Speakers: Dag Alveng, Dag Erik Elgin, Joacim Sprung & Hanne Hammer Stien.

Thursday 16 November 2017 at 12.30 - 17.00. Fotogalleriet, Møllergata 34, Oslo.
Registration obligatory by Tuesday 14 November (limited seating).

Price: 50 NOK Sign up here.

Fotogalleriet invites to its second seminar as part of the gallery’s anniversary year programme, which aims to reflect on its own existence by mapping a constellation of photographic and image usages through various parallel exhibition formats and discussion platforms.

The seminar, Photography and the Third Dimension, will discuss photography's relationship to documentation by looking at its dual role both as an artwork in itself and as a documentary tool. The seminar will examine the role of photography in relationship to the reiteration and re-staging of historical exhibitions and artworks, including reflections on the aesthetics and methods used to photographically document exhibitions and the artwork displayed. Furthermore, the seminar will address the shift of photography from being considered as illustrative with documentary qualities, towards becoming an independent object expanding beyond its two-dimensional properties.

Similar to the other elements in the anniversary program, the seminar is conceptually linked to the work of Aby Warburg and his Atlas Mnemosyne. Through this atlas, Warburg created an experimental and associative approach to images by using material from his own photographic archive to develop new constellations and associations. By classifying photographic images of historical artworks and objects of cultural history based on their motifs, and not their symbolic meaning, Warburg sought a new form of image analysis to establish new historical connections. Photography was essential in this new thinking method, making it possible to correlate artworks and cultural objects across time and space.

What happens when the photograph as document becomes an object in itself? When does the photograph serve as a mere document, and when does the photographic document become an independent photograph or marker of time that can speak for itself? The invited seminar speakers will discuss and visualise these questions through their work, both as artists and researchers.


Dag Alveng

Dag Alveng is one of Norway's most renowned photographers and, like several other photographers of his generation, took his education at Trent Polytechnic, Nottinhgam in England. Upon his return from England, he founded Fotogalleriet together with fellow colleagues and friends. During the period of his active involvement at Fotogalleriet, he also showed his work at the gallery, but has also shown his work extensively in solo and group exhibitions in Norway and abroad. His retrospective solo exhibition opens at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in February 2018.

Alveng will focus in his talk on two seminal exhibitions: his solo exhibition Vegger (Fotogalleriet, 1979) and his participation in the group exhibition Det poetiske teater 3 (Kunstnernes Hus, 1981).

For Vegger, Alveng photographed Fotogalleriet’s walls and subsequently exhibited the photographs on the exact same walls. Alveng’s work thereby examines the relationship between photography as a two-dimensional medium with three-dimensional properties; the photographs have representative properties, but are at the same time also becoming an object in itself.

As a result of this exhibition, Alveng was invited to participate in Det poetiske teater 3, which had a performative, installative character. For the duration of one week before the opening, Alveng photographically documented the exhibition’s installation process, which were subsequently integrated into the exhibition as Alveng’s represented artworks.

Dag Erik Elgin

Dag Erik Elgin's work is informed by an ongoing investigation into the history of painting, modernist ideals and contemporary visual culture. He is concerned with establishing a practice where the specific physical qualities of painting, historical analysis and personal production are constantly negotiated. Recent projects like Mirror falling from the Wall, Originals Grisaille and La Collection Moderne introduce text based works and repetitive strategies as catalysts for exploring modernism's ongoing affair with current cultural and aesthetic representations.

Dag Erik Elgin’s artistic work may thus at first glance be extrinsically connected to painting and its material qualities, as well as its historical contexts. With an analytical approach, his works are anchored in a deep historical consciousness and what it means to create a work of art from a contemporary perspective.

In his presentation, Elgin will focus on his work Originals/Originals Grisaille and After Image/Half Figure that were shown in the exhibition In search of Matisse at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in 2015. The works’ relationship to photography has not yet been examined at depth, yet plays both a significant and invisible role in the work.

Joacim Sprung

Joacim Sprung is a tenured associate professor, as well as coordinator of the International Master's programme in Visual Culture, at the Division of Art History and Visual Studies, Lund University, Sweden. He has previously taught at Copenhagen University and the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen. His main teaching and research are within the fields of Art historiography, Aesthetics and Visual Culture. Sprung’s doctoral dissertation discussed Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas and the visualization of art history around 1800/1900. Currently he is engaged in a collaborative research project for the exhibition “Myths of Nations. The Clash of Futures. 1914-1945” at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming volume of a Swedish translation of Aby Warburg's texts.

Joacim Sprung’s presentation will focus on the photographic part of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, looking at the actual plates and the different photographers and assistants that helped create this enigmatic atlas. Sprung will discuss the atlas as a collaborative project by the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg(KBW) in Hamburg, which Sprung calls the visual factory.

Hanne Hammer Stien

Hanne Hammer Stien has recently completed her doctoral thesis in art history form UiT Norway's Arctic University, entitled Fotografi i forgrunnen, Fotodokumentasjon og bruk av bilder i kulturhistoriske museer. (2016) (Photography in the Foreground. Photo documentation and the use of images in cultural history museums). In her doctoral thesis, Hammerstien raises questions about the position of photography in a cultural-historical context and examines the practices of photo documentation in museums. Several of the questions raised are: What is the significance of these photographs? What tools are used for photographic documentation? In which way are photographic images part of a larger image culture?

Her presentation at Fotogalleriet is entitled “Towards Photography: Photography and Photo Documentation in a Cultural Historical Context”. Hammer Stien will talk about the use of photo documentation in cultural history museums, and how photography has traditionally served as a background or context for the museums' other objects on display. Today there is a new interest in photography as an object in itself, both as a source and as an image. This interest is related to a new understanding of knowledge in which both art and photography shall foster “situatedness” and “subjectivity”. This means that photography is put in a prominent position in a wider cultural historical context, putting increased emphasis on photography’s formal and aesthetic qualities.

12:30-12:45 Registration
12:45-13:00 Introductions by Stephanie von Spreter and Espen Gleditsch
13:00-13:45 Joacim Sprung
13:45-14:00 Q&A
14:00-14:30 Dag Alveng
14:30-14:45 Q&A
14:45-15:15 Coffee Break
15:15-16:00 Hanne Hammer Stien
16:00-16:15 Q&A
16:15-16:45 Dag Erik Elgin
16:45-17:00 Q&A/Roundup
17:00 -19:00 Opening Nordic Anthology #14 Hanne Lillee

The seminar takes place while the solo exhibition Group Show for Oslo by Shirana Shahbazi is on view and George Kuchar’s Wild Night in El Reno is screened as part of the Camera Movement program. The seminar is followed by the opening of the exhibition Nordic Anthology #14 with the young Norwegian artist Hanne Lillee.