Dear friends and colleagues close and afar,

We hope this message finds you in good health, and that you have the possibility to take a break before the new year’s arrival.

Normally, this is the period in which we celebrate and reflect upon the past year’s events and experiences (and their impact on us), ultimately turning a hopeful gaze towards the quickly approaching new year. However, 2020 has undoubtedly been a turning point that will be difficult to forget, presenting changes in our habits that might be long lasting. It has been a year of loss, both metaphorically and literally. This laceration will require time to heal, especially with the awareness of a world order impacting our local and global communities. It has also been a year in which capitalism’s exploit has reached its maximum profitability yet, and a dominant and unmistakably technocratic paradigm of collective safety has imposed new normative choreographies on our bodies and day-to-day movements. As a consequence, our individual spaces and thoughts have never been experienced more urgently.

As emotions intensify – putting pressure on our mental space – it is inevitable to seek comfort in the face of adversity. What happens to art during these times of crisis? What kind of collective actions can we take to keep critical thought alive, allowing us to fulfill our role as a publicly funded institution? This year, rather than primarily devoting ourselves to the production of exhibitions in a physical space, we focused on creating a freer space for artistic and curatorial experimentation, as well as bridging artistic discussions in our local and international contexts. During 2020, we moved back and forth between our physical location in Møllergata, Oslo, and the not-always-known location of the Internet. These migratory moves enabled a continued discussion of how images produced within and beyond these difficult times have the power to produce resilience and solidarity. How they can bring renewed urgency to the volatility of our shared present and future moments.

To analyze, as well as to provide alternative images, is of a political nature, and the clear task of culture shaping our present condition. Your dedication and support have allowed us to navigate the year in a different way and to catalyze new ways of thinking: We are grateful you have been with us.

Fotogalleriet feels especially humbled by our local and international community’s generosity and support. Let’s Talk About Images 2.1.0., a series of digital exercises in thought, was held between 15 April–7 June. Built around the feeling of being under siege during the first months of confinement, the series reached the attention of large news outlets such as NRK and Klassekampen. This attention confirms the claims and struggles for democratic processes of small and medium-sized exhibition spaces, like Fotogalleriet. Bouchra Khalili’s exhibition The Nordic Chapter, co-produced by Fotogalleriet, Oslo Kunstforening, and TrAP (Transcultural Arts Production) was recently reviewed in the Best of 2020 issue of the well-known art magazine Artforum. In addition, the show was nominated by the cultural magazine Subjekt as one the most significant exhibitions of the year. Days, an experimental soap opera initiated by Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard and Zayne Armstrong, has been reported as an exhibition to remember for 2020 by Nordic Art Review Kunstkritikk. We are thankful that these artistic projects continue to live on as the subject of further discussion. These forms of resonance of the work of local and international practitioners reassures us, from our locale of Oslo, that talking together in this very fragile planetary moment will guide us all to a more certain and serene tomorrow.

After a year of isolationism, it is deeply motivating to witness how creative thinking and practices – invested in traversing both physical and mental borders – have the ability to construct, reinforce and guide new and existing relationships into powerful forms of empirical and situated conversations, both locally and abroad.

The Fotogalleriet-team extends the warmest gratitude to Fotogalleriet’s principal funder The Arts Council Norway, who – together with the Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo), and with the participation of the Oslo Municipality – have provided us with continuous operational support. We would also like to thank The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture for their exhibition honorarium program, honouring the work of artists.

Throughout the year, we have established new alliances and consolidated existing ones, while holding a number of presentations and discussions with both emerging and established practitioners within the field of image-making. Such vast programming was made possible via collaborations and facilitated support, through the Fritt Ord Foundation, AC/E (Acción Cultural Española), Pro Helvetia, Institut Français, FFF (The Norwegian Association for Fine Art Photographers), Oslo Kunstforening, TrAP (Transcultural Arts Production), Kunsthall Trondheim, Telemark kunstsenter, Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Oslo World Music Festival, SPACE (Syrian Peace Action Center), Coculture, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Oslo National Academy of the Arts, The Norwegian Association of Art Societies, Vega Scene, The Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design (KMD) at The University of Bergen, Nordic Culture Point, Agenda X, Elvebakken High School, Fyrstikkalléen videregående skole, Salonul de proiecte, Nøkkel til byen, Khartoum Contemporary Art Center, F21 forlag, Rødtvedt senior and activity center, Kunsthallene i Norge, Oslo Open, Oslo Curator Jour Fixe, Coast Contemporary, Kulturtanken, Den Kulturelle Skolesekken and Øyepå 2020.

