7 SEPTEMBER 1985
Young Nordic Culture Festival, Karl Johan Church, Stockholm 19 August
Young Nordic Culture Festival, Moderna Museet, Stockholm 20 August 1985.
Bergen International Theatre Festival 1985, St. Paul Cat. Church 7 September
Props: Plastic bucket, plastic spade, chair, white plastic horses, plastic
sheep, white jug, white sand, watch.
In the crypt of St. Paul Catholic Church stands a chair and a white jug.
Kurt walks around in the room and gathers air. He scoops air into a bucket
with a little plastic spade. Gradually he starts to drink the air. He
climbs up on a chair and keeps drinking the air there. He tosses the bucket
and starts to neigh like a horse. Kurt takes a tiny white plastic horse
from his pocket, holds it high up in the air and keeps neighing. When
the neighing is at its loudest, he flings himself to the floor. He puts
the horse gently down. Kurt now inches forward and at the same time he
sets down more horses and a sheep. Finally he reaches the white jug. He
strips off his watch and puts it on the floor. He raises the jug and pours
white sand over the watch. Then he lies down on his stomach and drifts
into a dreamlike condition.
The Anorthosite mine, the Nærøy valley 13 August 1988.
Hordaland Art Center, Bergen 7 September 1988.
Props: Two waxed candle lights, three reagent tubes with water, a little
black pebble stone, and two cone shaped spools of white thread.
Two light cones are placed ten metres apart. Right between them stand
three tubes with water. Kurt approaches the first light. He tries to capture
light with his hands and bring it to the tubes. After some attempts he
ends up by the tubes. Drops fall from the ceiling and into his hand. He
investigates the tubes, and then brings forth a little pebble stone which
he drops down into one of the tubes. He then brings forth two cone shaped
spools. He bends down on the floor and places a spool in each hand. He
lies like this with his body in a little curl with his arms outstretched.
His arms move slowly just above the floor, searching like a radar in the
dark mine corridor. He finally walks past the other light cone and feels
the darkness of the mine.
SECOND AIR 2
Slade School of Fine Art, London 23 November 1988.
London Film Coop, London 2 April 1989.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo 19 January 1990.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo 21 January 1990.
Props: Black marbles, bowls with ice, snail shell.
On the floor are ten–twelve small bowls of ice filled with ice containing
black marbles. The bowls close tight around the marbles. As the ice is
melting, the marbles force their way out and roll onto the floor. They
make a little clicking noise. Kurt is standing at the back of the room.
He looks up on the ceiling, touches his neck and rubs his thumb against
the palm of the hand. This motion is repeated as he walks back and forth
along the wall. Eventually he starts to focus more on his hands. He walks
slowly to the front of the room, crooked, as if he is carrying a log.
This log he places on the floor. Kurt goes down on his knees and takes
out a snail shell from his inside pocket and then lies down on his stomach.
He lies in an uncomfortable position with his feet and head above the
floor, as he makes “k”-sounds into the snail house. This position
and activity is maintained as long as possible.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 14 September 1993.
Props: 18 slugs, white colour powder.
18 slugs lie in a perfect circle around Kurt. There is about 50 cm space
between each slug. Kurt lies crouching in the middle. His hair is covered
with a white powder to make it look grey. The audience enters. Some of
the slugs move in different directions, while others stay in position.
After some time the circle is broken. During the whole performance Kurt
almost invisibly turns a few centimetres, and he lies in a different
direction when the happening is over.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 27 September 1993.
Props: Brio-rings, ants, bar needles.
Kurt stands in the middle of an anthill with a pillar of brio-rings on
his head. He opens and shuts his eyes and moves his hands in and out from
WITH CLOSED EYES
The ruins of the old Town Hall, Bergen 27–29 May 1994.
Props: White sands, 23 glasses of water, 23 black gold fish.
The ruins of the old Town Hall rest beneath the Rosenkrantz parking house.
Only the base walls remain. The floor in one of the rooms is covered with
(8 x 10 m). Kurt lies buried in the sand with only his head visible. 23
glasses with black gold fish are placed out on the sand. Kurt lies motionless
with his eyes closed.
HEAD WITH OPEN EYES
Drift-94, Gallery Lista Lighthouse 26 June 1994.
Props: Plastic pipes, water, turbots, rocks.
