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Marianne Heske relocates a small abandoned provincial house to central Oslo
Marianne Heske, House of Commons, 2015. Photo: Niklas Lello.

OSLO.- Oslo Pilot announces the first of its public art commissions, a new project by Marianne Heske, one of Norway’s foremost artists, which opened to the public on 21 October 2015. Entitled House of Commons, the project involves the relocation of a small abandoned provincial house from Østfold to the space in front of the Storting, the seat of Norway’s parliament in central Oslo. The small, weathered house stands at the foot of the venerable parliamentary building, which looms over it, while the two outer wings of the larger structure embrace what was once a home to many generations. Commissioned by Oslo Pilot, House of Commons is the first in a series of Art Pilots – artworks conceived and realised in public spaces across the city of Oslo.

Heske is perhaps best known for the year-long project she conceived for the 1980 Paris Biennale, Project Gjerdeløa, in which a seventeenth-century log cabin was dismantled from its steep mountainside location in Tafjord, Norway, reassembled within the halls of the Pompidou, tagged by the carvings of visitors, and, upon the closing of the exhibition, returned to its original location. For this new commission, Heske revisits this act of geographical displacement, raising the stakes of the gesture by positioning it squarely in a physical and discursive national context.

In claiming this highly codified outdoor space, House of Commons positions two distinct realities in direct conversation with one another: the mundane toil of rural life confronts the seat of governmental power; worn planks stand in contrast to lavish granite; the transience of life and memory is thrown into relief by the presence of the nation state and its authorised version of history. This apparently trivial juxtaposition brings out the distinction between showing and saying, creating relationships between diverging realities. The installation is a fusion of the aesthetic, the intellectual and the social.

Marianne Heske’s installation marks the first in a series of public Art Pilots to be initiated by Oslo Pilot throughout 2015 and 2016.

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