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Experiences of Oil

Exhibition and research project

Stavanger Art Museum, in collaboration with the curator and professor of curatorial practice Anne Szefer Karlsen, have initiated a research project that explores the intersection between petrolium and art.

How does visual art reflect experiences of living in an oil-producing nation? Why are there so few works in art museum collections that depict the oil industry or are dealing with how this industry directly and indirectly affects our society?

In connection with this, we invite all interested parties to contribute to the research process leading to an exhibition at Stavanger Art Museum in the autumn of 2021.

Stavanger is often thought of as Norway’s ‘oil capital’, and the city has been closely associated with the industry’s establishment in Norway, its growth and shifting economic situation. Stavanger Art Museum is in contact with ‘the oil’, both directly and indirectly, due to its location. It is therefore relevant for us to start a conversation about experiences from oil nations – as they are reflected in visual art.

The research project will examine the political, social, environmental, and economic consequences of oil through the eyes of artists. The main aim of the research is to look at how the critical situation in which the oil industry finds itself affects people on a personal and social level. We ask how visual art reflects an industry that has made such a dramatic impact on the world, and how artists reflect their experiences of societies that are so closely tied to the oil industry.

By creating an international exhibition with a wide-ranging programme for the public, and by contributing to developing artistic and other research, Stavanger Art Museum aims to be a contributor to the public debates.

As part of the exhibition preparations, we will organise a cross-disciplinary conference 22-24 November 2020. Sign up for your free ticket here. The seminar will be part of the wide-ranging study that forms the basis for working with the exhibition.