Kurt is half buried in rocks, face turned towards the ocean. He has a
plastic pipe around his head. The pipe is filled with water, and inside
the pipe swim seven turbots – a flatfish found in the ocean outside
Lista. The pipe is placed in front of his eyes. He can see through it,
glimpsing the fishes swimming by. His hands are locked between the rocks.
He is immobile in this position, looking out over the sea.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 12 March 1995.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo 23 April 1995.
Gallery G9, Kristiansand 6 May 1995.
Rogaland Art Center, Stavanger 10 May 1995.
Bergen International Festival, Opening ceremony, the Grieg Hall 23 May
Props: cylinder shaped water tank, water, seven fish (Black Molly), nose-clip.
A water tank is placed in the centre of the room. It contains seven small
black fish. Kurt stands three-four metres from the tank. He circles the
tank and slowly
approaches it. On the way he stops, stands in various positions and makes
sounds in an unintelligible language. The closer he gets, the more he
turns to the fish. When he gets close to the tank, he squats and looks
into it. He carefully starts putting his head under water. First short
dips and then longer ones. Towards the end he stays as long as possible
under water, and gets up only for short breaths of air.
Umedalen Skulptur, Gallery Stefan Andersson, Umeå 6 July 1997.
Props: Pipes, Brio-rings.
Kurt stands in a forest with a 7.7 metre high “tower” of Brio-rings
on his head. His feet are planted down in the ground. He moves gently
in the wind.
PERFORMANCE WITH FISH
RAM Gallery, Oslo 12 May 1998.
Axis Performance Festival, Kristiansand 2 July 1998.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 29 November 1998.
Props: Low bench, pear shaped glass flask with water and fish.
Kurt lies on his back with a pear shaped glass flask in his mouth. The
flask is full of water and fish swimming. The opening of the flask is
in his mouth, and Kurt lies motionless in this position. Just tiny movements
go through his body when he tries to swallow, which isn’t possible.
The fishes sometimes swim into his mouth towards the tongue and disappear
for a few seconds. The video Conversation, produced in 2005, is based
on this performance.
TO DRAW AN INVISIBLE CIRCLE WITH THE HEAD JUST ABOVE
Vivakulen, the Jostedal Glacier 13 September 1998.
Props: Aluminium rack, engine, battery, hanging equipment.
Vivakulen is a part of the Jostedal glacier. The performance takes place
near the peak of the glacier. Kurt is hanging up side down with his head
close to the ice. With the help from the engine he slowly rotates in a
circle. One round lasts one minute.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 27 October–1 November 1998.
3 hours x 6 days.
Participants: Ca. 300 children from schools in and around Bergen.
Props: Small cushions, paper funnels, white coloured metal racks.
As many as 10 children lie on the floor in a room. Above each child’s
head is a rack holding a paper funnel. The funnels are directed towards
each childs’ mouth. The children whisper into the funnels. They
whisper about something they think is important. The children lie like
this for 10 to 60 minutes, and they are replaced when required.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 27 October–1 November 1998.
Overtures über Wasser, Gasteig, Artcircolo, Gelsenkirchen 20–23
Overtures am Wasser, Artcircolo, München 22–26 July 2005.
3-4 hours x 4-6 days.
Props: Five tons of ice from a glacier, specially designed basins, chairs,
books with white covers.
In the middle of the room is an oblong basin filled with chunks of ice.
On the sides are rows of chairs. Ten-fifteen elderly people walk around
in the room reading quietly to themselves. All the books have white covers
so no one can see what they are reading. When they feel like it they sit
down. The room is cold because of all the ice. As the days go by, the
ice melts. Finally many of the ice chunks are gone. During the Gelsenkirchen
and München performances the participants sat on chairs alongside
the ice the whole time.
Bergen Society of Fine Art 19 November 2000.
Participants: Sanm Ahaninjeger, Grete Byrkjeland, Arild Eriksen, Arna
Grevstad, Olav Hermann Hansen, Siri Herland, Kurt Johannessen, Jørgen
Knudsen, Bjørg Nedrebø, Ida Nøst, Håkon Rasmussen,
Håkon Skagen, Anders Teigen, Karianne Visnes.
Props: 14 hollow porcelain spheres, white liquid.
