Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Tate Modern Knut Asdam Screenings

This pair of screenings presents the UK premiere of Knut Åsdam’s two new films, Abyss (2010), shot in East London, and Tripoli (2010), in addition to a selection of earlier works. One of Norway’s foremost artists, Åsdam produces films and video installations that explore the politics and poetics of architecture, space and community. Youth culture, politics, linguistic psychology, music and everyday life are some of the coordinates in Åsdam’s network of complex urban narratives. Drawing and expanding on feminism, queer theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis, he explores and exposes subjectivities defined by language, public spaces, and political authority.

Abyss portrays an urban reality characterised by migration and change—the movement of people, the movement of money and power, and the drift of the imagination. Filmed in East London, including the Thames Gateway and the fringes around the 2012 Olympic construction site, the film is set within spaces of the modern city—markets, gyms, parking lots, parks, squares, streets and stores. The main character, O, negotiates this material world, but the city’s economical, political and social demands appear to have been absorbed into her movements, speech and psychology. The film drifts between a physical place and its psychological effects.

Tripoli emphasises the relationship between urban identities, political history and architectural traces through the preserved relics of our recent past. Tripoli in North Lebanon holds the remains of one of the world’s most distinctive and ambitious construction projects, a stranded vision in the form of an international market place designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1966. On the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975 all the work on the extensive project ceased, and the buildings were never completed. The site is an unfinished monument from an optimistic time in the Middle East, and a historic fantasy, in contrast to the ‘real’ everyday modernism of Tripoli, which rises like a wall of apartment blocks behind. The film is part architectural documentary and part theatrical drama. Tripoli attempts to leave space for a story of violence and the uncanny.

Both programmes are introduced by George Baker, Associate Professor of Art History at UCLA. The screenings are followed by Q&A between Knut Åsdam, George Baker and Tate curator Stuart Comer.

Knut Åsdam was born in Trondheim, Norway in 1968. He currently lives and works in Oslo. Åsdam has exhibited at Tate Britain; Manifesta; the Istanbul Biennial; the Venice Biennale; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; P.S.1, New York; and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He has had solo exhibitions at venues including Bergen Kunsthall (2010); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2007); the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2006); and Kunsthalle Bern (2005). His films have been presented at film festivals including Locarno, Oberhausen and Rotterdam. Feature articles on his work have been published in Artforum, Grey Room, Le Monde Diplomatique, Untitled Magazine among many other publications.

With support from Office for Contemporary Art Norway – International Support


Tuesday 15 February 2011, 7pm

Abyss, 2010, 43 min
Produced by Filmhuset and City Projects, co-produced by Bergen Kunsthall

Filter City, 2003, 23 min
Produced by Fine Arts Unternehmen and Knut Åsdam Studio

Blissed, 2005, 12 min
Produced by Kunsthalle Bern, Objectif Exhibitions, FRAC Bourgogne

Wednesday 16 February 2011, 7pm

Tripoli, 2010, 24 min
Produced by Knut Åsdam Studio and Bergen Kunsthall

Finally, 2006, 18 min
Produced by Mozart 2006, Kontracom

Oblique, 2008, 13 min
Produced by Manifesta 7, FRAC Bourgogne, cGAc Santiago

Image: Knut Åsdam, “Abyss,” 2010

Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Tate Modern Knut Asdam Screenings”