The Archive's Arabesque

06.12.19 – 19.01.20

Guttormsgaards' archive is a unique collection of art of known and unknown origin that defies established categories. In a defunct dairy at Blaker, one finds Tater (Roma) works made of steel wire standing next to Russian avant-garde books and ribbons made by Tibetan nomads, while African headrests are collected alongside works by Bendik Riis and Hannah Ryggen. In The Archive's Arabesque, drawing is used as a navigational tool for exploring the rich holdings of Guttormsgaard’s Archive. Through animation (Anna Sofie Mathiasen), algorithms (Institute for Computational Vandalism) and cartoon-strips (Thomas Sørlie Hansen), the exhibition’s participating artists draw lines that create new constellations – arabesques – in the archive.


A line is the trace a material leaves behind when it passes over another material. It is the trace of a pencil, paintbrush or pen on paper or canvas. It is a pin or finger’s trace in clay and a chisel’s trace in stone. It is the trace of a planer on a plank of wood and a plough’s furrow in the earth. It is an algorithm’s path through a database, Panto’s visit in the archive and a ship’s voyage from Norman church graffiti to a Soviet tobacco box. Everything that lives moves, and everything that moves creates arabesques in time and space. Have you made any arabesques lately?


Thomas Sørlie Hansen is 35 years old and comes from Rælingen. He has a master’s degree in visual communication from Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Since 2008 he has worked freelance as an illustrator, cartoonist and graphic designer. For one period he was the head teacher in illustration at Kristiania University College, Trondheim. Sørlie Hansen has collaborated on creating artist’s books, with, among others, Guttorm Guttormsgaard. In May 2020 he will be an artist in residence at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, where he will launch the book Pictures of Death.

Anna Sofie Mathiasen (b. 1995, Copenhagen, DK) lives and works in Oslo. She is currently studying at Oslo National Academy of the Arts / Academy of Fine Art and will complete her MFA in 2020. Mathiasen works three-dimensionally with installation, sculpture, text, photography, collage, film and animation. She deals with questions relating to the reactivation and reanimation of found materials and stories. In the summer of 2018, Mathiasen participated in the residency programme ‘The Collective Subject of History’ at Guttormsgaard s arkiv (organised by PRAKSIS), and since then has worked with objects from the archive.

The Institute for Computational Vandalism is an art-and-research group that works with experimental digital approaches to archives and collections. The group consists of Nicolas Malevé (BE), Michael Murtaugh (US) and Ellef Prestsæter (NO). Their projects have previously been presented at (a selection) Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Museum Jorn, and Guttormsgaards archive.