Toril Goksøyr and Camilla Martens



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Toril Goksøyr and Camilla Martens

Beautiful Toril Goksøyr & Camilla Martens' project wants to regain the space separating the political field and the art field. Here, artistic activism and political activism together hand in hand, the art object, the art institutions and the role of the artist gets to be constantly revised.

The aesthetics of the photograph in the cover of lacanian ink 29 refers to the glossy style found in advertising. The artists are depicted in decadent postures, gazing directly at the viewer. This enacted situation is intended as a parody of campaigns such as those produced by H&M or PEPSI-visual promotion in which reference to specific products is toned down or avoided in favour of an intensified focus on the relevant brand name or the persons involved.

The text, or dialogue, is open to various interpretations. It can be understood as a send up of the political hypocrisy of advertising, and it can be an attack on an art world, which for reasons of pure vanity chooses to adopt a correct attitude with regard to political agendas. The dialogue can also be a commentary on Norway's role in Europe. Norway has a strong desire to be seen as a caring and helping nation in the global context, yet it keeps its own borders closed. The image and the activity of the immigrant worker can also describe Europe. A Europe governed by white women and men, who strive to ensure their part of the world retains its economic sovereignty, that its borders remain almost impenetrable, and that those who are granted residence must do with the kinds of work that no one else wants. That work might involve cleaning a window while knowing perfectly well that one will never be allowed to get behind it to participate in the events happening on the other side.

Toril Goksøyr & Camilla Martens have a background in experimental theatre and visual arts. They started their collaborative work, in 1997, with staged events and performance that want to reflect the current social reality. The point of departure are various people instructed by the two artists that act out the role as themselves. At the edge between documentary and fiction, the public space becomes raw material for their artistic expression.

The artists have visited the island of Bolga several times. Conversations with the local inhabitants, where they have depicted their home environment, has been an important part of the process. Bolga is an island off the coast of Helgeland with 130 inhabitants. The debate concerning the future of this island community forms the starting point for the project "People on Bolga". The local population point out that fishing is a way of life that is gradually disappearing, and they are uncertain as to what kind of trade will replace it.

Martens image



Goksøyr & Martens work is theatrical, political, feminist. Their respective background as actors makes them both aware and frustrated about how artists working within performance-based art exhibit little knowledge about theatre. Goks°yr and Martens react to the somewhat exclusive separation of the two fields-theatre and performance-and as such, their inclination is to bring their knowledge from the theatre into performance art. In their opinion, much performance-based art neglects a consciousness about the performer's position in relation to the audience. This doesn't necessarily imply that Goks°yr and Martens perform themselves within a given project or work with professionally trained actors. If something, they specifically choose to work with amateurs in an effort to raise awareness about the utilization of an actor in art.

It would be nice to do something political was originally produced in 2002 and has been shown in various cities since then. It is a project and a work that changes according to where, how and in which context it is shown, at times offering itself as a societal critique, and at others, an institutional critique.

Art: Toril Goskøyr and Camilla Martens
It would be nice to do something political - performance, 2004
courtesy Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, Helsinki.

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