Rita Marhaug’s performance praxis started last half of the -90ies. Educated from Norwegian art schools during the -80ies her medium till this point was focused on the two dimensional image: mainly drawing and printmaking.
Wanting to visually explore femininity and masculinity, performance became first choice accompanied with photo and video. Her early performance work had emphasis on the female artist putting into play concepts like “strength” and “aggression”. Important works from this period is Action, Knock Out, Small Mann,
For a longer period she has worked with the series Norwegian Liquid investigating the (female) body and its relationship to national wealth and the fluids that drive the Norwegian economy. This is still an ongoing chapter.
Her resent works are more into the realm of surrealism with wider use of costumes and props. The changeable reality of the body(image), revealing and concealing, masking and de-masking have been the core of interest.
Throughout her performance praxis artistic cooperation has been important. Her artistic partners have been Ingunn Wright, Traci Kelly, Benedicte Clementsen, Karen Kipphoff, Gillian Carson, Robert Alda and Anette Friedrich Johannessen.
Image from CREPUSCULAR with Benedicte Leinan Clementsen May-13
Photo Bjarte Bjørkum
THE MIDNIGHTSUNSCREAM FESTIVAL
Kvalnes, Vestvågøy Lofoten 5th of August 2023
Initiator, organizor and curator: Kjetil Ingvar Berge
“Under certain circumstances failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world.”
J Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure.
It seems frightening to be clueless - with a fear of getting lost and without a thread that leads out of the labyrinth, but not knowing is crucial for making or creating. Nothing new will ever happen if you don't leave the track you are on, especially when you know that there aren’t enough resources to continue where you are, and you don't quite know where you are going. The invisible threads of social bonds and the internet with all the joys and derailments it creates seems to make it more complicated to create a new path.
Marhaug's contribution to the event:
The Donor (of Life and Death), 15 min performance
Photos: Vebjørg Hagene Thoe (left column), Ole John Aandal (right column)
“Stories. The world is more complicated than our truths about it”
is an interdisciplinary artistic and educational project in the field of contemporary visual arts (including performing arts) carried out by the Mazovian Museum in Płock, Poland, in partnership with Kunstbanken Center for Contemporary Art in Hamar, Norway. The project results from both the programme policy of the Mazovian Museum, whose Themerson Gallery opened in 2021, and the universality of the Themersons’ thought and artistic output in the context of contemporary art.
About The Donor (of Life and Death)
Core themes in Rita Marhaug's artistic production has varied over the decades. The many aspects of sensing, beauty and decay, life and death, -are strands in her resent practice, often linked to current ethical dilemmas. She often do collaborations with artist colleagues and has been involved with several artists run organizations over years.
Paradoxes unite and divide at the same time, it tears us, but the term as such also forms a separate space for the opposites that cannot be reconciled. Marhaug believes that art can also create such spaces that maintain contradictions and show them off. A non-verbal language such as the visual and material may appeal more strongly to our emotions and immediate reactions. In the reflection of an art experience, our conceptual apparatus is activated, and emotional reactions can receive a deeper analysis or expanded understanding. She perceives paradoxes and contradictions as basic elements in our existence where life and death, light and darkness, sorrow and joy are archetypes. She thinks of the gap or tension between the opposites as a possible source for understanding the extremes. As an artist, to dwell in the shades or jump between the contrasts is a choice linked to the effect you seek. The milk is white and the blood is red.
Marhaug’s choices relate to both visual, tactile and conceptual assessments. She often takes her own body dimensions as a starting point, such as height, weight, bone mass, blood volume and the like. Identification for other people should be close. By using a charged natural objects like leather, fur, wood, milk and blood in her art, a number of layers of meaning automatically arise: -some she is aware of, others unknown to her!
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
My starting point is again the life giving liquid, milk and blood, as well as the ancient Minoan goddess of snakes. This said the performance itself will not have a snakes or blood included, but the remains, -the symmetry of the figure, her waist, her dress and tall hat is a clear reference, also the natural materials I am using, like leather, fur, felt and wood. Duration about 20 min.
Curators of the “Tales” project:
Małgorzata Sady and Ingrid Blekastad
Partner: Kunstbanken Hamar
Photos: Tomasz Topczewski
Performance at Kabuso 22nd of April 2023
Ending the exhibition "Røynd og kjensle" with Terese Longva.
