Nuart 2016 Highlights (updated)
With each of its 16 editions, Nuart Festival has been turning Stavanger, Norway into a cultural and artistic center hosting thought-provoking outdoor interventions, insightful exhibitions, open talks and debates about art and especially street art, gathering artists, academics, media and industry experts from around the world.
Following the recent Nuart editions we covered, focused on street art activism and safe murals (2014) and on the theme of Situationism and Play (2015), Nuart 2016 explores, through its Nuart Plus symposium, the topics of ‘Utopia and Rights to the City’ and ‘Dada, Art and Everyday Life’ on the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and 100th anniversary of the founding of Dada.
POST-STREET ART EXHIBITION
September 11th – October 16th, 2016
Opening hours: Wed – Fri 12:00 – 17:00 | Sat – Sun 11:00 – 16:00
Tou Scene Beer Halls, Kvitsøygata 25, 4014 Stavanger
This year, the festival introduced the term ‘Post-Street Art’ to present the main exhibition: “This expression has been adopted to describe artworks, artists and events that are informed by and aware of the strategies, forms and themes explored by Street Art but which couldn’t rightly be regarded as ‘Street Art’ or ‘Street Artists’ per se. The term could also be used to describe a new breed of studio practice-based street artist, whose interest in and knowledge of the contemporary art world often far supplants that of an engagement with the street. ”
The group show features different artistic statements and approaches reflecting a world built from the leftovers of its past and present, either warm and safe or near collapse, absurd and fascinating at the same time. From the poetic vision of a city “wilder” and “kinder” than one may think according to Robert Montgomery, to the playful spying through the wall of artist SpY and the excellent recontextualisation of a dinner feast by Fintan Magee, we also discover the dismal universe of Jeff Gillette whose fragile castle is an impossible refuge and ironic reference to Disney’s welcoming yet deceitful fairy tale promise.
Then, there are EVOL’s repetitive structures creating the architecture of the everyday life, invaded by Add Fuel’s patterns which may serve as support for the tiny buildings reminding of the turbulent history of Berlin. Henrik Uldalen’s piece adds a sense of emptiness and loneliness, KennardPhillipps highlight the tragic contrast between reality and the image of refugees in the media, and Eron brings into discussion environmental issues.
Robert Montgomery, Photo: Ian Cox
Fintan Magee, Photo: Ian Cox
SpY, Photo: Fran Cacirano
KennardPhillipps & Nipper, Photo: Ian Cox
Henrik Uldalen, Photo: Ian Cox
Eron, image courtesy of Nuart Festival
DISMAYLAND NORD solo show by Jeff Gillette
September 9th – October 1st, 2016
At, Salvågergata 10, 4006 Stavanger
Starting Nuart 2016, the Reed Projects Gallery (view the Icy and Sot and Sandra Chevrier previous exhibitions there) became Nuart Gallery, aiming to “nurture emerging regional and national talent whilst at the same time hosting and producing exhibitions and public art projects from some of the world’s leading street and contemporary artists.”
The change was marked by the solo exhibition of US-based artist Jeff Gillette, who gained new spotlight in 2015 by participating as invited artist in Banksy’s Dismaland Bemusement Park. Showing Disney’s iconic characters wandering in slums and popular cartoons playing in endless mountains of garbage, the artist tells the story of children and people waking up to face inequality, rarely achievable dreams, despair and uncertainty, due to political and economic regimes fueling grave disparities.
Images courtesy of Nuart Gallery
Opening photos: John Rodger
NUART 2016 OUTDOOR INTERVENTIONS
Once again, Nuart made possible some of the most stunning street art interventions, starting with artist SpY’s “Alive” piece, with the word readable only when reflected in water to perhaps remind that life exists beyond the man-made world. This mural beautifully completes an early intervention of the artist in Stavanger, in 2014, when the word Error was painted in red on a building’s facades.
SpY, photo by Brian Tallman, video by Fifth Wall
During Nuart 2016, French artist MTO created his first 3D installation and fourth Google Street View hacking, entitled “Google Internal Server Error” (after “We Live on Google Earth” in Gaeta, Italy, “Worker Ghetto Box” in Loures, Portugal, and “From Russia with love” in Kiev, Ukraine). According to the artist, the piece located at 5 Kongsteingata, Stavanger, Rogaland is meant to hack Google Street View (installation soon to be active on street view here).
Photos courtesy of MTO (view more)
Fintan Magee’s “Monument to a Disappearing Monument” refers to the 2016 global drop in oil prices and looks at how this has affected Norway, one of Europe’s biggest oil producers, where “house prices are falling, unemployment is rising and restaurants are closing. Some now predict that Norway could lose close to 200,000 oil jobs by 2020.”
As the artist continues to explain: “This mural painted on two silos in a soon to be demolished industrial district depicts an oil worker standing at the edge of the city, the reflected image on the right is created using a Rorschach technique and the paint appears to be breaking to pieces and disappearing. The work directly addresses the issue of Job loses in Western Norway while further commenting how our global economy, changing markets, the collapse of Western industry, privatisation and technological advancement has left working class people and their families increasingly marginalised, isolated and left behind.”
Fintan Magee, Photo: Ian Cox, Video: Fifth Wall
Thoughts on contemporary art and avant garde by Robert Montgomery filled the city of Stavanger, along EVOL’s miniature multi-storey buildings, Hyuro’s latest piece, Jaune’s stencils depicting sanitation workers in humorous situations that also invite to a reevaluation of their social status and how they are perceived in society, the “Game of Loans” by KennardPhillipps in a city where the oil price collapsed generating an unprecedented series of bankruptcies, the clown rats of Hama Woods and Axel Void’s mural based on the portrait of Nuart founder Martyn Reed’s son – according to the organizers, “painting in a children’s nursery Axel asked the kids what they thought of when they saw the image of the child he had painted. One word that came up was klosser meaning toy brick.”
Photos: Ian Cox, Brian Tallman, John Rodger.
Click on the photos for full details and to enlarge.
Axel Void & Robert Montgomery, videos by Fifth Wall
Film courtesy of Doug Gillen – Fifth Wall TV
Video by NRK, via MTO
Another Nuart Festival project, in collaboration with Utsira kommune, consisted in a two-week artist residency with the internationally-renowned street artists Ella & Pitr, culminating with an exhibition of their drawings at Dalanaustet Café, 5547 Utsira on August 24th.
Photo by Tor Ståle Moen
Nuart Festival Box-Set 2016
Last but not least, you can take a piece of Nuart 2016 with you. ‘The Utopia Box-set’, available at Nuart Gallery, is an exclusive series of signed limited edition prints to support the festival. The box set consists of 6 gicleé and 8 hand-pulled screen prints, a total of 14 prints, one from each of this year’s participating artists.
“The set celebrates the 500th Anniversary of Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, first published in 1516. More’s vision was the first to give a name and form to an idea that has captured the human imagination throughout history: that by imagining a better world is possible, we are empowered to create it.”
The prints are 12” (30 x 30cm) and the box size is 33 x 33cm.