Q&A

VI, VII
 Gallery Breathes Fire in Freezing-Cold Oslo, Norway

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VI, VII
 Gallery Breathes Fire in Freezing-Cold Oslo, Norway
Esperanza Rosales of VI,VII. Photographer: Julie Anett Spangebu
In this series of brief interviews with Artspace partners, we hear from Oslos' VI,VII gallery. Established in 2012, the gallery has presented the first solo, commercial gallery exhibitions in Norway by artists Eloise Hawser, Lars Laumann, Jochen Schmith and James Hoff. Represented artists have presented their work at institutions such as the New Museum, ICA, London, Tate Britain, Mumok, Vienna and the CAPC Bordeaux.
 
 
How old is your gallery?

 
Five in August.
 
In your program’s history, what do you feel was the most successful exhibition you ever had, and what was it like?
 
This is impossible to say. The sign of success for me is something I end up looping back to and thinking back to time and again. If that happens several times over the course of a year, then I am happy with what we've done. Some of the exhibitions that I feel have been the most successful have been the ones that I've been most unsure about when we’ve opened them. In each and every case that this has happened I've ended up loving the show immensely. 
 
Often the shows I love are the ones that I've made with close friends: people I've grown to know and love very well, through our working relationship via the gallery. David Lieske's exhibitions at the gallery have been exceedingly memorable. Eloise Hawser’s 2012 exhibition "Haus der Braut" comes to mind, as does "Like A Virgin," our epic group show in 2014, which featured a performance by Than Hussein Clark literally as the gallery floor was freezing beneath our feet and the performer’s bodies.
 
Can you tell me about the work of one of your artists in particular?
In recent days, Jochen Schmith's "Enjoy the Sun" was such a thrill and a pleasure to have on—so thorough and conceptually so thought through as their shows always are. Peter and Carola [who are the collaborative duo that make up Jochen Schmith] have worked together for the past 15 years and their work takes different forms with almost every showing. On this occasion they showed five picnic blankets made of shredded euro notes, which they found outside of a bank in Austria. The  series will last only as long as the material does. Their work can presently be seen in two exhibitions: JED MARTIN at Hamburg Kunstverein, and in Artists Against AIDS curated by Yilmaz Dziewior at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn.
 
If you had an unlimited budget and access to any living artists in the world, what exhibition or event would you make?
 
Several projects by David Lieske that involve architecture, but apart from this I have exactly the program I would opt to have regardless of any constraints. 
 
What sets you apart from other galleries?
 
Location and an absolute refusal to follow convention. 
 
How has your gallery changed (if at all) since it first began?
 
Some things haven't changed at all. We represent more artists now—14 up from five or six when we opened. We've expanded our program to include more international activity, but over time our program has come to include more local artists as well.  
 
Imagine your gallery in 2030. What is it like and how is the art world different?
 
Hopefully, especially given the spate of galleries closing, the exhibition as a format still exists in some form. Galleries can fade, but I hope dedicated spaces for seeing work and shows in person, gathering together with friends too look at art and being in the same physical space with art and artist friends has not gone the way of the mammoth. 
 
What exhibition or event do you have coming up that you can tell us about?
 
Eva LeWitt’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, and in Europe, will open this Autumn. This I am truly excited about. 
 
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