medial 1. art biennial [2005]



1. more and more-more and more, 1972, 244 x 244 cm / 96 x 96 in. Kunstmuseum stavanger    2. I’ll bring you home-C.M-1998, jpeg fotostill from a live installation 1998   3. CAGE-Guantanamo, 2002 steel 180 x 240  x 240 / 71 x 96 x 96 in. Riksutstillinger, oslo     4.THE SUBLIME  (1998), QuickTime,  digital VIDEO, Loop 200 x 250 pix. 32 sek . 4 ex. US$ 4000













ART AND POLITICS IN NORWAY    I   A n uncomplete introduction

by Evelyn Holm

         Victor Lindís work "CONTEMPORARY MEMORY who is afraid", a video and sound installation in four synchronized parts, was a remarkable statement which includes clues to the present condition of Norwegian society, as well as it created a picture on a hidden part of Norwegian war history. The video installation consisted of four huge projections with changing texts, pictures and the colors red, blue and yellow, an allusion, also in the title, to the American painter Barnett Newmans series “Who is afraid of red, blue and yellow” from 1966-67. Barnett Newman saw painting as a way of spiritual salvation necessary in a world left in chaos after the second world war, and together with the use of a poem of Paul Celan, whom according to Adorno was the poet that showed that it still was possible to make poetry, i.e. art, after the traumas of the war, it suggests artís capability of restoring, constructing and reconstructing historical memory, individually and collectively. Of the four videoís, the one in ordinary colors presents the official history of how 532 Norwegian Jews, with the help of Norwegian police, were sent to Auschwitz early one morning in 1942. From this number, only 11 survived. An important remark added to the story is that while only 0,7 % Jews were exterminated in our neighboring country Denmark, the level in Norway was 44,8 %. The highly traumatic story that develops through the four synchronized sections, assisted by court documents and by research reports from historians, is about a society that found the responsible Norwegian policeman not guilty for his actions, and left him free to pursue his leading role in the police force until he retired in 1965, i.e. less than 40 years ago, and as such still part of our contemporary history. In fact, hundreds, even thousands of Norwegians can be seen as sharing the responsibility of what happened to the Jewish population; each of them only obeying orders and neglecting to warn the victims, a few even in connection with their roles as double agents for the Norwegian resistance movement. As such the topic of the work is individual responsibility, or more precisely, what happens when individual responsibility gets pulverized. The aesthetic composition of the installation overwhelmingly surrounding the viewer, the hypnotic atmosphere of the sounds and changing colors, talk as much to our subconscious and imagination as to the intellect. By combining facts, speculations, poetry, colors and sound, the aesthetics works together with the ethics, and create a possibility to question our own sense of personal responsibility as we sort out what all this is about.


           Previous to the installation, Lind made a memorial event in Oslo (1998); he ordered 100 taxicabs to the same address where the same number of taxicabs were used in 1942 to transport the Jews. The work had the title "CONTEMPORARY MEMORY I´ll bring you home", and could most precisely be defined as a live installation with certain ritualistic overtones; the place and time, even the weekday, was the same as the situation of reference 56 years earlier. The late night / early morning passer-bys as well as the invited audience was met with flashing yellow traffic lights and a 700 meters long line of taxis slowly driving into the street. A historical document of the incident in 1942 was handed out. The change in social belongings of the taxi drivers, as now many of them are of a not European background, added to the workís potential of reflection.


           Victor Lind´s work constitutes one of several peaks in a consistent production of politically engaged artworks that go back to 1970, and establish the artist as a member of the ìyoungî contemporary art scene, despite his sixty years of age. This also contradicts the notion of young and contemporary as anything, which has anything, to do with age. More important, the work creates a link between our recent history and our current situation, to the importance of memory, in a situation where right wing ideology and racism is rising in Norway as well as in all Western Europe. The paradox of the term contemporary, which refers to here and now, and memory, which refers to the past, reveals the unavoidable truth that history is always a construction on hindsight, at both a personal and collective level. The viewer herself is invited to make her own opinions from the presented fragments filtering through the sensibility of the artist. The impression is not that of a documentary, but of a more or less hidden connection we have to sort out ourselves, althoug it is admittedly difficult not to sympathize with the artistís experience.