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The National Museum of Norway Museum of Contemporary Art announces I Wish This Was a Song Music in Contemporary Art

The National Museum of Norway Museum of Contemporary Art announces I Wish This Was a Song Music in Contemporary Art, an exhibition on view 14 September 2012–20 January 2013.

Ragnar Kjartansson, The End – Rocky Mountains, 2009. 5-channel video installation. Courtesy of the artist, i8 Gallery, Reykjavik & Luhring Augustine, New York.

In the last ten to twenty years, hardly any other art form has had a greater influence on contemporary art than music, and today, many artists are working at the crossroads between music and the visual arts. Which strategies characterise these works? Which effects do they attempt to evoke? And how do they relate to the extensive legacy of aural and visual experiments of the 20th century avant-garde? The exhibition resulting from these investigations includes more than 80 artworks ranging from painting, drawing, sculpture and installations, to photography, video and pure sound and focuses, with a few exceptions, on recent production. The musical input ranges from classical to rock, pop and independent but most of all the exhibition underlines how music and visual arts can be melted into a unique artistic vocabulary. Thus being a lively approach to the classical theme of a paragon of the arts, the emblematic example being the title-giving painting, I Wish This Was A Song by British artist Tim Ayres.

Music is an important element in popular culture. It plays a role for the identity of people and social relationships. Like visual art it is culturally rooted, but it is also universal and independent of other language codes. Music and lyrics of songs can be poetry, manifestoes, political discourses; they can be gentle courting messages or declarations of conflict, entertaining or thought-provoking. Like an art work which makes you dwell in colours or dance around its forms, a piece of music can break all rational resistance and take you on a journey of sensual sensations. Like an art installation, an experimental music piece can build up an imaginary space with an almost architectonic quality or fill it up with sculptural presence. It is therefore no surprise that music has been appropriated by artists as part of their creative and expressive strategies, by playing with its qualities and valences as a raw material. Whilst parts of the exhibition will actually set the visitors into motion, others will halt them in contemplation. Mute instruments are turned into sculptures and installations invite us to imagine music with our eyes. Exploring the different artistic strategies that are employed to capture music in visual arts, the exhibition is organized in seven chapters: Looking to the classics, Move it! Performative Sculpture, Sing Along, Sounds of Silence, Synesthesia and an extensive Live program throughout the course of the exhibition.

On the opening day there will be live performances by the Oslo Complaints Choir, Jan Köchermann & Doppelgenscher with Pressesprecher, Laura Bruce & Dangerpony, Diamanda Galas and KILLL.

The exhibition is curated by Stina Högkvist and Sabrina van der Ley. A bilingual catalogue with texts by Sezgin Boynik, Stina Høgkvist and Anne Hilde Neset, and many others has been edited by Ingvild Krogvig and designed by NODE. Education & events: Camilla Frøland Sramek, project leader: Anita Rebolledo.

I Wish This Was a Song – Music in Contemporary Art is a large scale group exhibition filling the entire museum of contemporary art and featuring work by 48 international artists:
Nevin Aladağ, Dave Allen, Apparatjik in collaboration with Audiokolor, Fikret Atay, Tim Ayres, Johanna Billing, Arild Boman, Libia Castro & Olafur Olafsson, Christoph Brech, Catti Brandelius, Laura Bruce, Clegg & Guttmann, Sophie Clements, Phil Collins, Graham Dolphin, William Engelen, Fadlabi, Gilbert & George, Goodiepal, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Her Noise Archive, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Idris Khan, KILLL, Ragnar Kjartansson, Stian Eide Kluge, Erkki Kurenniemi, Jan Köchermann, João Ferro Martins, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Bruce Nauman, Terje Nicolaisen, Camille Norment, Susan Philipsz, Adrian Piper, Santiago Reyes, Michael Sailstorfer, Tom Sandberg, Wilhelm Sasnal, Félix González-Torres, Tori Wrånes, David Zink Yi.

The National Museum of Norway
Museum of Contemporary Art
Bankplassen 4, Oslo

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