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Majorstuen, Oslo

Tenthaus Spring Depot II

By Aleksandra Stasiak
Foto: Øystein Thorvaldsen

Tenthaus Oslo is the process-oriented project space of Helen Eriksen, Ebba Moi and Stefan Schröder initiated in 2011. Spring Depot II was a recent concept of Tenthaus Oslo based on the idea of archivization. In this collaborative project 48 artists from Oslo shared their works in relatively small scale, where all the objects fitted into the shelving system. The shelves were originally designed by Stefan Schröder for his work THE ARCHIVE. My thoughts, Your Actions.

The exhibiting artists were selected through an Open Call process. The most surprising aspect though, was the jury itself - language students between 16-20 years from Hersleb School. It was indeed students who selected and placed all the works on the shelves.

 

The spectators were lead through the nostalgic atmosphere of a simple archive room, where  unusual works had found their place on the plain wooden racks. The idea of depot suited the exhibition. The Tenthaus space encompassed a great variety of pieces, as well as themes, from craft and contemporary art, sculptures, models, installations, mechanical constructions, collections, natural resources, books, prints, sketches, soundwork, vocabulary, tapestry up to apothecary. Everything from conceptualism, environmental issues, time, semiotics to simple fantasy. The most important aspect, in my opinion, was that the project brought up a dialog between artists and students inexperienced in art.

Spring Depot II guided students to take 
responsibility and contemplate art from

different perspectives. Working on this project, young people got the chance to

develop awareness and knowledge about the art field, as they were given

the opportunity to practice their curatorial abilities, critical thinking and

decision-making. This dialog was not only a defining concept for the project,

it was indeed alive throughout the exhibition. The students’ hand-written

comments were shown on the information sheets of each shelf object,

so the spectators could follow the process themselves. Students, being still callow, seemed to be authentic and honest in the comments; they were reflective, creative, courageous and considerate.

Some of them had practical thoughts about the amount of time the artist spent on the artwork, how something was made or even simpler - what it was. Some students reflected over the ambience in the works, some liked the colours and shapes, some enjoyed the topics related to nature or some would have liked to get more information about the techniques. Other students had more vivid and thoughtful comments like for example for the work of Øyvind Mellbye, Firefingering, representing knuckles. The student pondered over the ethical aspects of using the weapon as a self defence tool, pointing out that it could have been as well helpful to feminists. Others showed compassion - when it comes to Maria Viirros’ work, Izeto Etching Ink Variations, Photogravure, one of the students wrote: “I think that Maria drew that small brain because her little sister have problem with her brain. She damaged her brain. What I like about the picture is that Maria thought about her little sister.” Or yet someone else went on with some deeper reflection, like towards the work of Bente Tømmerås, where student asked rhetorical questions such as: “Do you think it is fun to sit perhaps whole day to make something that others come and look at?”.

While part of the comments of the young people there were rather simple, there was a part that became more mature or imaginative. A number of students simply showed potential and were willing to explore art. Children are in fact born natural artists with immense amounts of imagination and joy towards objects, colours or textures. Most of these beautiful natural skills, however, get so easily lost without any guidance. Perhaps such an experiment might have kindled their interest in art and helped to guide young people to develop their artistic awareness from earlier stages in life. It could as well have been a way of building a bridge between artists and spectators. All in all Spring Depot II was a great opportunity for both artists and students to expand their way of perceiving and understanding art.

 

In the end, as a spectator experiencing Spring Depot, you are left wondering about the role of art for people outside the art-world nowadays. Schools, one might say, seem to direct people straight throughout the scholar system instead of awaking their passions. Does it mean that art is so deeply excluded from educational system that students develop their emotional and artistic intelligence for the first time between the age of 16-20? When does art start to have meaning for children and teenagers? How is art perceived by them? What forms of visual arts attracts the students’ attention? What would have happened if the same experiment was to be performed for children? Or elderly people?

Tine Aamodt, Jannik Abel, Hedda Roterud Amundsen, Vibeke Frost Andersen, Kjersti Austdal, Siri Austeen, Åslaug Krokann Berg, Line Berget, Johan Urban Bergquist, Bjørn Bjarre, Hild Borchgrevink, Stein Are Kjærås Dahl, Helene Duckert, Anne Liv Einarsen, Eli Eines, Glen Farley, Thale Fastvold, Amy Franceschini, Hilde Frantzen, Andrea Galiazzo, Joana Gelazyte, Elna Hagemann, Daniel Hansen, Tsanko Hristov, Øyunn Hustveit, Mathilda Höög, Sabina Jacobsson, Mariana R Jaskowsky, Kjersti Lande, Grete Marstein, Øyvind Mellbye, Ingvild Brekke Myklebust, Anni Onsager, Kirsten Opstad, Julie Oredam, Lisa Pacini, Klara Pousette, Shwan Dler Qaradaki, Astrid Runde Saxegaard, Ulla Schildt, Julie Skarland, Øyvind Sørfjordmo, Helene Torp, Bente Tømmerås, True Solvang Vevatne, Maria Viirros, Allyce Wood

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