Duration 15 min
An important theme in Marhaug's long artist career is our carbon-driven economy.
She seeks to give the inscription of our bodies into this carbon game poetic, visual expressions in the form of performance, pictures, video, artist's books and installations. NORWEGIAN LIQUID is the overall title of the series of works started in 2009.
In Norwegian Liquid, the artist uses her body to express her ambivalence and dissonance in depictions of power and powerlessness. Norway stands out as a country of untouched nature. At the same time, we are the seventh largestexporter of petroleum in the world. The individual finds herself in the gap between traditional frugality with roots in rural Norway and the borderless international post-industrial infotainment society.
Marhaug’s intension is to show how the individual body is woven into the global economy driven by carbon burning. A maximum contrast, both visually and linguistically, can be found between black and white. The skin is the interface between the individual and the world, culture and nature, the black crude oil and the white coral beach.
Ownership to the natural resourses of the nation and the local commueties has during the laste decades had a growing focus. This applies to everything from the fish in the sea to the wind over the plains, the ore in the mountains and the oil in the seabed. The energy crisis of the past year is the closest complex that points to the many layers of power and powerlessness linked to a common good.
Photos: Petter Lønningen
Edited version of LIVE ART streaming Episode #4
THURSDAY OCTOBER 1 st, 2020. Theme Falling together,
Live duration one hour
This is an experimental Covid - 19 Art Stunt initiated by Visual Artist Torild Stray, together with Performance Artist Anette Friedrich Johannessen and Noisemaker čirnū, Ivan Andre Paulsen we formed the artist group WAVELENGTH.
We are proud to present guest Performers: Elisabeth Moberg and Amelia Norin (Vocals), Ida Nerbø (Soundscape), Rita Marhaug (Performance), Solvor Holan (Visual artist).
Live Camera by Enara Barnés
The events are supported by Bergen Municipality Art & Culture. Bergen Kommune Kunst & Kultur
(The Moth Effect)
Duration 15 min
Materials and props:
A mink fur globe, a wool-one-piece, a glittering pair of very high heals, leather mask, willowherbs and landscape.
Performed at Midnightsunscream 2020: "Alt fast smeltar"
(all that is solid melts into air)
at Kvalnes, Lofoten
Curator: Kjetil Berge
Photos: Emilie Marhaug
PERSONAS, part of the exhibition series Vitrinas
Atelier Fernanda Chieco, Stølegaten 17, Bergen
Solo show initiated and curated by Fernanda Chieco
7th and 8th of March 2020
Duration 29 hours
The small room and its windows was a place for the (random) viewer, to watch the artistic process unfold and develop for two days. During the period Marhaug arranged and rearranged objects and props in the space as a performative action. The general theme could be understood as masking and demasking, something that fitted well with the situation of the audience, people looking into this semi-private space: an invitation to watch, but not to be included/let in.
Louise Bourgeois and her works is a solid source of inspiration, from both a material as well as thematic point of view.
Sunday 8th of Mars Pavana Reid joined for a co-performance on the street!
Photos: Fernanda Chieco
Participating in Bergen International Performance Festival (BIPF)
28-29th of February 2020
24 performers at Kunstgarasjen
Duration of my part: 23 hours
Curator: Pavana Reid
Pavana Reid Marit T. Dyre, Gillian Carson
Alastair Maclennan UK
Ana Matey ES Andriy Helytovych UA
Béatrice Didier BE
Chomphunut Phuttha TH
Gustaf Broms SE
Ingeborg Blom Andersskog NO/SE
Ivonne Navas Dominguez CO/MX
Jan-Egil Finne NO
John Court UK/FIN
Mads Floor Andersen DK
Manuel Lopez ES
Marilyn Arsem US
Marta Bosowska PL
Niamh Seana Meehan IE
Nieves Correa ES
Olga Prokhorova RU/FIN
Rita Marhaug NO
Sajan Mani IN/DE
Sandrine Schaefer US
Sinead O’Donnell IE Tanya Mars CA
Thomas Reul DE
Thomas Wells UK
Photos: Jordan Hutchings
OPEAN 11: IN PERSONAS
Friday 7th of February 2020.
