Norwegian Academy of Music

In Brigitte Kowanz’s light installation, the shapes of the components are determined by coded texts.


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  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Brigitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
  • Folding, Birgitte Kowanz. Photographer: Werner Zellien
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About the project

About the project

Norwegian Academy of Music

About the project

The Norwegian Academy of Music had long desired a replacement for Carl Nesjar’s light installation in the “Prism Room”, which had to be removed in 1996. The double-height room, which is named after Nesjar’s installation, is much used. There are fine views across Oslo through enormous windows along one side wall. All these factors made it natural to select an artist who specializes particularly in working with light and space.

Brigitte Kowanz’s light installation consists of two separate neon pieces, one hanging from the ceiling and one installed on the wall. In the work hanging from the ceiling , we read the English sentence The enciphered message locked within these letters produces the emergence of its manifested form. In the work mounted on the wall, we can follow the same sentence, but in Norwegian Den krypterte beskjeden i denne teksten konstruerer verkets form. The shapes of the two works are determined by the same conceptual principle, involving a simple binary code contained within the texts of each work (a binary code represents text using only two digits, 0 and 1). In the work on the wall, the shape curves to the left when the letter “v” (“venstre” = “left” in Norwegian) occurs. In the work hanging from the ceiling, the neon tube curves left at “l” (left) and right at “r” (right). This self-referential strategy creates forms of differing complexity: in the Norwegian version, the neon tube shifts direction only once, while the English version has a more complex form.

Kowanz is interested in the connection between language, shape, and light, and over the past three decades she has created complex sculptures using light and shadow that call to mind images in space. She uses fluorescent and phosphorescent pigments, fluorescent lights, mirrors and semi-transparent glass. Her use of a binary code at the Academy suggests associations with the world of music where, for example, musical notation can be described as a coded system.

Brigitte Kowanz (born 1957 in Vienna) is one of Austria’s most well-known artists. She has exhibited in many prestigious venues and in 2017 represented Austria at the Venice Biennale. Kowanz is also a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. The art project for the Norwegian Academy of Music is her first public art commission in Norway.

Facts

Facts

Address

Slemdalsveien 11, Oslo

Date completed

15.08.2017

Project manager

Elisabeth Tetens Jahn

Expert Committee

Sverre Gullesen
Thomas Hestvold
Siv Hofsvang

Building owner/developer

Statsbygg

Duration

Permanent

Accessibility

Tilgjengelig for publikum

Program

Art scheme for rented properties and older buildings owned by the government (LES)

Kunstverk

Kunstverk

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