14 people stand barefoot in a white liquid. They are facing the wall each
with a sphere between the head and the wall. Their arms hang down the
sides of their bodies the whole time. They balance the sphere between
head and wall for as long as they can master. Eventually the participants
drop the spheres so that they break with a bang. The participants then
leave the room. After 45 minutes everyone has dropped their spheres.
Bergen International Festival, Opening Ceremony, the Grieg Hall 23 May
With Are Nøst.
Props: Super8 projections with film, video camera and projector.
By the backdrop stands a boy in white clothes. Kurt comes on stage with
a Super8 projector in his hands. At first he is far from the boy and projects
the film towards him. The projection is dim and blurred. The boy is being
filmed by a video camera as well, which by means of a video projector
shows the recording on a screen over him. Kurt approaches the boy with
his camera, so that the image gets sharper and stronger. At the same time
the video camera zooms in on the boy. He stretches out an open hand, and
the film is screened on the hand. The video camera zooms in on the hand.
The image is now focused and shows a walking elephant.
Deep Root, Hull Time Based Arts 27 October 2001.
Props: Sand transported from underneath the bottom of the North Sea.
The location of the performance is the port of Hull. Kurt lies on his
back down by the water. His eyes are covered in sand. The sand comes from
underneath the bottom of the North Sea. It is 178 million years old. The
tide is coming in, the water is rising and the waves roll more and more
over Kurt. The cold water makes him shiver all over his body.
Bomuldsfabriken Art Hall, Arendal 16 March 2002.
South London Gallery, London 17 April 2002.
Gallery s.e, Bergen 12 May 2002.
Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum, Førde 7 September 2002.
Props: 1-16 light bulbs, poppy seeds, five flashlights, a steel plate
Glowing light bulbs hang from the ceiling. On the floor is a pile of poppy
seeds and a round plate with honey. Kurt is walking about the room. He
stops next to the plate and smears honey on his hands and on his face.
He walks over to the light bulbs and holds his eyes and ears close to
them. After this he puts his hands into the pile of poppy seeds so they
stick to him. He unscrews the bulbs with darkened hands. The room falls
into darkness. He approaches the pile of seeds in the dark. He brings
seeds up to his face to make them stick. He takes out five flashlights
from underneath the pile of seeds. He places all five inwards in his mouth
so that his mouth is glowing. He stays like this.
Finse 17–18 July 2002.
Props: Fairy-tale book, white round plastic plate, 22 stones.
Kurt is wandering alone for two days in the area south of the Finse lake
(Finsevatn). He makes random stops to pick up a stone. He lays the stone
on a little, white plate. He sits down in front of the plate and brings
forth a book of fairy-tales from the Asbjørnsen and Moe-collections.
He reads one of the stories out loud. When the story is finished, he walks
on to find other stones he can read fairy-tales to. All the fairy-tales
are about trolls. The book Stones was made as a result of these happenings.
Munkebotn valley, Bergen 29 October 2002.
It is twilight and Kurt is standing in the middle of a small lake in Munkebotn
valley. It’s raining. He has water up to his waist. Slowly he moves
his hands over the water without touching it. A video work was made in
2002, based on this performance, (Twelfth conversation).
FIRST HAND OVER
Bone 5, Bern 7 December 2002.
Charlottenborg, København 3 May 2003.
Gresol Art Festival, La Bisbal 31 July 2003.
Gresol Art Festival, La Bisbal 2 August 2003.
The Stenersen Museum, Oslo 15 January 2004.
Gallery Giga, Leirvik 2 April 2005.
This performance has been shown at a number of schools in Hordaland as
part of The Cultural Rucksack, (a national scheme for professional art
and culture in schools in Norway).
Props: Small and round paper napkins, small porcelain elephants.
Kurt shakes hands with one of the audience. He gets eye contact, and does
not let go of the person’s hand. Slowly he turns the hand to see
the palm. He picks up a little round napkin from his pocket, and puts
it on the hand. While still holding the person’s hand Kurt bends
his head backwards, and lifts his other hand to his mouth. The fingertips
touch the lip while his face turns upwards. His eyes are closed. After
some time he takes a little white object out of his mouth. Slowly the
object is lowered, down to the napkin in his hand. Carefully he puts down
the little thing, which turns out to be a little white elephant. Kurt
moves away, shakes hands with another person, and the same thing happens
all over again.