Duration of performance: 20 min
OPEAN is a performance and concert series which has the topic of Europe.
The evenings are like this: first there is a performance event in one space with two different artists.
After the performances a concert takes place in the space next to it.
Second performer for the evening; Antoni Karwowski from Poland
EINSTEIN KULTUR , MÜNCHEN
Curator; Patrick Morarescu
Photo: Patrick Morarescu
OPEN SESSION: DRAW
PAB OS and Bergen Akt and Croquis (BAC) invited everyone to Herdla museum for a two hour open session Sunday 27th of October.
OS: DRAW investigated how performance can be viewed and captured through drawing.
Museum visitors were welcome to participate, either as an audience or as a performer.
Photos: Petter Lønningen
NIAN: NORDIC ISLANDS ACTION IN NATURE
Curator: Chuyia Chia
A week with performance in public spaces: city scapes; parks, landscapes.
Giving a presentation at Kunstepedemien and a two days workshop.
Performing Personas at Gøtaplassen for 3 hours Friday 20th of October
Performing Think like a rock, feel like a tree,
Sunday 22nd of October
and Thursday 26th of October.
Workshop Human time, nature time, Monday and Tuesday from 11-17 o'clock
Photos: Peter Rosvik, Chuyia Chia, Alex
At Hamlagrø 2-5th of September -18 with seven colleagues asthe 3rd part of the project It's Personal initiated by Pavana Reid in 2016:
Is an performance art project which bring together eight artists form Thailand and Norway to collaborate focusing on subjects of personal issues and identity by using performance art as a platform. Associated with art the right to freedom of expression is essential, for the artists in the group the national frameworks are somewhat different. The subject of censorship and self-censorship, human rights and feminism, environmental engagement and social involvement are areas closely linked to the individual artist occupation.
THE PARTICIPATING ARTIST: Pavana Reid, Pattree Chimnok, Terese Longva, Nopwan Sirivejkul, Rita Marhaug, Jittima Pholsawek, Sareena Sattapon and Marit Tunestveit Dyre.
Part 1 of the project took place in Thailand in 2016. The journey brought the artists to popular tourist area, rural areas in Northeast and to the very North, ending up in Bangkok. The artists worked with a community art project, held talks, created site specific performance/photography work, conducted solo and a group performance. Part 2 took place in 2017 at Skuløy/Longva and in Ålesund. At Skuløy/Longva the artists created site specific performance/photography work, arranged a culture night titled; Thai & talk and held solo performance at Jugendstil senteret in Ålesund.
Photo: Sareena Sattapon
NÆRMERE (Closer), was developed in collaboration and performed together with colleg Gillian Carson, Saturday 21st of April -18. at C. Sundsts gate 55, Bergen during B-Open. The work was a comission from the board of CS 55.
Duration 2,5 hours
Audience could walk in and out of the scene as they prefered
Photos: Karen Kipphoff
ART HAS TO BE FOOLISH, ARTIST HAS TO BE FOOLISH
Invited by Venice Live 2017 and curator Jonas Stampe, Marhaug performed Thursday 11th and Friday 12th May 2017, in Venice.
The performances took place close to The Giardini, next to the Biennale vaporetto stop at the seafront.
Duration for both acts where about 15 min.
Photo: Pavana Reid
Part of It's Personal, durational improvisation with artists from Norway and Thailand at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), Thailand,
22nd of December 2017.
Marit Tunestveit Dyre
Duration: 4 hours
Photo: Wichai Juntavaro
Participant in Giswil performanceart festival in Switzerland,
7-12th of September 2016
Duration 20 min
Participating during Beautiful Lies, performance Event in Oronsko, Poland
14th of June 2016
Curator: Eulalia Domanowska
Part of PAB in Kalfarlien 18, 5th of October -13.
Collaboration with colleges Robert Alda, Gillian Carson, Karen Kipphoff. ( dolls by Kipphoff, lipstick marks by Carson)
Performance improvisation in two parts.
Duration part 1, 60 min
Duration part 2, 70 min
Photo Bjarte Bjørkum
PLAY OF ELEMENTS
Marhaug took part in CONTEXT Festival of Ephemeral Art
in the village Sokolovsko in Poland, July 2013.
