28 January 2024
NO. 3, JANUARY 2024
No. 3, January 2024
CHRISTIANIA FRIATLET KLUBB & VICTORIA DURNAK ON ‘BYENS BILDE’
Byens Bilde was an exhibition concept initiated by UKS in 1952, consisting of a glass display case placed on Eidsvolls Plass outside the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo. Promoting a space for free expression with an actively shifting rotation of works, the concept allowed many opportunities to artistically comment on the current politics – directly to the politicians. Within a series of exhibited artists, the most renowned is perhaps Kjartan Slettemark, whose 1965 contribution Av rapport fra Vietnam. Barn overskylles av brennende napalm. Deres hud brennes til svarte sår og de dør (‘Report from Vietnam. Children are showered in napalm. Their skin burns to black wounds and they die’) spurred controversy and was subjected to repeated vandalism.
In 2023, UKS carried out a pilot project researching the possibility of re-implementing Byens Bilde in a politically charged public space. The project was spearheaded and curated by UKS’ then Communications Officer and Co-curator (now Director at VI, VII gallery), Ida Møller Engebretsen, together with producer Hans Christian Skovholt. With generous support from KORO, this work has laid the ground for working towards a future realization of the project.
As part of the pilot, two artistic contributions were commissioned that each interpret the exhibition concept’s history and possible future. This first issue of UKS Forum in 2024 thus consists of these two, published here for the first time. The anonymous artist group Christiania Friatlet Klubb provides a text in the form of Norwegian folk tale reflecting on the material premises of being an artist. Due to difficulties of translation, it is accompanied by a disparate English version. Alongside this, artist and writer Victoria Durnak reflects on Byens Bilde’s history through a poetic dérive around Oslo’s political urban centre, prompting questions around this city: what does it want and what does it need? (in Norwegian only).
No. 3, January 2024: