Kadoya Japan.  
I got a travel grant from the Norwegian Art Critic Association, to go to the island Naoshima (Naoshima ), which is very fucking nice for several reasons.
I do really want to go there to see what the Benesse Corporation is doing out there. This mainly because I am involved as some sort of ‚local producer‘ for my home municipality in the project Art in Nordland-Artistic interruptions (Art in Nordland - Artistic interuption ) in my home county (Nordland in Northern Norway for those who does not know). To take the AiN-project first:
In 1988 AK Dolven a Norwegian artists suggested in a roundtable on something about art (nobody knows anymore what the theme was ) that they should make “a sculpture park” of the whole county (for the record: The County of Nordland is ....square kilometres large and ...kilometres long).Said, done. They initiated a project were each of the 36 municipalities was offered to get a sculpture of a contemporary artist. There was much discussion. There where many voices speaking against it and many tax payers where not that found of that their municipality was going to waste money on rubbish that anyone could produce (to quote my uncle). The project Sculpturescape Nordland was born and was carried out in the years between 1989 and 1999. (Skulpturescape Nordland).

In Naoshima the Benesse corporation have established a art site with close connection to the nature and culture surrounding the space. They have build up a collection of art through thinking site specific, long term culture related in their projects. They are mostly concerned with artist that have the interest to do projects that are rather large and clear cut in their idea of that all works is commissioned should be in direct connection to the island and its culture and hisory. Especially should one mentioned their Art House Project where they buy houses that are not more in use but still is important for the memory of the island itself and ask artist if they can make an artwork out of it. Not restoring the houses, but making art work of the whole house, usually together with an architect. The project is in many ways to discover a community rather than to establish a collection by merely buying art.

The Sculpturescape was a grand success in terms of both artistic development and dialog with the communities. There have been discussed much and some still do not like contemporary art but do admit that this debate going on with neighbours and in the newspapers makes it possible to discuss other sides of a town and a culture than merely the issues dealing with politics, economy, elderly, children and education etc. Thus this the county initiated another project in 2002 / the Art in Nordland thing. At the same time as they wanted to continue their sculpturescape `collection`, they wanted a more flexible approach to the art side and not only sculpture. It did at that point get the largest founding from the state of Norway ever, and could more relay on this rather than seeking sponsors and partners other places.

The Naoshima Art Site is owned and run by Benesse Corporation. A rather large company who does a lot in connection to contemporary art. Since 1995 it gives out the Benesse prize at Venice Biennale.

I am looking forward to see the site itself and talk to the people being involved.
Art, nature and culture is the themes for both places.

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I have decided to submit a proposal for the Vestlandsutstillingen for 2006 with the working title WE LOVE THE STATE (Norwegian title above). The only problem is that I have to find someone that is willing to participate on this as there have to be a curator group of at least two persons.

The thing about the exhibition is, that it is a manifestation on the social democracy in the Norwegian art life as it is “democratic” in the sense that everyone can apply as long as they live or origin from this part (in this case the western part, there are similar exhibition for every part of Norway) of the country. All entries was earlier scanned and selected by a jury, consisting of artists that belonged to this part of Norway, most of the time being member of the local or regional artist association.

Today the artists have in one way or another softened up the structures that was build up and they did first allow one or two people to function as curator/organisers/jury – choose the one you like best, as they acknowledged the fact that a) a lot of their owns – the artists, startet in the eighties and nineties to use this function in the art world to organise and curate exhibitions. The latter two years they have had a sort of contest, or tender, where curator groups are in a open to all call for proposals asked to submit a sort proposal for what they would like to do if they got to curate the exhibition. The proposal is not open for revolutionising the concept itself (it must be open for artist to submit application to the exhibition, but the curator are in no way prevented from doing a selection purely their own and deciding if inviting external artists).

The concept I am thinking about is based on the small idée that the state is supposed to support us all – everyone. This time of year there are hysteria in Norway, literarily everyone gets a grant of some sort from the state – establishing grant, travel grant, they got grants for going to ISCP NYC , to Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, there are more than 150 working grants, from one year of length to 4 (or is it five) – and now a lot of my friends are starting to receive those since we all started end nineties to study and they all are now “artists”. Me myself I got a travelgrant for going to Naoshima in Japan to have a closer look on the Benesse Art Site Naoshima as this is fairly parallel to the project Art in Nordland , a project that I am involved in.

Aaanyway. The idée of the mother state having to take care of us all supporting the poor (artist) and everyone else seems to be an interesting subject to discuss in this part.
The good thing is that everything is in place;
- budget (small, but still)
- venues (not actually central sites, but still)
- infrastructure (the organisers have been doing this for some time)
So, I´ll have to see what I can come up with and with whom.

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The very first entry -  
was today. For a long time now I have been writing on art on the side on my own laptop - this additional to all the mailing. Now, in January my laptop was stolen, without me having any backup – everything is gone, from texts that I have written or being in the making of, to those thinks mentioned above. So, now I have decided to put things that I write ( that I think might be interesting for other to read). I haven`t fully completed the whole thing yet, it is a construction site – but this will improve as we go along.

For starters I might introduce the title itself. It is stolen – more or less. There is a great sense of failure of communication in Raymond Carver’s universe. People does always seem to be saying more or trying to understand more than being said. He greatest – in my opinion anyway – short story is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, a story of how to deal with love and how to formulate what we feel. Being a fan of belletristic literature – and criticism this is a title I can live with. for more info on belletristic criticism I would recoment Virginia Woolf’s essay “common Reader” (from 1925 and 1932). What I mean by this is, I guess, the common understand if this notion; criticism that is not that occupied with informing their readers about sources. I guess it is not a scholar term (I am not an scholar, I never was, and never will be persistent ), and one of the few I have commen up with from the academic side doing this is Roland Barthes.

Being Norwegian living in Leipzig, Germany and Reine, Lofoten/Norway – I guess those who pass by this site will be reading more about what is going on in Leipzig and Norway than not. Leipzig has a not that large scene – the art scene (including number of museums and institutions) are larger in Oslo although both cities are about 5 millions inhabitants. Leipzig have a nice little museum for contemporary art named the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst , and it is the only museum I know of being in the hands of only women on the artistic director side (Barbara Steiner being the Director, and the two curators being Julia Schäfer and Ilina Koralova). Behind gfzk there is no one, and then there is no one, and then there is some smaller non-for-profit, run-without-money institution. One of those are the Halle 14 , run by the federkiel collection/foundation (federkiel is a quill I guess – a pen made out of fether). The gallery scene on the other hand is stronger. The power gallery Eigen+Art (with artists as the Nicolai Brothers, Neo Rauch, Christine Hill – and Jörg Herold and Maix Mayer to mention), and also Dogenhaus is worthy to mention (with people like Tilo Schulz, Kaeseberg and Ati Maier and then some). Then due to the new Leipzig school of painting there is a few newer galleries likeGalerie Kleindienst , Galerie Post etc. Most of those dealing with mostly painting. The only new comer claiming to be dealing with other types of art is the Aspn galleri of Ms. Arne Linde – opening by the end of this month – I am curios. Arne is a critic turning gallerist, a trend that seems to support the current feeling of critics not only being underpaid but also not feared anymore (respected; yes, but have no power as Samuel Keller is quoted in Marc Spieglers article on art criticism in the newest The Art Newspaper).
Arne will be opening her Aspn on the 23th when all the above mentioned galleries ++ will open in new spaces in the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei – a former cotton fabric, since beginning of the nineties (as the wall came down) artist ateliers and now also gallery scene and luxus apartments.

I hope you have fun reading this. lmt

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