Ni hao Shanghai
I november 2019 deltok Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Bjørn Rune Lie og Kristin Roskifte på et 17 dagers kunstneropphold i Shanghai, organisert av Magikon forlag og China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair. Oppgaven deres var å la seg inspirere og lage bilder fra byen. Denne utstillingen samler noen av deres visuelle inntrykk.
Utstilllingen er en løst sammensatt kolleksjon av originalkunst, rabbel, mobilbilder, suvenirer og funne objekter. Shanghai, med sine 25 millioner innbyggere og enorme kontraster og tempo, gir de fleste utenlandske besøkende en opplevelse av magi og kaos, der sansene kontinuerlig utsettes for et bombardement av inntrykk. Man reiser ikke uberørt hjem fra Shanghai, og er man blant dem som liker å lage bilder, er det ikke usannsynlig at opplevelsen før eller siden resulterer i en skapende raptus, som for eksempel en uformell og frimodig gruppeutstilling!
In November 2019, Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Bjørn Rune Lie and Kristin Roskifte participated in a 17 days artist’s residency in Shanghai, organized by Magikon Publishing and China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair. Their task was to be inspired and make pictures from the city. This exhibition collects some of their impressions.
2019 年 11 月，玛丽.坎斯达.杨森，比扬恩.鲁纳.利耶，克里斯汀.罗希夫特参加了由玛吉孔出版社和上海国际童书展组织的为期 17 天的上海居留项目。 他们的任务是从这个城市里汲取灵感，并以此为主题作画。 本次展览集中展示了三位艺术家的视觉印象。
En spesiell takk til Carolina Ballester / CCBF, Hedda Skandsen and Ge Lingfei / Norges generalkonsulat i Shanghai, NORLA, Grafill og innbyggerne i Shanghai.
Vi ønsker velkommen til vernissage torsdag 7. oktober kl. 18.00.
Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Bjørn Rune Lie og Kristin Roskifte, samt Carolina Ballester fra CCBF og Svein Størksen fra Magikon, vil være til stede på åpningen. Enkel servering.
Utstillingen vises hos Grafill i Møllergata 39 i perioden 7. oktober – 24. oktober 2021.
My name is Lene Renneflott and I am the Managing Director of Grafill - the organization for illustrators and designers in Norway. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this amazing travel exhibition that was made possible through the groundbreaking work and collaboration of Svein Størksen from Magikon Forlag and Carolina Ballester of China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF).
“Ni hao Shanghai” presents the work of the well-accomplished and acclaimed illustrators Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Bjørn Rune Lie and Kristin Roskifte. The exhibition is comprised of their impressions, their visual interpretations of their 17 day long residency in Shanghai in 2019. The brief was both simple and vast, it was essentially to interpret Shanghai!
I don’t know how many of the people present here today have ever been to Shanghai or China, but whether you have or not, their work will share with you three different perspectives on the city, on its objects, on its subjects (both people and themes) and therefore perhaps on life in Shanghai. Personally, I have to say I find it breath-taking to experience the pulse of Shanghai in three different expressions and personal interpretations, but also in the combined chaotic generosity of this exhibition. For, there is not just polished work here. We are also made privy to rough sketches, personal snapshots and all sorts of inspirational tidbits the artists found underway as they immersed themselves in both their individual journeys and their collective experience of capturing Shanghai through illustration.
Great travel narratives have always carried the suspense of both an inner and an outer journey. In a time when we are constantly learning to question the legitimacy of one gaze over another or the other - when we are constantly on our toes as to who may narrate what story - it is truly inspiring to see that this exhibition is a part of a cultural exchange program where the invitation to interpret Shanghai came from China and was always meant to be presented there.
Think about that for a minute, this exhibition was supposed to begin in Shanghai, to be seen and interpreted locally, before moving on to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where it will be seen by, well essentially it will be seen by everyone who is anyone in the world of children’s literature! Which might I add, is a really big deal on an international scale for anyone, but especially for a small high-quality publishing house like Magicon. So, you understand, the exhibition was really supposed to end here in Norway, to be seen last by the Norwegian audience, but like so many things in the pandemic, that too was turned on its head.
And talking about original intentions, this cultural exchange project is connected to another huge and exciting step of cocreation. Magikon has also initiated a project aiming to create new children’s picture books through the collaboration of Chinese writers working with Norwegian illustrators and Norwegian writers with Chinese illustrators. These titles will simultaneously be published in Norwegian and Chinese, thus providing children in both countries with the possibility of identical cross cultural reading experiences.
Of course, it is also in China’s interest to share new narratives with the world. Their reputation in the west has long been subjected to stereotypes and often negative stereotypes. Many of us have yet to get to know the vastness of Chinese art and culture or the humanity of the Chinese people as individuals. Simultaneously, many of us have also missed that China in recent years has been opening up more than ever.
Shanghai itself has been transformed in the last 20 years and is not only one of China’s most modern cities, but of the world. Never have so many Chinese travelled abroad. Never have so many students travelled to China or so many Chinese students studied abroad. They even teach Chinese now at my daughter’s high school here in Oslo.
Sometimes we can travel ourselves, but other times, as we have experienced more than ever during Covid, we must travel vicariously – through the experiences of someone else. Travel writing probably dates back as far as the Odyssey and I read somewhere that the first illustrated travel piece was created as early as the 1420’s. Let us therefore not forget the literary tradition of travel novels and the many visual artists through history who have travelled the world documenting their journey in search of inspiration or light or self. As such this exhibition is part of a long and constantly evolving tradition. Of course, as we look back into history, stories change. The balance of power, our understanding of the world, ourselves and others. At the same time, exeptional travel narratives have the power to open our minds.
I love that this exhibition Ni hao Shanghai is part of a true intercultural collaboration project, that it was through invitation. Illustrators are, of course, master interpreters. That is the nature of their craft, their superpower if you will. Illustrators add layers of meaning and they create narratives open to imagination and interpretation. That openness to interpretation, and of expression, is what really opens me up to these impressions of Shanghai – and with it I fall in love with the city even though I have never been there. I also love that there is very little explicit sense-making or moral here, instead Mari, Bjørn Rune and Kristin share their multitude of impressions through a visual concept each of their own. In that way their works contrast, play off each other and combine beautifully.
Please travel around this wonderful exhibit several times tonight. I promise you, like with Shanghai, you will always see something new. Let your own eyes see, let your personal gaze wander, open your heart and your mind and experience Shanghai as brought to you by the visual travel narratives by these three masters of illustration!
Also, I just love the Norwegian expression reiseskildringer so I just have to say it at least once at the end: reiseskildringer!
I hereby declare “Ni hao Shanghai” open.