Vanessa Baird

18.06.14 – 27.07.14

In collaboration with Public Art Norway, Kunstnernes Hus will show the painting To Everything There is a Season by Vanessa Baird that was intended for the Ministry of Health and Care Services in the new R6 government building.

About the exhibition

In 2013 the artist Vanessa Baird’s large-scale painting became one of the most controversial art events in Norway. Baird’s series of paintings for the new offices of the Ministry of Health and Care Services aroused strong reactions, and the third and final painting, entitled To Everything There Is a Season, was never installed. This led to a fervent debate among artists, politicians, and the general public on the influence of art in public space. It was therefore quite a paradox that this passionate discussion concerned a painting that very few people had actually seen. In displaying this superb painting and important work, Kunstnernes Hus wants to highlight art’s ability to both stimulate discussion and make us aware of how we relate to the society we live in.

The project is a reaction and a reply to how Baird’s painting has been treated. It seems crucial that we allow a larger audience to experience the painting in a different context, so that they can take a fresh look and make up their own minds – without the presence of the media. We want to highlight the importance of an artist’s ability to shape public space and that art must be allowed to encounter a location that means different things at different times. The exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus will also feature information about the two other paintings in Baird’s series, so that the work may be seen as a whole.

Baird's themes and imagery seem to have been culled from the world of fairy-tales and fables.

About the artist

Vanessa Baird has garnered much attention for her dark, biting, and fabulistic art, whether in the form of pastels, watercolours, drawings, or paintings. Her work is full of tableaux and scenes whose burlesque surrealism makes them seem both foreign and familiar. With their distinctive intricacy and ornamentation, Vanessa Baird’s works grow from the minute to the monumental in vast landscapes interspersed with elements of architecture and urban life, often with a slightly grotesque and ominous atmosphere.

Vanessa Baird (b. 1963) lives and works in Oslo. She received her artistic training at the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts. She is currently holding a solo exhibition at Göteborgs Konsthall in Sweden and has previously held solo exhibitions at MGM (Oslo), galleri c/o Atle Gerhardsen (Berlin), and Tegnerforbundet (Oslo). She has also participated in group exhibitions at the National Museum, SKMU, the Stenersen Museum, and Lillehammer Art Museum.