Bergen Art Museum 31 October 2003.
In collaboration with philosopher Kevin Cahill.
4 hours including supper.
Props: A table consisting of apples, video projector and other technical
Participants: Discussion leader Steinar Birkeland, Biologist Per Jakobsen,
Professor of the History of Ideas Trond Berg Eriksen, Philosopher Lars
Fr. Svendsen, Professor of Religious Studies Jens Braarvig, Astrophysician
Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegård, Professor of Medical
Psychology Håkan Sundberg, Professor and Research Director in the
theory of science Roger Strand, school children Iselin Uldal and Sofie
school-student Lilli Mikki Barthel, computer coordinator Yngve Johannessen
and chef Terje Ness.
Is was a discussion around existential problems between different disciplines
from the universities in Oslo and Bergen. In addition three school children
took part with visual and verbal contributions throughout the discussion.
Steinar Birkeland was leading the debate. All the participants had prepared
speeches that introduced the discussions. The apple was essential both
to the story of the tree of knowledge and to other parts of the discussion.
Is the most important purpose for human kind to get food and reproduce
the species Homo sapiens, or is there more than that? Half way through
this discussion, after Lilli M. Barthel had presented the quality of the
universe, there was supper, administered by Terje Ness. (A DVD-documentation
of this event has been made).
The Art Bank Hamar 11 October 2003.
Landmark, Bergen Art Hall 1 February 2005.
Props: White feathers, black hood.
Kurt stands still in a room with a black hood covering his head. The audience
enters. He stands a little unbalanced and slowly slips his hands under
the jacket, by the chest. When he pulls them out again, they are covered
in white feathers. Some feathers fall to the floor. He streches his arms
out and tries to balance at the same time as he stumbles forwards. He
loses his balance and falls. He gets back up on his feet, and continues
the faltering journey to future falls.
In Place of Passing, Guildhall Square, Derry 18 June 2005.
Kiss the Frog, the National Museum, Oslo 25 June 2005.
Gresol 2nd International Art Festival, La Bisbal 4 September 2005.
Culture Night, Haugesund Museum of Fine Art 21 October 2005.
Kulturhuset Banken, Lillehammer 15 March 2006.
Ars 2006, Kiasma, Helsinki 18 May 2006.
Props: Black colour, white feathers.
Kurt is standing with eyes closed and hands turned upwards in the direction
of his mouth. Slowly he touches his mouth with his fingertips. Something
black materializes from his lips and sticks to his fingers. His hands
slide down and out from his body. It is as if he’s losing his balance.
A couple of feathers fall from his sleeve. His hands move back to his
lips, and more black emerges. His hands go down again, and feathers fall
out. Some of the feathers glue to his hands. Kurt repeats the movements,
most of the time with eyes closed, and always at a slow pace. He turns
increasingly black around his mouth and on his hands. In the end there
are many feathers on the ground in front of him.
In Place of Passing, Giants Causeway 19 June 2005.
Overtures am Wasser, Munich-Riem, Artcircolo, München 23 July 2005.
Props: Metal buckets, water, plastic ducks.
Kurt is carrying two buckets of water with many floating plastic ducks.
In Northern Ireland he carried the buckets to the shore and looked out
on the ocean. In München he walked into the water, and walked so
far out that the buckets almost were filled.
21 JUNE 2005
In Place of Passing, Rathlin 21 June 2005.
Props: Thin multicoloured plastic cords.
Kurt is standing on the edge of a sea cliff on the island Rathlin in Northern
Ireland. There’s ocean as far as the eye can see. He is turned outwards
watching the ocean. Out of his mouth come many long thin cords that stretch
down on the grass and over the edge of the cliff.
Mårenbiennalen 6 August 2005.
Mellom himmel og hav, Lygra 27 August 2005.
Props: Blue colour.
Kurt is on the beach facing the ocean. He walks into the water and doesn’t
stop until the water reaches the middle of his thighs. After some time
he turns and fills his hands with water. He then puts water in his face
and smears it around. Gradually his face turns blue. He lets down his
hands and keeps standing like this for a while.
Overtures am Wasser, St. Lucas Kirche, Artcircolo, München 9–10
Props: 3600 glasses, glass jug, 3 buckets, rope, river water.
