Kunsthall 3,14 – Art creating connections across borders
By Maria Vole | Photos: Kunsthall 3,14
Located in the heart of Bergen in a historic former bank building, Kunsthall 3,14 is a stalwart of the Norwegian art scene. Over the course of its 30+ year history, the non-profit art institution has gained recognition for its diverse programme and dedication to creating dialogue around art.
Since the art institution’s opening in the 1980s, Kunsthall 3,14 has maintained a global scope, aiming to create connections between different places and cultures. It soon became known in the Norwegian art world as an innovative and ambitious art space with an international, multicultural focus.
Kunsthall 3,14 aims to showcase a diverse range of contemporary art from a wide range of artists – featuring both interesting emerging artists and well-established names. Here, the focus is on creating a discursive environment for the understanding and appreciation of different forms of contemporary art and the themes they raise. With its broad scope of contemporary art expression, audiences always get the chance to experience engaging and thought-provoking art during their visit to Kunsthall 3,14.
The power of art
With a diverse and carefully-curated programme including exhibitions, presentations, talks and educational events, Kunsthall 3,14 is committed to spreading awareness and creating dialogue around art and artistic expression. With a strong background in the international art world, Malin Barth has served as Artistic Director at Kunsthall 3,14 for the past 15 years.
“The focus we’ve chosen to have at 3,14 and the type of art we choose to exhibit reflects the very important role art plays in our society because of the contribution it brings,” Barth says. “Artistic expression can create nuance and trigger new ideas that can lead to progression and new directions in the world.”
There’s no doubt that art is a powerful mode of expression and an important tool for analysing social and political issues on a local and global scale. While the art exhibited at Kunsthall 3,14 is wide-reaching in scope and themes, the projects are usually linked to the pressing issues of our time.
“Artistic expression guides the way toward important themes, whether that is the artist’s emotional life or the big issues that are relevant in society today,” Barth says. “There are incredible possibilities in art, such as the power to narrate.”
Earlier this year, Kunsthall 3,14 presented a duo-exhibition focused on the violent military coup in Myanmar in 2021. Featuring the work of Argentinian artist and human rights activist Marcelo Brodsky and a young female video artist from Myanmar whose identity is protected, the exhibition created solidarity across borders. From afar, Brodsky turned images from the demonstrations into a series of hand-coloured photographs with added text, while the video artist shed light on the emotional aspect of the conflict – showing audiences what it’s like living this reality.
Art has always had a close relationship with politics. Pointing out that creative expression is often suppressed by authoritarian governments around the world, Barth suggests that, until recently, we may have been taking this freedom for granted in the Western world.
“The freedom of expression art exists in and moves within is an important part of our democratic society,” Barth says. “When the going gets tough, artists and writers who are critical of the establishment are the first to be censored and subdued – it’s only then that we realise the importance of free self-expression in society.”
At Kunsthall 3,14, the focus isn’t just on the artworks exhibited – the conversations surrounding art in general are a key element of the discourse the art institution aims to create. Known for open and collaborative art projects that are often interdisciplinary, Kunsthall 3,14 platforms discussions and talks that position the artworks within a greater social and cultural context. “We often have several projects going at once which supplement each other, with the aim of giving the audience a bigger picture,” Barth explains.
Championing a wide range of contemporary expressions, the art institution aims to create a wider dialogue and facilitate dynamic engagement between art and the audience. Kunsthall 3,14 often features speakers who don’t have a background in art, but who have thematic touchpoints in common with the artist – the aim being to open up the field of art by merging art with wider socio-political themes. “The art is the backdrop for a bigger conversation, and it’s interesting to see the meeting point between different fields of thought,” Barth says.
Kunsthall 3,14 has an exciting programme lined up for the rest of 2022, starting with the renowned Norwegian painter and multimedia artist Patrick Huse’s Fallow Land exhibition, opening on 21 May. The exhibition explores themes of nature, landscape and culture, as well as the relationship between nature and art – with the understanding that history, memory and meaning will always be embodied both in landscape and culture.
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