“Which exhibitions, events and publications were the most important, most cutting-edge or most affecting of 2016? The Kunstkritikk Best of cavalcade sums up the art scene of 2016 in contributions written by our own staff and specially invited guests. “
Ellef Prestsæter, curator, critic, member of Scandinavian Institue for Computational Vandalism and PhD scholar in Art History from the University of Oslo choose The edge must be scalloped.
I en tid der installasjonsbildet så å si alltid trumfer installasjonen, og et installasjonsbilde bare er et bilde blant alle andre i strømmen, er det oppløftende å oppleve noen som faktisk bryr seg om utstillingsrommet og som ved hjelp av enkle og presise grep tar rommet i bruk, med sikte på å forvandle betrakteren. For Sanna Helena Berger er ikke den hvite kuben noe speilskap eller ekkokammer, men et subtilt instrument for å modulere sosiale relasjoner, vaner, minner, kropper. «Even in swimming».
In a time when the image of installations trumps the installation itself and an installation-image is nothing but just another one adding to the flood, it is uplifting to experience someone’s work who actually cares about the physical room in which installation occurs. And who by the help of minimal and precise tools makes use of this room with consideration of the visitor, the viewer.
For Sanna Helena Berger, the White Cube is neither mirror or ecochamber but a subtle instrument to moderate social relations, habits, memories and bodies. Even in swimming.
Anonymous advert in free Helsinki newspaper Metro
“Art exhibition open for all”
‘AD’, Agency (properties of pseudo-public spaces as a prelude), Sorbus, Helsinki
Doorbell affixed to the outside of Sorbus Gallery during Agency (properties of pseudo-public spaces as a prelude)
Today’s distance is present in a strange absence of struggle for social co-presence of spectators before the artwork, actual or symbolic as a basis of any work. Situations that are constructed for private use is labelled public even when these situations deliberately exclude others. Trying to shake off the constraints of the ideology of mass-communications, this general mechanisation of social functions gradually reduce our space.
Spaces claiming to be open to all are purposefully counter-active, restricting opportunities for inter-human relations. I suggest then a site-repair; A narrowing down of character-flaws of this space. The hierarchy of the closed space posing as open must be evaluated, not only in this present but in view of the human consciousness. In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect it is the assumption that a gesture of anarchistic reclamation of free circulation is a bitter aftertaste of symbolic non-conformism which inevitably will leave you behind. Less likely to achieve ‘success’ and more likely to grow desperate and self-humiliating.
Paradoxically this has tended to promote a status quo of conventional self-censoring pre-agreed pragmatism, endless re-evaluation, curation, and homogeneous neutrality as conservative cultural hierarchy.
The equation between the resulting consequential aesthetics and the market propels us into a regression where we encounter nothing but the deeply entrenched authority of the white male elite. The “art world” is then a sanctuary in which are preserved and assured these types, who would soon be obsolete if left to fight in an intellectual sphere rather than the pen in which they trotter in the search of art as commodity.
Anyone claiming that these arguments have grown tired and orthodox is anyone who brews in the stagnate lukewarm bathwater where the idea that by social exclusion and unavailability we reach higher by reaching fewer.
The same bathers who force us to account for the value of art with marketing statistics and audience figures become essential to securing justification for the arts.
Then any experimentation and right to work without goals or result loose the capability of becoming a gesture or thought in the process. The bather’s statement is then that any socially inclusive art as a reception is only a camouflage fostering aspirations to eventually become socially exclusive art and in its transformation add both intellectual and monetary value both to the work, the artist and the gallery by extension.
Lost is then the discarding and disregarding of institutional spaces and the ambition to maintain a practice that could collapse both socially and politically constructed boundaries in acts of spontaneous communication which could both promote and further movement into truly public spaces. Instead of being herded along the long corridors of bureaucracy and monotony into the most private of domains where rooms within rooms open up for the estimable disadvantage of the shared private experiences of the elite.
Plaque representing separate lease agreement signed by myself, Maria Gorodeckaya, Emma Siemens – Adolphe and witness Hanna Laura Kaljo, co-founder of Jupiter Woods. The Lease agreement was drawn up as a contractual agreement in consideration to the leasing of Poem “Number 4”, a work by Maria Gorodeckaya leased as a time specific temporary intellectual property by Sanna Helena Berger, the work in its secondary state existing not only as poem but as temporary commodity; A rental. The contract stipulates a one-off leasing of Maria Gorodeckaya’s poem “Number 4“ which featured in the group show Resident / Longshore Drift curated by Jupiter Woods, London at Sorbus Galleria, Vaasankatu 15, 00500 Helsinki, Finland. Poem “Number 4” was re-read by Emma Siemens-Adolphe on Sanna Helena Berger’s request on Tuesday the 26th April 2016 between the hours of 2.30pm and 4.30pm at Vantaa Airport, Helsinki, Finland. The second reading took place outside of the gallery room where it was originally intended to be read and heard, instead, a public poem momentarily re-appropriated by the temporary artist-turned-collector Sanna Helena Berger, momentarily removing the author, the intended reader identity (male) and the intended audience (gallery). Value is not only then added in the form of a one off payment but also stripped from the poem as original – the action of relocation is the predominant act affixed to the work which turns the reading itself into a placeholder or artefact of the trade.
Agency (properties of pseudo-public spaces as a prelude)
Published in EVA catalogue as part of Kulturforum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Housed at Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB), City library Berlin
A range shown at Jupiter Woods, London featured in Alla Carta Magazine, 2015