Nasjonalmuseet, Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo 10.okt – 6.des 2015
For this year’s annual exhibition, 321 artists submitted applications for 994 works. This is an increase by more than 50 artists since last year. As well as being a special anniversary year, the increase might suggest that last year’s controversial exhibition at KODE 1 in Bergen, rather than scarring anyone away, has been an inspiration. There is good breadth amongst the participants in Craft 2015: from younger, emerging artists to those who are older and more established. The participants work within the various fields of craft but also in design and pictorial art. The jury stresses that the selected works reflect a high level of technical competence and knowledge of materials. They al so see great variation in expression in each media-related field. One tendency this year is that many applicants sent proposals for large, forceful installations. The jury, through its selection, aims to present the best of the works that were submitted for review, thereby to present the best of contemporary Norwegian craft.
Craft 2015 at the National Museum
1975 – This was the year the Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts (Norske Kunsthåndverkere, NK) was founded and the inaugural year for the annual exhibition Craft. Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer hosted the show, which featured over 100 works by 76 artists. Since then, Craft has been organized almost every year, most often at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Oslo (now the National Museum). During the early years, however, the choice of venue was undergirded by a deliberate desire to decentralize. Craft has been held 16 times in cities other than Oslo, and in 2014 it was at KODE in Bergen. In the first decades, the exhibition extended to all disciplines within the field of craft. From 2002 to 2008, it was organized as discipline-based triennials. Starting in 2009, it returned to being a single annual show for all the craft disciplines. 2015 – NK celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the milestone, the National Museum – Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is once again the arena for the juried presentation of contemporary craft. The catchwords visibility, engagement and recruiting are NK’s goals for this anniversary year. Many events are being held throughout the country, with galleries, museums and art centres marking ‘NK 40’ by showing the breadth and quality in the field of craft. Given that Craft 2015 is the 38th annual exhibition, we have a well-known framework but, as ever, a new content. Compared with early years, the jury now chooses to show fewer but larger works. Conceptually-based craft has received more attention, while materiality and craftsmanship still play dominant roles. The principles for the annual exhibition are the same as before: everyone is eligible to apply to participate; a jury consisting of artists and museum professionals evaluates the proposed contributions; and the goal is to present the qualitatively best works that were sent to the jury. The annual exhibition in its present form enjoys a large following. The format is recognizable, all the disciplines in the field of craft are represented, and it contains works by well-known and new artists. As well as playing a key role in presenting contemporary Norwegian craft, it also provides a yearly opportunity for national and international professionals to meet. What the public see is what they find engaging, hence during this anniversary show, our multifaceted learning-and-engagement program includes a historical and a forward-looking focus. We want to facilitate good encounters and professional discussions during the exhibition period. Visibility, engagement and recruiting are ambitious goals. With the National Museum – Museum of Decorative Arts and Design as the showcase for the best of contemporary craft, we have good conditions for achieving our goals. We look forward to the encounter between the artworks and the public in Craft 2015.
Widar Halén Director for Design and Crafts National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design
Elisabeth Sørheim Acting Director Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts.