New Ways of Experiencing Art in Kristiansand, Norway

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New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway

A grain silo from 1935 located on the archipelago of Odderøya in Kristiansand has been transformed to a powerhouse for arts and culture. It has given inhabitants and visitors new ways of experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway.

The Kunstsilo art gallery has been converted by Barcelona studios Mestres Wåge Arquitectes, BAX and Mendoza Partida and become home to the world’s largest private collection of modern art from the Nordic region, with more than 5,500 artworks, The Tangen Collectuon.

New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway
Nicolai Tangen believes that the new museum will make Kristiansand a more interesting place to live.

Beyond fish restaurants, wine bars and ice-cream parlors lies what is putting Kristiansand in southern Norway of nearly 112,000 people on the map. The new quayside museum, Kunstsilo, houses the Sørlandssamlingen (the South Collection), The Christiansand Picture Gallery and the Tangen Collection.

In addition to the permanent collections, there will be international digital contemporary art, temporary exhibitions, and expanded offers with lectures, concerts, food experiences, workshops, function rooms and events.

New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway
The Kunstsilo art gallery has been converted by Barcelona studios Mestres Wåge Arquitectes, BAX and Mendoza Partida.

The goal for Kunstsilo was to preserve and celebrate the architecture of the former grain store, completed by Norwegian functionalist architects Arne Korsmo and Sverre Aasland in 1935.

The Tangen collection takes its name from Nicolai Tangen, the manager of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, who bequeathed his collection of Nordic art to Kristiansand, his hometown, in 2015.

New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway
The project was fully financed in 2019 and construction work began the same year.

The project was fully financed in 2019 and construction work began the same year. Kunstsilo, whose location is right in the middle of the new cultural hub situated by the sea in Kristiansand’s city center, opened its doors to the public in May this year.

The opening exhibition, Passions of the North, comprises 600 works from the Tangen collection and was curated by Asmund Thorkildsen, who previously worked with Drammen Museum in Norway. He collaborated with Norwegian art hirtoran Steinar Gjessing. The exhibition showcases significant pieces of Nordic modernism, including Swedish impressionist Isaac Grünewald and Danish surrealist Rita Kernn-Larsen.

The interior of the 37-meter-tall structure has been carved out, creating a grand, “basilica-like” atrium and circulation core that stretches to 21 meters in height.

Around it are the galleries, the majority of which are housed in two adjoining extensions. One of these extensions is a replica of an original volume that had to be rebuilt due to deterioration.

New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway
The opening exhibition, Passions of the North, comprises 600 works from the Tangen collection.

As custodian of the donation from Tangen, Kunstsilo received more than 3,000 ceramics, paintings, photographs, installations and conceptual works. Tangen believes that the new museum will make Kristiansand a more interesting place to live.

Kunstsilo comprises 25 galleries across three storeys, encompassing 3,300 square meters. Across them are works by more than 300 artists from across Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway dating from the 1910s to 1990 – many from Tangen’s own collection.

New Ways of Experiencing art in Kristiansand, Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.

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