Her contribution was the performance Play of Elements
Props: Fur coat, high heeled shoes, four blue baloons filled with helium in the pond, pair of scissors, 2 wigs, white robe, black robe and fire.
Duration 15 min.
Curator Malgorzata Sady
Photo: Marcin Polak and Rita Marhaug
A performance concept develloped in collaboration with Benedicte Leinan Clementsen. First performed in Warszawa May 2013 during Beautiful Lies, arranged in the Garden of the University Library.
Duration 20 min.
The theme for the performance event was light and shining.
Beautiful Lies was also part of Museum Night in Warszwa, 18th of May.
The word crepuscular is derived from the Latin crepusculum, meaning "twilight". Its sense accordingly differs from diurnal and nocturnal behavior, which respectively peak during hours of daylight and dark. The distinction is not absolute however, because crepuscular animals may also be active on a bright moonlit night or on a dull day. The use of the terms often is vague; for example, some animals that are casually described as nocturnal are in fact crepuscular.
Organizer Gallery XX1, curator Eulalia Domanowska
7th of September Crepuscular was modefied for a prison cell, 3,5 x 4,5 meters, in former Bergen kretsfengsel as part of the weekend program PAB Open- In adition to the two mink fur coats the whole floor was covered by a pink foam mattress.
Duration 2 x 2 hours
Initiated and organized by Performance Art Bergen
Studio photo: Bjarte Bjørkum
Marhaug participated in the festival La Muga Caula, a village north of Barcelona near the border of France, September 2012.
During three days she showed three different performance works under the headline of Norwegian Liquid.
Situated in and around the remote, beautiful village of La Muga Caula the artists found space for their individual contributions. Earlier the same summer a huge fire threatended the village leaving the woods around damaged. In this almost dead enviroment Marhaug's last work took place.
Curator Joan Casellas
Photo Rita Rodrigues
NORWEGIAN LIQUID, CHINESE STYLE
In August and September 2012 Marhaug participated in two performance art festivasl in Beijing, China; Beijing Live 2012: Love and Pain at Flower Art Center and Beijing Open at Factory Gallery
She produced 3 new works during her stay under the headline of Norwegian Liquid. The images shows the performance for Beijing Open at Factory Space, District 798.
Duration 20 min.
Curator Jin Chen (Open Festival)
Curator He Chengyao (Beijing Live)
Photo Nisa Ojalvo
Part of Art Swap arranged by AktB in collaboration with Bbeyond from Belfast and Bergen Art Museum.
Showed the 31st of October 2010 at Bergen Art Museum.
4 artists from Bergen and for artists from Belfast showing performances.
Duration 5 hours, (during whole day).
60 kg Norwegian one kroner coins (similar to the artist's body weight) were placed in a circle on the floor of the museum entrance. Circle diameter was 155cm, (artist's body length). During the opening time, the coins were stacked in columns into a small tower. At the end of performance, the structure collapsed.
Photo Bjarte Bjørkum
Performance in Sete, France during performance festival Infr'Action 9
5 liters of crude oil seeping out of the body and runs down the stairs of the theater building in the town of Sete.
Duration 4 hours
Photo: Nisa Ojalvo
Opening performance at the project gallery Døgnfluen
28th of April 2000
DØGNFLUEN or the Mayfly was an artspace for temporary art in Bergen, Norway. It was situated in a private apartment in Nygaardsgaten 70 A , 3th floor. During the period from 28th of April to 2nd of June 2000, Døgnfluen showed happenings, performances and stunts every friday.
Curators: Veronica Diesen, Arne M. Rygg and Morten Kvamme.
Photo: Bjarte Bjørkum
Along with colleague Ingunn Wright Rita Marhaug went to Greece in March 2000 to work with site-specific performance improvisations. For seven years Marhaug and Wright collaborated on the duo format Scylla & Carybdis.
Skylla & Carybdis worked in the old site of Olympia for one week and ended their stay at Cape Sounion south of Athens, were the temple of Poseidon is situated. During these last days in Greece they stayed at (old) Hotel Sounion, a hotel build in the early 60ties.
Out of tourist season, being the only guests at the big hotel, the mood of the situation resulted in a series of photoes and a video with tittle Greek Tragedy.
Photo and video assistant in Greece, Agnes Nedregard