Looking for contemporary art in Arendal? Visit Bomuldsfabriken, one of South Norway’s largest art galleries with a deep history and a plethora of artefacts.
Located in the idyllic Langvannet, Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall houses a two-storey exhibition space of a total of 1,200 square metres. Behind the monumental factory building are the Kunstarena Torbjørnsbu mines, where several works by contemporary artists are installed – Bård Breivik; The Beast 1992, Anders Gjennestad; Uten tittel, Signe Solberg; Clamber, Scramble, Crawl (Hold Fast) 2021 and Maye Ratkje's composition; To the Surface / Til Overflaten 2021. The exit to the footbridge is from the third floor and the bridge (Travestorie) was designed by artist and architect Jonas Major in 2017. Down in the parking lot, you see Jan Håfsströms; Mr Walker. Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall also has a display site, ARTendal, which is located on the square in central Arendal. This summer and until 26 September, Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall will show the exhibition; As far as my Eyes van Sea - The Expedition Exhibition. In collaboration with curator Åse Kamilla Spjelkavik Aslaksen, REV Ocean- (Research Expedition Vessel)'s art collection is presented. Since the research ship was designed in 2017, art has been planned as part of the ship's DNA and environment. In this think tank of an innovation centre for technology development and research on the marine climate, 62 artists and a total of 135 works are represented. The exhibition opens on Bomuldsfabrikens Kunsthall's two floors, takes place in Kunstarena Torbjønsbu Gruver and ARTendal, the exhibition's gallery in the centre of Arendal. It shows a variety of media such as photography, video, textiles, painting, drawing, graphics, sound work, installation, street art and sculpture. Among many themes, the artists have worked with different perspectives related to plastic pollution and the loss of species diversity in the sea, technological innovation related to the exploration of the ocean space and the sea as the escape route through migration. The public will have the opportunity to experience a dynamic and rich exhibition before the works are permanently installed and part of "REV Ocean", the world's largest and most advanced research vessel that will research plastic waste in the sea, climate change and overfishing as well as mapping the ocean space. The ship will be a floating think tank and a national and international meeting place for various disciplines where the space of art is taken care of in the commitment to the sea and climate issues. Participating artists are: Alexander Nordahl, Ann Iren Buan, Anne Karin Furunes, Anneke van der Fehr, Bente Valentinsen Dankertsen, Bertil Greging, Bjarne Bare, Broslo, Charlotte Thiis-Evensen, Cathrine Alice Liberg, Christian Houge, Christine Istad, DUERART, Eivind Blaker, Ellen Grieg, Espen Dietrichson, Eva Rosa Hollup, Fredrick Arnøy, Fredrik Raddum, Gard Aukrust, Guttestreker, Hanne Friis, Henne Grieg Hermansen, Henrik Kleppe Worm-Müller, Ingri Haraldsen, Javier Barrios, Johan Söderström, Jon Gorospe, Julie Ebbing , KC Tidemand, Lars Morell, Lello / Arnell, Lin Wang, Linda Sho Trengareid, Line Prip, Madelen Isa Lindgren, Maiken Stene, Marisa Ferreria, Marius Martinussen, Marjolijn Dijkman & Toril Johannessen, Matias Kiil, Mette Henriette, Mirjam Raen Thomassen, Nils Martin, Nina Bang, Ottar Karlsen, Ove Kvavik, Per Stian Monsås, Ragna Misvær Grønstad, Randi Nygård, Ruben Eikbø, Rune Elgaard, Sara Korshøj Christensen, Signe Solberg, Solveig Settemsdal, Stein Fjelldal, Sayed Sattar Hasan, Thale Fastvold, Tone Bjordam, Tori Wrånes, Vegard Vindnes, and Øystein Tømmerås. Welcome to Kunstarena Torbjørnsbu mines! For several centuries, Torbjørnsbu mines were among the most important iron mines in the country; but after its closure, operations were halted, and they were used as landfills. With the project Kunstarena Torbjørnsbu mines, Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall wants to pull this mighty open pit out of oblivion and establish a new space where the public can move in an art and cultural landscape. We want to show the public how older cultural and industrial history can be combined with new artistic expressions and thus be place-forming and give a new awareness of the place, art and cultural history. Kunstarena Torbjørnsbu mines are accessible from Bomuldsfabriken's third floor. The facility consists of an exhibition room on the third floor with access to the walkway through the mines. In the exhibition room, the history of the mines is briefly reproduced in a timeline on the wall. There is also a schematic representation of what happened to the iron ore after it was extracted from the rock here and some historical iron-cast kilns that have been lent from Næs ironworks and Larvik Museum. The exhibition also shows art based on what the mountain hides. Olaf Tønnesland Hodne makes jewellery from stones, crystals and minerals, while the ceramicists John Skognes, Irene Nordli, Linda Flø, Per B. Sundberg, Marte Johnslien, Torbjørn Kvasbø, Ann Beate Tempelhaug and Heidi Bjørgan represent different ways of working with clay and glazes. Additionally, we show sketches and various documentation for Bård Breivik's "The Beast"; the 12-metre-long steel sculpture that hangs out in the mine wall. The exit of the walkway is 9 metres above the ground and extends 152 metres through the mighty open pit. At its highest point, it rises 15.5 metres above the ground - or that is, over an approximately 8 metres deep layer of rubbish covering the upper bottom of the mine. The mine shafts continue into the depths, and there will be cavities that can accommodate the entire old town hall in Arendal hidden under the water level that covers the descent now that the mines are no longer drained of water! From the first plateau, there is an iron spiral staircase down to "Hviteorm", a narrower open pit with a very special atmosphere. At the bottom, you will find a chair with a soft arch from the lighthouse, and a 10-15-metre-long mining corridor that is open to the public. Bring a flashlight and you will see how it glitters in different rocks and minerals when you light up the dark cave walls. Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall is supported by the Cultural Council, Aust-Agder County Municipality and Arendal Municipality.
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