Artist: Marte Johnslien
Exhibition title: Forms of Protest
Curated by: Gerd Elise Mørland
Venue: Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
Date: November 14, 2014 – March 1, 2015
Photography: Courtesy of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
As part of its commitment to the production of contemporary art, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) has commissioned a new work by emerging Norwegian artist Marte Johnslien: Forms of Protest, 2014.
Mindfulness and meditation practices are increasingly popular and often associated with self-development and self-improvement. Looked upon as individual acts of withdrawal, they come across as pacifying practices at odds with societal engagement, protest and action.
In this project, Marte Johnslien explores instead the mentioned practices not as acts of withdrawal, but as an active response to the world we live in. Interested in Buddhism as a way to open up the senses, she visited the first Tibetan Buddhist Center established in the Western world, Samye Ling in Scotland in 2013 (still operating today). One of the center’s founders, Chögyam Trungpa, developed a philosophy of art he called “Dharma Art,” which became important for artists like Alan Ginsberg and Allan Kaprow in the 1960s. Forms of Protest consists of four installations produced according to Trungpa’s Dharma Art, in which connections between social involvement, spiritualism, and art coincide.
Motivated to find a tool for creating a personal space of action, Johnslien in this project presents the idea of spirituality as the opposite of withdrawal: as a way to connect.
The commission of this work for HOK’s collection marks the conclusion of a series of eight commissioned works made possible by generous support from The DNB Savings Bank Foundation (2011–14) with projects by Angel Nevarez & Valerie Tevere, Camille Norment, Camilla Løw, Jenny Hval, Lene Berg, Are Mokkelbost, and Lea Porsager.