Photo: Kobie Nel

Toril Johannessen is the Festival Exhibition artist 2024

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August 17, 2023

Toril Johannessen will be the Festival Exhibition artist at Bergen Kunsthall in 2024.

Toril Johannessen grew up in Harstad, studied at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design and lives and works currently in Bergen. Internationally recognised for her work, Johannessen has shown in national and international exhibitions, including documenta 13 (2012) in Kassel, Munchmuseet on the Move (2018) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (2016), both in Oslo, as well as public art projects for the Bergen City Hall (2022) and the air station in Evenes (2023).

A central theme in Johannessen’s work is the exploration of structures and frameworks of knowledge. From folk wisdom to scientific approaches, she delves into a wide range of areas with different traditions and conditions, highlighting the diverse connections between them. Historical contexts are linked with recent technological developments, shedding light on how these factors interact and shape how we perceive and create reality. Johannessen works with various media, including prints, information graphics, text and installations.

'We’re very proud to present Toril Johannessen as artist for the Festival Exhibition 2024! Since the early 2010s, she became internationally known as one of the prominent artists working with a conceptual, research-driven approach. In Norway, she’s a key artist of her generation, with an  outstanding work which addresses art in relation to multiple forms of  knowledge production. Toril has been for many years based in Bergen, and as a Bergen-based organisation, it’s an immense pleasure to work with a local artist on this important exhibition – we can’t wait to see what we can make appear in the Festival Exhibition 2024!', says Axel Wieder, director  of Bergen Kunsthall.

“Johannessen has an exceptional ability to challenge established viewpoints.”

- Silja Leifsdottir, curator of exhibitions at Bergen Kunsthall

Information as material is central in many of Johannessen’s projects,  including developing her own methods for datasets that form the basis of her works. With this approach, she challenges conventional boundaries between art and science, and highlights social structures and events that might  otherwise seem inaccessible. The exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall will take its starting point in the artist’s current research on the military presence and the geopolitical situation of the High North.

'Johannessen has an exceptional ability to challenge established viewpoints and explore how various methods and forms of expression influence our ways of perceiving the world. With her works, the audience is encouraged to reflect on their own role as participants in an ever-shifting reality,' says Silja Leifsdottir, curator of exhibitions at Bergen Kunsthall. 

About the artist

Johannessen has a master’s degree from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts (now KMD, University of Bergen) and studied also at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee, and at the artist-run initiative Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include a project for Entrée and Trykkeriet, Bergen (2019); Munchmuseet on the Move, Oslo (2018); ARoS, Aarhus (2017); Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (2017); Trondheim Kunstmuseum (2016); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2016). Besides documenta 13 (2012) in Kassel, she also participated in large-scale exhibitions at Munch, Oslo (2022); Malmö Konstmuseum (2021); LIAF, the Lofoten International Art Festival (2019); the 13th Dak’Art Bienniale de Dakar (2018); Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2017); and the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013). 

The Festival Exhibition

The Festival Exhibition is Bergen Kunsthall's flagship exhibition, established in 1953. The artist is selected by Bergen Kunsthall's Director in cooperation with the Exhibition curator. Each summer, Kunsthallen presents a largescale exhibition with new work by a Norwegian artist, in connection with the Bergen International Festival. The exhibition is considered the most important solo presentation for a Norwegian artist in their home country and creates a national debate about the state of the art, similar to the Turner Prize in the UK. Recent Festival Exhibition artists include Gardar Eide Einarsson (2013), Ane Hjort Guttu (2015), Joar Nango (2020), Elisabeth Haarr (2021), Lene Berg (2022) and Camille Norment (2023).

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