Press release -
2023 exhibition programme at Norway's National Museum
The exhibition programme at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design includes major presentations of Louise Bourgeois, Anna-Eva Bergman and Harriet Backer, Formafantasma's exploration of the intertwined history of humans and sheep, drawings by Bruegel and Rubens, and a survey of contemporary crafts.
Following a successful inaugural year, the National Museum presents a varied exhibition programme that covers older, modern and contemporary art, crafts, design, and architecture. Alongside an 86-room Collection display, the museum has several spaces for temporary exhibitions, including the spectacular Light Hall.
Carroll Dunham. Where am I? Prints 1985–2022
3 February–21 May
The American artist Carroll Dunham is known internationally for his paintings, drawings, and prints. Dunham’s prints show considerable range in their expressivity, motifs, and themes. Inspired by his surroundings, personal experience, art history, and pop culture, he directs his gaze at subjects large and small – everything from science fiction and the infinity of the universe to the physical body and the representation of leaves on a tree. The National Museum recently received a significant gift from the artist, consisting of no less than 161 impressions dating from the 1980s to the present. A selection of these are shown in the exhibition. This is the first museum exhibition of his prints in the Nordic region.
Master to Master
4 February–19 February
The National Museum’s exhibition of instruments from Dextra Musica, Sparebankstiftelsen DNB’s collection of unique string instruments, alongside art from its own collection, will be an event of international significance. A particular highlight will be the four quartets of string instruments made by the world-famous Italian luthiers Stradivari, Guarneri, Guadagnini, and Gofriller, shown together for the very first time. During the exhibition period, the entire museum will become a concert venue, where you can enjoy performances of classical and cross-genre music played by some of Norway’s top musicians.
Thorvald Hellesen. Pioneering Cubism
31 March–20 August
104 years after the initially brutal reception of his art in Norway, Thorvald Hellesen (1888–1937) receives his first dedicated museum exhibition. Norway’s first cubist, Hellesen lived much of his adult life in Paris. Whereas many of his friends, artists like Constantin Brâncuşi and Fernand Léger, found places in the pantheon of cubist pioneers, Hellesen’s own achievements fell into obscurity, both inside and outside Norway. The exhibition focuses primarily on Hellesen’s paintings, but also includes drawings, haute couture, and interior design.
The exhibition is supported by the Eckbo Endowment Fund.
6 May–6 August
Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) is one of the great names of 20th century art. This major exhibition in the Light Hall puts Bourgeois’s highly personal and emotional works in dialogue with artists like Edvard Munch, Marie Laurencin, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Arshile Gorky, Louise Nevelson, Senga Nengudi Alina Scaposznikow, Seni Ama Camara, Adrian Piper, Nan Goldin, Robert Gober, and Rosemarie Trockel.
The exhibition will show an artist who throughout her career responded to artistic and societal changes of her time – like representations of the body in the 1960s, feminist topics in the 1970s, and the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s.
Through encounters between Bourgeois and 50 artists spanning more than a century of art history, the exhibition will show that Bourgeois’s interest in themes like loneliness, love, illness, sexuality, and gender roles was shared and informed by many others.
The exhibition is produced in collaboration with The Easton Foundation.
Formafantasma. Oltre Terra
26 May–1 October
Oltre Terra is a solo exhibition with the Italian design studio Formafantasma. By focusing on the history, ecology, and global dynamics of the extraction and production of wool, the exhibition explores the complexities of the relationship between animals, humans, and the environment.
Queering folk costumes
For many Norwegians the bunad, kofte, and other forms of national costume are deeply meaningful. These traditional garments create strong feelings of belonging, but also of exclusion. How are colours, cuts, and the norms of use defined and determined? And how does the contemporary political landscape influence the expression and evolution of these traditions?
The National Museum joins forces with other Norwegian museums and institutions to address these and related questions in a touring exhibition that puts six contemporary artists in dialogue with traditional crafters and knowledge bearers in Norway and Sápmi. The first stop on the tour is Valdres Folkemuseum, opening 23 June 2023.
From Bruegel to Rubens
9 June–10 September
In summer 2023, the National Museum in collaboration with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels will show an exhibition with drawings by revered Dutch and Flemish artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens. This will be an opportunity to see rarely exhibited works from the period 1550–1640. Drawings like these allow the viewer to get up close to the artist’s hand, providing insights into how the old masters worked. After the National Museum, From Bruegel to Rubens will also be shown in Paris and Brussels.
Drawing Triennial 2023
13 October–28 January
With the title All That Lies Between, the 2023 Drawing Triennial explores the relationship between text and image, the written and the drawn, the said and the unsaid. The National Museum’s contribution is an exhibition built around Erik Werenskiold’s illustrations for Jonas Lie’s novel Familien på Gilje (The Family at Gilje), which it juxtaposes with newly produced works by Oslo-based contemporary artists Gelawesh Waledhkani and Hanne Lydia Opøien Figenschou. Like Lie, these artists highlight themes such as young people’s scope to act as they please and choose their own lives. The exhibition is a collaboration with Tegnerforbundet (the Norwegian Drawing Center) and the Drawing Triennial. Other venues for the triennial include Deichman Bjørvika, Tenthaus, and Tegnerforbundet.
Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts. The Annual Exhibition 2023
20 October–31 December
In 2023, the National Museum will host the annual exhibition of the Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts. One of the most important presentations of crafts in Norway, this juried exhibition takes the pulse of today’s material-based art. It opens on 20 October 2023 in the two halls for temporary exhibitions on the first floor.
28 October–24 January
Harriet Backer (1845–1932) was one of Norway’s most pioneering and prominent painters of the 19th century. It is high time her art was introduced to a broader audience. To this end, the National Museum is collaborating with KODE Art Museums, Bergen, on an exhibition of Backer’s work that will tour internationally to Stockholm, Paris, Oslo and Bergen.
The first large-scale exhibition devoted to Backer in 25 years, this show will highlight what was innovative about her art and take a closer look at her central role in Norwegian cultural life. The exhibition opens in the Light Hall in 2023, before moving on to Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, before concluding at KODE, Bergen, in 2025.
Hand and Machine. Architectural Drawings
3 November–11 February
This exhibition focuses on architectural drawing as a means to explore trends in contemporary architecture. After the financial crisis of 2008, a global architecture characterised by digital aesthetics gave way to a new generation of architects working on smaller scales, more locally, collectively and non-commercially. The exhibition will show the work of both Norwegian and international architectural firms that have been at the forefront of this trend over the past decade.
Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman
17 November–10 March
Anna-Eva Bergman (1909–1975) lived much of her life in France, but drew inspiration for her monumental paintings from Norwegian nature. In autumn 2023, the National Museum will present a major exhibition in the Light Hall that explores the various phases of Bergman’s art, with special emphasis on her paintings. The exhibition will also be shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is the largest art museum in the Nordics. The collection contains 400,000 objects ranging from the antiquity to the present day and includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles, furniture and architectural models. The new museum building opened in June 2022. At the National Museum visitors can experience a comprehensive Collection presentation of around 6,500 works, as well as a varied programme of temporary exhibitions and events.