Bergen Kunsthall Festival Exhibition 2020: Joar Nango

Exhibition 4 September – 8 November
With the digital prologue
Joar Nango: Post-Capitalist Architecture TV Series 1 – 3
Sat 23 May, 16 h, Part 1: On materiality and resource economy
Mon 25 May, 8 h, Part 2: On nomadism and flow
Tue 2 Jun, 21 h, Part 3: On decolonization and architecture

Joar Nango: Post-Capitalist Architecture TV Series 1 – 3
Stills from the short film Báhkki / Post-Capitalist Architecture TV by Joar Nango, 2020. Photo: Ken Are Bongo

The episodes will premiere on
fib.no/en/joar-nango/ and kunsthall.no

Established in 1953, each Summer, Bergen Kunsthall presents a large-scale exhibition with new work by a Norwegian artist, in connection with the Bergen International Festival. The exhibition is considered the most important solo presentation for Norwegian artists in their home country and creates a national debate about the state of the art, similarly to the Turner Prize in the UK.

Bergen Kunsthall´s Festival Exhibition starts this year with the format of a TV series by Sámi architect and artist Joar Nango on “architecture after the fall of capitalism”. The series has been made in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Nango’s Festival Exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall was supposed to open on 21 May, but has been moved to the fall, 4 September – 8 November 2020. Each episode of the TV series will introduce key themes that will be further developed in his exhibition, and open Nango’s working process during the ongoing pandemic to the public, leading up to the exhibition in Bergen.

Joar Nango was born in Alta in 1979 and lives and works in Tromsø. He is educated as an architect, and in his diverse practice he tackles issues such as indigenous identity and decolonialization, often based on observed contradictions in contemporary architecture. His artistic practice includes site-specific installation, sculpture, photography, architectonic structures, social projects, clothing, publications and theory. The works often explore the boundaries between design, architecture, philosophy and visual art.

The TV series is conceived as a prologue to his exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, which will provide an insight into a decade of the artist´s oeuvre. Previous exhibitions of the artist include documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel 2017, the Art Encounters Biennial 2019 in Timișoara, Romania and the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019.

Made especially for the online streaming format, the TV series will contain three new short films, conceptualized and written by Joar Nango and directed together with Sámi filmmaker Ken Are Bongo.

During the three episodes Nango will introduce us to his personal living and working environment in Sápmi as a way to discuss the politics that make these contested spaces. Equipped with a mobile TV studio in the back of his car and a snow mobile, Nango travels through the snow-covered landscape, meeting guests and visiting key architectural sites. The episodes will investigate, together with contributors from academic research or crafts and activist practice, how indigenous cultures relate to a broader discussions on space:

Part 1: On materiality and resource economy
Sat 23 May, 16 h

The first episode will look at the northern philosophy of self-sufficiency and what Nango calls indigenuity: an approach of resource economy and sustainability, working with on-site solutions, as part of indigenous and Sami improvisational competences. Nango will talk with blacksmith Lajos Gabor and Per-Issát Juuso about crafts and material treatment, curator Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Canada) and art-historian Elin Haugdal (The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø) about material philosophy in indigenous and local contexts and spatial productions.

Part 2: On nomadism and flow
Mon 25 May, 8 h

Broadcasting from the Mercedes Sprinter he once drove from Tromsø to Athens as part of his participation in documenta 14, this is an episode on the road, looking at migration, relocation and the nomadic. The car will later play an important role in the work towards the exhibition and in the exhibition itself in Bergen. With anthropologist Dimitris Dalakoglou (VU University Amsterdam), archeologist on the contemporary Thora Petursdottir (University of Oslo), artist/lawyer Ande Somby from Tromsø and car-mechanic Lan Paulsen among others.

Part 3: On decolonization and architecture
Tue 2 Jun, 21 h

What are indigenous people? What is architecture? What is decolonization? Together with art historian Mathias Danbolt (University of Copenhagen) and architect Chris Cornelius (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Nango looks at the representation and visualization of Sami culture, architecture and life. An example is Knud Leem’s book «Beskrivelse over Finmarkens Lapper deres Tungemaal, Levemaade og forrige Afgudsdyrkelse» (1767), which features a series of illustrations based on earlier paintings, which Danbolt recently discovered in the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and which will feature in the exhibition in Bergen. With curator Heather Igloliorte, artist Elin Már Øyen Vister, museologist and Sami scholar and duojár Liisa-Ravna Finbog (University of Oslo), art historian Mathias Danbolt (University of Copenhagen) as well as Italian architect Alessandro Petti from DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency).

The episodes will premiere on
fib.no/en/joar-nango/ and kunsthall.no

By visiting situations, production environments and architectural sites, the series will address political and theoretical questions that are fundamental for Nango's research on the role that architecture, as a framework for a way of living, has played in the complex narrative of the colonization of the North. Key issues for Nango in this context are whether today's architects are instruments for prevailing political and economic power structures. Are there other ways to think about architecture? How can local knowledge be integrated into the process of the creation of places and situations, without becoming nostalgic decor?

Post-Capitalist Architecture TV will lead to Joar Nango’s Festival Exhibition in the fall. The exhibition will be Nango’s biggest to date and will use the whole of Bergen Kunsthall’s galleries with an integrated sculptural installation and architectural elements that activate the spaces socially. Nango will continue his exploration of Sami architectural history and traditional construction techniques to address wider issues of politics and space.

You can read more on the exhibition itself here: kunsthall.no

Facts and figures

Post-Capitalist Architecture TV is produced by Bergen Kunsthall and Joar Nango as part of the official festival programme for the Bergen International Festival. The 2020 edition of the festival (May 20 - June 3) could not held as planned and will take place in an alternative online form from 23 May – 2 June. The TV-series will also be available to stream online after the premiering dates on Vimeo, kunsthall.no and fib.no


Director: Joar Nango (co-director Ken Are Bongo) // Photographer: Ken Are Bongo // Handling and scenography: Håvard Arnhoff // Additional photography: Matti Aikio // Sound: Anders Ánndaris Rimpi // Produced by Bergen Kunsthall and Joar Nango // Curated by Axel Wieder and Steinar Sekkingstad

Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé 5
5015 Bergen