In the church passageway are 3600 glasses. The glasses are placed on both
sides of the aisles, alongside the benches. Next to the glasses nearest
the altar is an empty glass jug and two empty zinc buckets. Kurt picks
up the buckets, leaves the church, crosses the road and stops by the river,
Isar. There is a bucket tied to the railing by the river. Kurt throws
this bucket into the river and fills it with water. When the two buckets
are full he returns to the church. He walks up to the altar and moves
the glasses to the centre of the aisle. By use of the glass jug he fills
the glasses with river water. When both buckets are empty, he goes outside
to fill them up again. Gradually the aisle up to the altar is full of
glasses of water. The performance started at 17.00, and was over at 08.00
the next morning. In the evening, during the performance, there were organ
concerts in the church. During the night the church was lit only by candles.
The installation with glasses remained until August 19th as a part of
the exhibition Overtures am Wasser.
SKANSEMYREN FOOTBALL CLUB 1992-2014
Bergen Art Museum 28 October 2005.
Bergen Art Museum 29 October 2005.
Tou Scene, Stavanger 22 April 2006.
Participants: Arne Instebø, Kurt Johannessen and Espen Storstrand.
Props: Grass, video projector, laptop, table, three chairs, two footballs,
pointer, slingshot, marshmallow, marbles, grinded powder from Gøran
Sørloth’s football boots, gravel, two buckets, custom-made
plastic cover, lawn-mover, grass headphones, grass from the garden where
Roald “Kniksen” Jensen grew up, chocolate pudding,
vanilla sauce, three spoons, the chocolate Fruktnøtt, airpressure
rocketlaunching equipment, French chocolate, a bowl of whipped cream,
orchid, rubber gloves, flip-over board, markers.
The football players Kurt Johannessen, Espen Storstrand and doctor/ex-football
player Arne Instebø present great accomplishments on and off the
football field of the Bergen-based football club Skansemyren Football
Club, in the 1992–2014 period. With the Chaos Theory as a starting
point, the trio shows how the little details, which at first may seem
to have nothing to do with football often make all the difference for
the SBK development. Cases are for instance: The Kniksen Grass, The Glimt
Operation, The Mental Cat Theory, The Slingshot Theory, The SBK Research
Department, Food Additives and Gøran Sørloth’s football
boots, Rhinoserousgray Football player-noses, Gravel Practice level 0–6,
Gravel Practice Level 1–5, grass headphones, Lawn Mowing, The SBK-fall
and The Plate Tectonics Between Africa and South-America, The Synchronised
Swimming Day and Various Chocolate Products, Espen Storstrand’s
Nose, The Discovery of Neptune, The Hardy-Weinberg-Law, The Synchronic
Sketches and The Point of Concentrated Fermentation. (This arrangement
is documented on DVD).
OiOi-Festivalen, Bergen International Festival 2 June 2006.
Props: Stool, white fabric, big black sphere made of plaster.
Kurt is sitting on a stool in the middle of the main square, Torgallmenningen,
in Bergen. It’s raining heavily. He is blindfolded with a white
cloth, and in his lap is a big black sphere. He gently caresses the sphere
with his hands. Little by little some white stripes appear on the sphere.
Even though he treats the sphere so carefully, new white scratches become
visible all the time.
Culture Night, Haugesund Museum of Fine Art 20 October 2006.
Props: sand, black string, nails.
Kurt is lying on the floor when the audience enters the room. His feet
are covered in sand. Black strings flow out of his mouth, and climb up
against the wall. Each string is nailed to the wall. The nails form the
shape of a butterfly. Kurt lies motionless until the audience has left
The Art Bank Hamar 28 October 2006.
Props: Plastic bucket, black paintmaling, light bulb with socket and cable.
The room is dark. Kurt enters carrying a lit light bulb with a long cable.
In his other hand he carries a little white plastic bucket with a lid
on it. He places the bucket on the floor and lifts the light up to his
face. Mumbling gently he lets the light bulb wander to various parts of
his head. He keeps coming back to the lips, as if wanting to eat the light.
Eventually he removes the lid from the bucket and puts his fingers into
it. Heavy black paint covers his fingers. He sticks them into his mouth.
Some of the paint glues to the light bulb. He keeps on mumbling and moaning
softly. Finally he places the light on the floor and leaves the room.