What is created through the interchange between words and images, between the literary and the visual? This is the topic of the group exhibition Seeable/Sayable, which sets up an encounter between Norwegian and international artists and writers from various generations. Wergelandsveien, the street running along the eastern edge of the Palace Park, will be reinvigorated this autumn by the first major collaboration between the two neighbouring institutions Kunstnernes Hus and the House of Literature. In addition, a series of performances will be held nearby at Grotten, the Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland’s (18­08­–1845) famed stone grotto lying beneath the Norwegian state’s honorary residence for artists in the Palace Park.

Images and words are closely intertwined in our ideas and stories about the world. They are our fundamental tools for grasping the world, even as they work on different levels, with one showing and the other telling. Nevertheless, silent images can also speak, and indeed even argue, while a text can conjure up a world of mental images. The exhibition examines how text and image charge and influence one another, but also how they undermine and cast doubt about one another. Seeable/Sayable shows how art and literature create both personal and collective universes of ideas.

Curated by Ida Kierulf and Helga-Marie Nordby, the exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus includes works by international stars as well as new productions by a number of younger contemporary artists. The series of performances will take place both at Kunstnernes Hus and across the street in the grotto, Grotten. A series of commissioned literary texts (ekphrases), curated by the author Eivind Hofstad Evjemo and written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers, will be presented as an audio work in the exhibition. In addition, the House of Literature has curated a series of lectures and discussions to be held throughout the exhibition period.

Artists: Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Marcel Broodthaers, Matias Faldbakken, Ester Fleckner, Jan Freuchen, John Giorno, Susan Hiller, Olav Christopher Jenssen, William Kentridge, Solveig Lønseth, Mercedes Mühleisen, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Peter Wächtler.

Writers: Kristin Berget, Rune Christiansen, Victoria Durnak, Victoria Kielland, Matias Faldbakken, Morten Langeland, Cecilie Løveid, Øyvind Rimbereid and Henrik Wergeland.

Performance program: Nils Bech, John Giorno, Øyvind Rimbereid, Tori Wrånes and Ragnhild Aamås.

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Installation view, photo: Vegard Kleven
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Installation view, photo: Vegard Kleven