”Et rom med en stor elektronisk datamaskin”
(”A room with a big electronic computer”)
An exhibition by Karen Skog and Anja Ulset
Review by Linda Trengereid, 26 September 2008
Galleri Fisk is for the next 2 weeks filled with the works of the two MA students Karen Skog and Anja Ulset. Everything from small drawings, objects of different sorts and plants are occupying the wall space.
The two MA students have been working separately with the small artpieces exhibited, except for the small plants which are taken from a forest called “Ulset Skog”, which is also a combination of the two artist’s last names. This is not the only thing that in a way combines the artists. Their work, although somewhat different in their pursuance, still has many similarities in their expression, and together I think it works as a wholeness, even to the extent that you may sometimes have trouble with separating who’s done what.
On the opening night, and as long as the exhibition is open, they will have a machine in the middle of the room containing tickets which they will sell for 30 kr. The ticket you can change into any artpiece you like best to bring home with you. This action questions the value of art, is their work not worth more that 30 kr?
At “http://www.artbusiness.com/pricerealistic.html” you can read the following:
“The opposite of placing excessively high prices on works of art with high levels of personal meaning or emotional attachment is placing excessively low prices on works of art that lack those qualities. “
I don’t believe this is their intention at all, their work is visibly personal, almost on the verge of being nostalgic. If I was to pay 30 kr for one piece I would in a way feel that I robbed them of one of their personal belongings, not giving anything more in exchange than a burger (a small one actually) at McDonalds is worth.
The viewer of course also has the choice of not exchanging the ticket at all, but just pay for the event itself, or the ticket, which I guess also could be one of the small items exhibited. I wonder if the price had been higher, let’s say about 200 kr, if people would then hesitate more about buying something from the exhibition, because it is no doubt in my mind that the gallery will be quite quickly emptied of the artpieces exhibited for the small amount of 30 kr. And it would be interesting to see what items went first, and what was left in the end.
An art museum in Milwaukee once had a Francis Bacon exhibition, in the marketing e- mail the museum sent out it said under a section headed “What It’s Worth”:
“Your $14 ticket provides you with the opportunity to see paintings that are being sold for $30 million at auction. Learn more about the value of your ticket here.”
The value of the ticket in this case is an artpiece. Or are we then as paying customers giving more of us than they are, simply by engaging in the artist’s “happening”, being led to do as they want us to and the small artpieces that can be ours for only 30 kr working as a carrot?
I think it’s more like a trade. The viewers, or customers if you like, get something they want for a small price, and the artists get what they want, the participation in their artwork, which is really not just all the small objects for sale, but the whole exhibition it self, a happening in a way.
And in the end we may all go home happy.