Toril Johannessen : « Sharing knowledge and views »

Toril Johannessen is an artist selected in dOCUMENTA(13). She has accepted to participate in the Nature Addicts Fund’s Travelling Academy, as a « lead artist ». Interview.

1/ Being selected in dOCUMENTA, what does it represent for you ?


2/ What do you expect from the Academy in September ?
What I hope for is that the group brought together in the academy will inspire and learn from each other by generously engaging in the discussions taking place within the context of the Academy – and hopefully also beyond. Maybe some of the participants will engage in collaborations, maybe we won’t. I think the focus for September should be on sharing knowledge and views, specific projects might or might not come later. I am looking forward to learning about the other participants’ artistic practices and how questions related to topics for the Academy, relating to nature and ecology, manifest in their work.


3/ Have you already participated in an “Academy” (in all possible forms) ? If so, what are your memories of that time ?
In 2010 I did the three month program at the Mountain School of Arts, an artist-run school in Los Angeles. It is a very small community, only one class each year, and it is not so much about the practices of the students as it is about input from professionals from a wide array of disciplines, such as philosophers, scientists, programmers and writers, and the discussions that occurred as a result of these encounters. Defining the idea of an academy broadly, the monthly study circles we started in Bergen a few years ago, in the context of the local artist organisation B-open, could fall into that category. In these study circles, artists in Bergen are asked to choose a text for discussion and welcomes the participants in their studios. We started it to create an opportunity for academic discussion and to visit studios and artists from the local art scene; from various studios and studio communities and from different generations. Currently I am co-organizing an international residency-focused-workshop for the studio collective Flaggfabrikken, which I am a part of. Among the things we are preparing for this is a lecture on how the local artist-run art Academy went through different stages of institutionalization through the 20th century and finally from this year on merged into one art department at the art college in Bergen, leaving the name “Academy” behind.