Exhibition: “Poor Art – Rich Legacy” in Oslo


Through February 28 the Exhibition “Poor Art – Rich Legacy” will be displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo, the venerable, former Norwegian Bank building.

The thematic exhibition of works from the collection concentrates on the arte povera movement, which is central to the museum’s collecting policy.

The basis for Arte Povera was furnished by the political protest movements of the late 60s – student revolts and civil rights efforts, and a general opposition to consumerism and the increasing commercialisation of the art world. The term arte povera was introduced by the Italian art critic Germano Celant, who organised the exhibition “Arte Povera – Im Spazio” together with a small group of young Italian artists in 1967.

Arte Povera’s conceptual views, approach to materials and working processes have influenced contemporary artists for the past 40 years. This is reflected in the history of the museum’s collection, which includes both acquisitions of significant Arte Povera works, as well as related practices within land art, post-minimalism and conceptual art.

The exhibition “Poor Art – Rich Legacy: Arte Povera and Parallel Practices 1968–2015” is based on some of the most significant works from the Norwegian National Museum’s collection of contemporary art.

The exhibition gives visitors a new chance to see Michelangelo Pistoletto’s notorious installation Image and Body (1991). Consisting of the museum’s old pieces of furniture, some of which have been turned upside down, Image and Body was shown at the solo exhibition “Minus Objects” in 1991 and later purchased by the museum. The acquisition gave rise to a major public debate.

Mario Merz
Mario Merz

Arte povera was a short-lived but influential art movement whose roots lay in the protest movements of the late 1960s. One thing the arte povera artists had in common was their revolt against the commercial art scene. They were opposed to modern consumer society and wanted to make art more common and quotidian. The leading artists of the movement included Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz, and Gilberto Zorio.

Paolini L'Altra Figura
Paolini L’Altra Figura

All in all, sixty-three artists and ninety works of art are represented in the exhibition. Also featured are fourteen filmed interviews with artists, critics, and the museum’s director, as well as the NRK documentary Time, Money, and Art from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s opening in 1990.

Artists represented at the exhibition: Giovanni Anselmo, John Baldessari, Miroslaw Balka, Per Barclay, Per Inge Bjørlo, John Bock, Hanne Borchgrevink, Louise Bourgeois, Kristina Bræin, Bård Breivik, Gerard Byrne, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jeannette Christensen, Hanne Darboven, A K Dolven, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ida Ekblad, Ólafur Eliasson, Matias Faldbakken, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hilmar Fredriksen, Jon Gundersen, Gjertrud Hals, Svanhild Heggedal, Siri Hermansen, Georg Herold, Marianne Heske, Ane Mette Hol, Ragna St. Ingadottir, Iver Jåks, Marte Johnslien, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Berit Soot Kløvig, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Løvaas & Wagle, Camilla Løw, Mario Merz, Camille Norment, Kirsten Ortwed, Sidsel Paaske, Giulio Paolini, Guiseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Kirstine Roepstorff, Dieter Roth, Ulrich Rückriem, Lara Schnitger, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Susana Solano, Bente Stokke, Gerd Tinglum, Mario García Torres, Mette Tronvoll, Tone Vigeland, Camilla Wærenskjold, Franz West, Snorre Ytterstad, and Gilberto Zorio.
The museum’s permanent installations are also part of the exhibition. In the square outside the museum’s entrance, the audience can view Richard Serra’s towering sculpture Shaft (purchased in 1992), Per Inge Bjørlo’s installation Inner Room V by the ground floor staircase (purchased in 1990), Ilya Kabakov’s installation Garbage Man (The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away, acquired in 1994), and Louise Bourgeois’ Cell VIII.

Exhibition: “Poor Art – Rich Legacy” in Oslo, compiled by Admin