, art-lovers and cultural workers have joined hands over the years to establish Stavanger as the city of art that it is today. The Art School in Rogaland was established in the Art Society’s basement premises in 1958, and a considerable part of the art collection of the Stavanger Museum of Art has its origins in the Stavanger Art Society. In 2013 the Stavanger Art Society changed its name to Kunsthall Stavanger, meaning that the focus has shifted from collection and objects to an active arena for changing exhibitions of Norwegian and international contemporary artists and expanded presentation options.
The 150th anniversary
The celebrations of the 150th anniversary will illustrate and elucidate parts of the Art Society’s archives and history for the modern public, and will use this as a starting point for reflection on the institution’s position and role today as a space for art and a social meeting place.
– We are looking forward to celebrating a society that has been so important to Stavanger’s artistic and cultural life, and which has generated so much commitment over the years, says the director of Kunsthall Stavanger, Hanne Mugaas.
– We hope that as many as possible of Stavanger’s residents will come to see and discover the Art Society’s rich history. But even though we are celebrating our history, we are also looking to the future – as represented by the contemporary art aspect of the exhibition.
The celebration consists of four parts:
– an archival part, in which extracts from the history of the Stavanger Art Society are activated to present milestones and high points that clarify the Society’s significant role as an exhibition and meeting place, and not least as an arena for debate. With archive footage from the Norwegian broadcasting corporation NRK, old photographs from the newspapers, and documentation of the art that was acquired for the Art Society over time, a many-sided, rich picture of the history of the institution is built up.
– a group exhibition of Norwegian contemporary artists who have explored historiography and archives in various media. The exhibition includes both earlier artworks, and new ones based on the history of the Art Society. The participating artists are Ragnhild Aamås, Album (Eline Mugaas and Elise Storsveen), Lene Berg, Susanne Christensen, Mai Hofstad Gunnes, Toril Johannessen, Jon Benjamin Tallerås, Linn Cecilie Ulvin and Tori Wrånes.
– a publication that combines the archive and group exhibitions in a visual and discursive forum. Kristina Ketola Bore, Jørund Aase Falkenberg, Holly Pester, Victoria Øye and Hanne Mugaas look at the significance of the Society as a place for showing art, and how the Society has been a forum for debate and engagement.
– a series of events that invite the public to art and dance experiences that reflect the Society’s rich history as a social meeting place. These include an art discotheque, a concert, a performance, a special presentation programme for children and young people, and the launch of Kunsthall Stavanger’s series of art prints, which will be on sale in our shop. A programme for these events will soon be posted on our website.
The archive part of the anniversary exhibition has been developed and designed by Kristina Ketola Bore, design writer; Rene Josdal, graphic designer; Hanne Mugaas, managing director, Kunsthall Stavanger; Maya Økland, curatorial assistant, Kunsthall Stavanger; and Kenneth Varpe, member of the board of Kunsthall Stavanger. The group exhibition and the event series have been put together by Hanne Mugaas and Maya Økland. The publication has been edited by Kristina Ketola Bore and designed by Rene Josdal.
The exhibition is supported by Arts Council Norway, Fritt Ord, Rogaland County Council and Norwegian Art Societies.