12 March – 30 June, 2018


UKS, St. Olavs gate 3

Throughout UKS’ spring program, Scandinavia’s infamously high level of trust in freedom of speech within arts and culture will be called into question. How ideas of modernist contemporary art or “fri kunst” were conceptualized in Norway and abroad in the post-war era is a reoccurring subject, to which Lene Berg, Will Bradley, Anselm Franke, and Paz Guevara, among others, will contribute their perspectives through addresses, collected notes, and moving images.

In the early years of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) notoriously sought to consolidate intellectuals and cultural personas of allied countries as non-communist, igniting intense aesthetic and political debates that still haunt contemporary art. The CIA secretly sponsored a dizzying number of magazines, conferences, and lobby groups around the globe including Scandinavia via the umbrella organization entitled the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). CCF was founded in West Berlin in 1950 and was, for many years, run from Paris by Michael Josselson whose direct liaison with the CIA was scandalously revealed in 1967. Josselson’s story and deception is discussed in the film piece The Man in the Background by Norwegian artist Lene Berg. This film loops Josselson’s private super-8 footage from the 1950s while interviewing his widow Diana nearly 50 years later. At UKS, this work plays a central role in a larger display including, among other findings, articles and magazines documenting CCF’s influence in Scandinavia, such as ephemera from the troubled conference “Race and Colour” held by CCF in Copenhagen in 1965, just before the organization’s cover was blown.

Image: The Man in the BackgroundLene Berg, 2006 (film still).

Images from the exhibition “Free Your Modernity”

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