We also want to acknowledge the astounding commitment of artists, academics, curators, critics and practitioners who partook in our programs, mobilizing thoughts and actions in both expected and unforeseen ways, including Gilhem All, Julie Hascoët, Zines of the Zone, Inger Lise Hansen, Lotta Hörnroth, Eeva Hannula, Morten Torgersrud, Signe Fuglesteg Luksengard, Una Hunderi, Cicilie Risåsen, Mattias Hellberg, Snorre Nygren, Simen Wahlqvist, Fredrika Eriksson, Siri Vinterly, Alice Mackenzie, Katharina Barbosa Blad, Anders Alm, Eirik Knoop, Simon Gran Danielsson, Carlos Alberto Correia, Natalia Kopinka, Vilde Rudjord, Amelie Dinh, Espen Iden, Simon Blanck, Kai Tormod Hansen, JulieLauritzen, Charlotte Thiis Evensen, Lusa Karlsson, Drömsyskon, Peder Fredskild, Beatrice Alvestad Lopez, Geir Egil Bergjord, Sindre Deschington, Morten Andersen, Kristoffer F. Kråkstad, Carll Goodpasture, Gro Heining, Mona Ødegård, Vilde Salhus Røed, Johan Andrén, Jacob Hurtig, Carla Åhlander, Janne Kruse, Eli Haugen Sandnes, Engagement Arts, Ilse Ghekiere, Alexandre Contesse, Atelier McClane, Damian Heinisch, Kaisa Syrjánen, Elsa Mette Monteith, Afarin Alsharif, Karen Tjomsland Pettersen, Lasse Årikstad, Katharinae MacDaid, Sara Solana, Helene Sommer, Susanne Hætta, Wolfgang Tillmans, Christophe Daviet-Théry, Sara R. Yazdani, Fin Serck-Hanssen, Juliàn Barón, Marie Sjøvold, Nadine Wietlisbach, Carmen Winant, Librairie Yvon Lambert, David Horvitz, Nina Strand, Anna Planas and Pierre Hourquet, Hedevig Anker, Tanya Busse, Yamile Calderon, Edward Cunniffe, Ove Kvavik, Tobias Liljedahl, Tor-Finn Malum Fitje, Giulia Mangione, Vegar Moen, Manuel Pelmuş, Katalin Erdödi, Anushka Rajendran, Bjarne Barre, Salvatore Vitale, Philip Di Salvo, Vilde M. Horvei, the Society of the Friends of the Virus, Anahita Alebouyeh, Håkon Hoffart, Anders Eiebakke, Marin Håskjold, Mina Alette Høvik, Tominga Hope O’Donnell, Adrià Julià, Terje Abusdal, Abdul Halik Azeez, Heidi Bale Amundsen, Delphine Bedel, Bruno Ceschel, Paul Gangloff, Erik Gant, Hans Gremmen, Roberto Figliulo, Cosmo Großbach, Sohrab Hura, Kay Jun, Aglaia Konrad, Moritz Kung, Silja Leifsdottir, Hailey Loman, Catalina Lozano, Vijai Patchineelam, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Mette Sandbye, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Ahlam Shibli, Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, Ina Steiner, Niclas Östlind, Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, Antonio Zúñiga, Anne Lise Stenseth, Tom Klev, Henri Terho, Annika Thörn Legzdins, Klara Þórhallsdóttir, Tine Vindfeld, Bouchra Khalili, Helle Siljeholm, Ayman Alazraq, Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard, Zayne Armstrong, Lene Berg, Seán Gallen, JP Horstmann, Zain Saleh, 333 Boyz, Ulrike Buck, Bob Kil, Nicholas Korody, Elizabeth Ravn, Alaa Abdullatif, Andrea Birmingham, Jens Bluemlein, Juan Carlos Cuadrado, Murat Dikenci, Ana Kavalis, Marie Noël, Ottokar Lehrner, Fan Popo, Robin Schick, Elena Schmidt, Ruth Rosenfeld, Kotti Yun, Amir Asgharnejad, Siri Hjorth, Sebastian Makonnen Kjølaas, Emanuele Guidi, Yony Leyser, Andrea Lissoni, Carolina Saquel, Kita Updike, Annika Hagstrøm, Anne-Stine Johnsbråten, Reiko Abe Audestad, Tara Ishizuka Hassel, Brian Cliff Olguin, Azumaru, Marthe Tolnes Fjellestad, Linn Pedersen, Andrea Bakketun, Nasim Mashakog, Sayed Satter Hassan, Alaa Hamameh, Ammar Hatem, Ammar Khattab, Diala Brisly, Fadi Aljabour, Fahed Halabi, Michaele Daoud, Nada Ali, Nagham Hamoush, Nour Safadi, Razan Sabbagh, Ruba Salameh, Tamer Mallak, Yaser Kassab, Yerevan Hassan, and Zena El Abdalla.

Last but not least, we would like to thank our colleagues both near and far, Annika Hagstrøm, Camilla von Køppen, David Robayo, Emanuel Waal, Giuliana Racco, Hauk Hilde Haslum, Herman Breda Enkerud, Jan Khür, Julie Hrncirova, Karen Fosse Rosness, Kim Svensson, Linn Bye, Monika Svendsen, Robert Carter and Solvor Mathiesen Gjerde for having further facilitated our programmes, on site and digitally; as well as Sakib Saboor and Chirine Sbai for their advice and consultancy.

As we all continue to witness a very fragile public space for global discussion, we will take every opportunity at our disposal, every platform, and every available channel to provide nomadic and independent thinking. The exploration of images as a free tool of personal expression is inscribed within Fotogalleriet’s mandate. While such a lofty goal has not yet been reached, it serves as an aspiration to guide us forward. We are grateful for your sharing of on-going thoughts and desires with us. Such dialogues are more important now than ever. As we take a break for a few weeks, we wish you all the best for the coming holiday season, and we look forward to reuniting with you for 2021.

Idleness is also a form of resistance.

Stay safe, and see you in 2021!

The Fotogalleriet-team