Seid is Knipsu’s delayed anniversary exhibition after more than 100 events since the gallery’s inception in 2011, and the first since the pandemic closed everything down. During this time, Knipsu moved into a new venue for the third time – the former NRK headquarters at Minde.
Seid is an exhibition that celebrates. Itself, for a start. What else is there to celebrate? It celebrates community, broken dreams, the roar of the people tearing down the self-aggrandising idols of the oppressor. It celebrates origins, decomposition, exaggeration, the word and the wordless, form and formless. Seid is incantations forgotten for a thousand years, a maelstrom of churning forces reanimated, hunted, lightning at dawn.
Over twelve months, Hilde Jørgensen and Olav Mathisen worked together to complete three murals covering all of Knipsu’s walls – a triptych recreating the mythologies of world history as fever dream and gesamtkunstwerk, as prophecy and its teleological fulfilment. The murals are the scenography upon which the exhibition plays out, where artistic positions find calm and are transformed. The work shown is by artists who have passed through the gallery, leaving their mark, even becoming part of Knipsu itself. Some have participated; others observed. The difference is as big as you might expect.
We have seen far. Under water, over mountains, over the treetops. Through waterfalls, into the animal, past the human. Down into timeless voids. Unborn, we inherited all this from your depths, the green, the brown, the grey. Chimeras, the distance we travelled, as a rock flying over felled trees, a hundred years of stars, nine years of fog, one day of laughter. We settled here, in the cracks. By the shore, up under the mountain peak. Before it was massive, cold. Now it is hollow, filled with silicone and electrons. A thousand years and a thousand more of one-eyed wisdom flushed into the sea, a river of wisdom, like sand through fingers. We have seen far. We saw far. There are not many left of us. That’s old news. We dwell under roots and tree stumps, sleep in hollow logs. We wait. Rub our hands for what little warmth is left. While we wait. Before we could see. Now we wait.
Here, among boulders, the mountain above, men got lost; women too. Vanished, walked into the river. Buried each other in the bogs, strung themselves in trees. Lost mountain men found stillness here. With words as tough as willow scrub we lured them to us. Roped them, sucked their truth. Feast for the crow, all the body desires streams through here. With owl, knotsleat and grimshroom, elvensnair, grey moss and greengreenery, we shared it all. A thousand years and a thousand more. What we called wisdom before blew past like white-capped waves, all to do but pick it, gulp it down, nine times, nineteen times, nineteen times nineteen times. Wisdom flows slower than tar now, Loke sap, like amber. Rarer than the glimpse of gold in the dark dirt and moonlight.
Have you forgotten us? Walk in the forest at dawn, by the river when the song runs out, in the mountains when no one sees you, go down to the sea and say our name nine times. We are waiting. Say our name nine times nine times. Say it and we will show you the abyss in you, that which sowed our seeds. You shall see as far and wide as we, over water, through mountain, out of the animal, into mankind.
Artists: Hilde Jørgensen/ Olav Mathisen (NO), Tarik Hindic (NO), Maya Økland (NO), Thomas Thomsen (NO), Bjørn Mortensen (NO), Anne Marte Dyvi (NO), Ingrid Askeland (NO), Håvard Kranstad (NO), FL3X m/DJ Håkon (NO), Snorre Magnar Solberg (NO), Per-Erik Larsen (NO), Amanda Frøslev Koch-Nielsen, Matias Grøttum, (NO) and Natalie Seifert Eliassen (FI)/ Agnete Tangrand NO)/ Ines Næss (NO).
Text by Arne Skaug Olsen. The exhibition is supported by Bergen kommune and Norsk kulturråd.