Shapes of Breath
4th of November - 5th of December 2021
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We are proud to present the exhibition Shape of Breath, with artist duo Frantzsen&Mjanger. The exhibition presents a series of performative glass works and site-specific installations, as well as cast glass.
Frantzsen&Mjanger have developed a practice that relies on participatory experiences involving public space as well as the general public. During the first weekend of the exhibition there will be a daily program of performances, artist guided tour and a participatory event.
The first joint project of Frantzen&Mjanger was a public space project within the Annual Craft Exhibition 2017, and they have since kept to a formula of site specificity and local involvement, inviting the local public to be co-creators of the art projects. They oppose the norm of distance between art object and viewer created in the gallery space, and encourage the use of the senses, in particular touch, when interacting with art.
The ongoing series of work Expressions of Breath, which forms the heart of the exhibition at RAM gallery, presents blown and cast glass sculptures, in addition to performances. Two performances will be presented in the opening weekend, Release and Fragments of Breath.
In Release, a mobile glass furnace in the gallery is the center of an exploration of the shape of breath, by blowing, crushing, and archiving glass. The performance will develop over three days and include a participatory moment in part III. Participants from the public are invited to blow glass bubbles that catch each of their breath, with help and supervision from the artists, freezing a moment in time and their own presence. The involved audience will then be involved in breaking and archiving the glass sculptures. Sunday the artist will do the performance Fragments of Breath, using materials created in Release to make a permenent art work for the exhibition.
The final day of the exhibition, participants perform a Walking with Breath, together with the artists, holding a glass bubble of captured breath in their hands - an Expression of Breath. In previous iterations a collective walk has been done in both urban and natural environments, where the participants walk together in silence, enhancing an almost ritual aspect of the performance. For RAM the walking performance will be set in the urban landscape of the city center, where the gallery is located.
Another key piece in the exhibition is the work Låne pust (Lend a Breath). It allows the public to enter the gallery space, borrow a performance kit with a glass bubble with someone else’s breath and take it out of the gallery for an exploration, supported by audio guides. The work activates a relationship of trust, between the artists, the person that shared their breath and the person that borrows it. This art work relies on fundamental human values of solidarity, care for others and trust – key elements of Frantzen&Mjanger’s artistic practice.
In addition, the exhibition presents Traces of Breath, a table for involvement from the audience the whole exhibition period.
The exhibition is supported by KIN (Kunstsentrene i Norge).
Frantzsen&Mjanger was established in January 2017 and consists of Maria Almås Frantzsen, MA in visual art/glass and Ruth Hol Mjanger, drama/theatre. The artist duo is located in Bergen and draw on their interdisciplinary competence to search beyond conventional glassmaking techniques and skills. They challenge the traditional approach to glass by connecting craft and performative, contemporary art. Glass serves as a tool for engagement that invites their audience to become co-creators in their artistic practice.
Their debut was at the Annual craft exhibition 2017 and in 2019 the duo was awarded the Norwegian Craft prize from The Relief Fund for Visual Artists (BKH) for the piece Holding Breath. Over the last five years they have had collaborations and presented their work in a variety of venues; outdoor art events, galleries, performance festivals, and universities. In March 2020 they started a year-long project with the public library in Bergen where a series of Lend a Breath was made available for loan. Internationally, they have presented their work at the Glass Art Society Virtual Conference 2020, Glass, Meet the Future 2021 and European Glass Context 2021.
Maria Almås Frantzsen (b. 1977) received her bachelor's and master's degree in art with a specialization in glass from Edinburgh College of Art. For almost eleven years she was part of the team at S12 Galleri and Verksted ( 2009-2021) In the beginning of 2021 she made a change and has since focused on her own full-time artistic practice in Frantzsen&Mjanger and Kunstsone, a community-based public art project. Her work is presented in the permanent collection of KODE in Bergen and Sogn og Fjordane kunstmuseum and revolves around human, emotional and physical experiences.
Ruth Hol Mjanger (b. 1977) is an associate professor in drama at NLA University College, with drama education from Agder University College and Bergen University College, in addition to intercultural studies at NLA. Mjanger has for the last 10 years been a project coordinator for NLA’s involvement in developing teacher education in Nepal. With her background as an artist, teacher and researcher, she often works in interdisciplinary and relational collaborations which explores connections between art, body, space and existential issues. Her artistic research practice is related to Frantzsen&Mjanger.
RAM Publications #7
A fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Johanna Zanon, Phd, is released in connection to the exhibition and will be available for purchase. The publication is supported by Norwegian Crafts.
Saturday the 4th of December
The performance Walking With Breath and the Artist's guided tours are cancelled due to illness. We appologize for any inconvenience.
Thursday the 4th of November
18.00 - 18.45
As part of the vernissage the artists present the first part of the performance Release. A mobile glass furnace in the gallery is the center for an exploration of the shape of breath, by blowing, crushing and archiving glass.
Friday the 5th of November
14.00 - 17.00
The performance Release continues. A mobile glass furnace in the gallery is the center for an exploration of the shape of breath, by blowing, crushing and archiving glass.
Saturday the 6th of November
12.00 - 16.00
The last day of the performance Release. The audience is invited to participate by blowing their breath in molten glass, crushing and archiving it. The event is open for all, but we encourage to register your participation to firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure space by 5th of November, 4pm. Max. 20 participants.
Sunday the 7th of November
12.30 (about 60 minutes)
Fragments of Breath, a performance by Frantzsen&Mjanger. The performance uses materials created in Release to make a permanent art work for the exhibition.