Exhibitions

DAYS

This fall, Fotogalleriet will premiere Days, a collaborative ‘soap opera’ by Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard and Zayne Armstrong. The project explores how the cultural phenomenon of day-time drama can become a source of solidarity and social habitus.

Days is produced by and represents the not-so-visible, yet quickly growing precariat: a relatively new social class drawn together by the false promises of neoliberalism.

Days' characters struggle with the absurd everyday issues of financial instability in the city of Berlin. We follow their emotional and moral conflicts, as they juggle poorly paid jobs, which they are overqualified for, at a bar, a hostel, an art gallery and a tech start up; they try to get by in a world concerned with maximum growth and efficiency.

In this new work, Aasgaard and Armstrong combine the flat, low-budget aesthetic of soap opera with ‘magical realism,’ to mirror the potential absurdity of both the genre and society in general. Using the medium of scripted fictional stories to intersect with real lives, the project creates a number of intersecting communities: the on-screen community of the characters, that of the members of the production team, and the audience of Berliners and an international community whose lives are populated with similar concerns of how to pay rent next month. Through these communities, the work engages a conversation about how social, political and cultural contexts affect the on-the-ground experiences of those whose lives depend on immaterial, emotional and abstract labour.

Through a multi-channel video installation, re-staging the sets from the soap opera, the exhibition explores how the supposed 'low-culture' of day-time drama TV, can reflect on the cultural production of the art institution. Are we simply replacing financial capital with cultural capital? Can the broad social engagement of the ‘soap opera’ be transferred to the art institution, in order to create a sense of community for this diffuse class of the precariat? And, can one really manifest the presence of the precariat by opening this public conversation in the art institution? Or are we simply replicating hegemonic models?

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard (born 1991 in Kristiansand, NO) received her BFA from the Malmö Art Academy (SE) in 2012. Aagaard’s installations are caught in between form and function, art and design, discourse and disgust. She reacts to the intrinsic structures of the art world, of socialization, distribution and value creation. With the artist Bror Sander Berg Størseth, Aasgaard worked as a duo under the name Aurora Sander. Their work has been exhibited at several galleries and institutions, including: UKS (NO), Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain (FR), La Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (IT), 7th International Moscow Biennial (RU), Yamamoto Gendai (JP), Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art (DK), Nicolai Wallner (DK) and Sandy Brown (DE). Aasgaard has been a guest lecturer at Prosjektskolen in Oslo and UdK in Berlin.

Zayne Armstrong is an American/British artist born in California in the 80's. He studied art at The New School University in New York, Central Saint Martins in London and Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, where he developed his filmmaking practice. His writing and film work use storytelling to question the singularity of identity and authorship, often working with representations of artists and communities, and how they form, subsist, and collapse. He's had solo shows at Seen Through, and Hermes und der Pfau (Stuttgart), NextVisit (Berlin) and recently at the Lago Mio artist residency, Lugano (CH). He has also been a part of a number of international group exhibitions, among them atAusstellungsraum Klingental (Basel), X-Initiative (NYC), Oracle (Berlin), Tate Modern, David Roberts Art Foundation, and Institute of Contemporary Arts (London). He was part of the virtual curatorial identity Agatha Valkyrie Ice and her Oslo10 residency (Basel); he had a production residency at THEVIEW Studio (Genova); and he was half of the artist duo S/Z, with Elliott Elliott. He's currently preparing a short story for publication with Montez Press, London.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Fotogalleriet's principal funding comes from The Arts Council Norway. Additional funding is provided by the Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo). Partial funding comes from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture and the Oslo Municipality.

The exhibition and soap opera DAYS has been made possible with generous support from The Art Council Norway, the Relief Fund for Visual Artists (BKH) and the Fritt Ord Foundation.

The pilot episode of Days, is written together with Lene Berg, Zain Saleh, JP Horstmann and Seán Gallen. The cast includes: Fan Popo, Ruth Rosenfeld, Alaa Abdullatif, Andrea Birmingham, Julie Chance, Elena Schmidt, Meri Koivisto, Robin Schick, Ottokar Lehrner, Murat Dikenci, Ana Kavalis, Marie Noël, Jens Bluemlein, Juan Carlos Cuadrado, Kotti Yun. The sets are produced in collaboration with Elizabeth Ravn, Nicholas Korody, 333 Boyz, Ulrike Buck and Bob Kil.

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