Brugata 12
NO-0186 Oslo
Open Thur-Sat 13-15
And by appointment:

Brugata 12
NO-0186 Oslo
Open Thur-Sat 13-15
And by appointment:


Arild Tveito


Friday 17 November 7 pm

17 November - 9 December 2023Sangt Hipolyt, Bellermannstr. 79/80, D-13357, Berlin



Burkhard Beschow


Friday 10 November 7 pm

10 November - 2 December 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo



Peter Wessel Zapffe


Saturday 7 October 3 pm



Naeun Kang, Ellie de Verdier, Calle SegelbergHenri Rousseau, Arild Tveito

Opening:Friday 29 September, 7 to 9 PM29 September - 21 October 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

13 ABSOLU St Canterel, l'illuminateur - 16 HAHA Ste Vadrouille, emblème 151 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Matt Voor & Dee Havas

Opening:Friday 29 September, 7 to 9 PM29 September - 21 October 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

13 ABSOLU St Canterel, l'illuminateur - 16 HAHA Ste Vadrouille, emblème 151 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



A group exhibition curated by Eric Schmid

Stephanie LaCava, Ben Schumacher, Matthew Pang, Cathy Österberg, Jaques Rogers, Gabriel Humberstone, Moritz Smid, Georgie Nettell, Eric Schmid & Connor Tomaka, Nikhil Vettukattil, Giangiacomo Rossetti, Valerie Keane, Walter Smith, Marlie Mul, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Zoe Barcza, Liv Webster, Emma Hazen, Asha Sheshadri, Graham Vunderink, Oscar Laughridge, Lauren Burns-Coady, Matt Voor, Michael Pollard, Eirik Sæther, Adam Lehrer, Nicole-Antonia Spagnola, Bedros Yeretzian, Lena Tutunjian, Israel Lund, Max Guy, Guido Gamboa, Rory Salter, Adam Glibbery, Emma Sims, Connor Camburn, Piece of Paper, Biddy Mahy, Gregor Horne, Theo Christy, Jonas Asher, Maria Toumazou, S. A. Veksner & 1001puddles, Tim Pierson, Estelle Vigouroux, George Rippon, Anna Zacharoff, Alyssa Van Denburg, Peter Wolfgang, Mattin, Victor Boullet, Texas Knüller, Elena Bushueva, Zanne Chaudhry, Alan Longino, Jonathan Valdez, Lorelei, Arnau Sala Saez, Paula Kamps, Ben Morgan-Cleveland, Cameron Spratley, Marietta Mavrokordatou, Hélène Fauquet, Robert Bittenbender, Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix, Barret Avner.

Including a solo exhibiton by Bjarne Melgaard

Press release by Gabriel Catren

14 July - 12 August 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

1 TATANE FÊTE DU P. UBU (Ubu d'été) - 2 PHALLE *Ste Ruth, zélatrice 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Premières Secondes

With generous support from M. LeBlanc (Chicago)

We have proposed a brief conceptual-oriented introduction to UF in which we have argued (in the wake of a previous work [17]) that the type-theoretic notion of propositional equality can be understood as a relation of indiscernibility. We have then maintained that Leibniz’s PII holds in UF under the condition of understanding the Leibnizian notion of numerical identity as identity of reference. We have used this interpretational framework to argue that Voevodsky’s notion of univalence can be understood as a particular instance of a constructive notion of mathematical abstraction that resolves, so to speak, Fregean abstraction (see also [62, 65]).25 This constructive resolution of Fregean abstraction becomes necessary when the abstraction data contains objects that might be equivalent in different manners. The resulting constructive principle of abstraction establishes a faithful correspondence between the abstraction data and a type of presentations of the corresponding abstracta. The equivalences encoded in the abstraction data are transformed into propositional equalities among the different presentations of the corresponding abstractum. Since propositional equalities are paths along which properties can be transformed, presentations of the same abstractum are indiscernible. Hence, the constructive principle of abstraction converts equivalent objects (where the equivalences witness for the fact that the objects are partially indiscernible, i.e., indiscernible only in a certain respect) into terms of a type that are absolutely indiscernible. In this conceptual and formal framework, abstraction is not understood as a removal of differences, but rather as an enrichment of the original domain that proceeds by adding equivalences that will then be converted into propositional equalities. We could say that constructive abstraction “forgets” inessential information in a controlled manner, that is, in such a way that the abstraction data can be fully recovered from (or faithfully encoded in) the abstracta.26 
     From a philosophical perspective, some authors—notably Awodey [10] and Tsementzis [70, 69]—have analyzed UF in the light provided by a family of interrelated trends in philosophy of mathematics enveloped by the term mathematical structuralism (and mainly developed, in its different eliminativist and non-eliminativist variants, by Bourbaki, Benacerraf, Putnam, Resnik, Shapiro, Hellman, and Parsons among others; see [60] and references therein). The idiosyncratic presentation of UF that we have proposed here is intended to consider UF from the standpoint provided by an alternative (and maybe complementary27) conceptual framework that stresses above all the constructivist elan of UF. Whereas mathematical structuralism tends to stress the importance of the structural invariants to the detriment of non-structural variants28, constructivism tends to stress that the homotopic shape defined by the variants do matter. Whereas the structuralist reading of UF stresses that properties are invariant across propositional equalities between different presentations of the same “structure,” the point that we want to underline here is that the collection of such presentations carries a non-trivial topological structure that cannot be always safely dismissed. Far from being a redundant surplus structure that we could just discard, modes of presentation—like for instance the terms of an equality type—encode a homotopic structure whose truncation might lead to pathological constructions (like “bad quotients”). Whereas the structuralist reading exploits the fact that isomorphic objects are propositionally equal,29 we have tried to underscore that we cannot use this “Principle of Structuralism” (as Awodey calls it) to give in to the temptation to simply foreclose the multiplicities of presentations of the same “structure.” It is thanks to the intensional treatment of mathematical equalities—i.e., to the constructivist understanding of propositional equalities as types of proofs of its truth—that the set-theoretic dust can be blown up into a homotopic-theoretic topological foam.
Gabriel Catren is a philosopher and a physicist working at the Institut SPHERE—Science, Philosophie, Histoire (Université Paris Diderot–CNRS, Paris).



June Art Fair, Basel

Ananda Acharya, Agnes Houg, Per Krohg, Juliette Huxley, Kjartan Slettemark, Bjarne Ness, Terje Bergstad, Chloe ElgieÖyvind Fahlström, Dario Levitt, Germain Ngoma, Alfred Jarry, Svallaug Svalastoga, Raymonde Linossier

12 June - 18 June 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

23 MERDRE INTERPRÉTATION DE L'UMOUR - 4 GIDOUILLE Ste Tripe, républicaine 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Tierces



Malerei von Victor Boullet

Opening:Friday 26 May, 19-22

Relgiøst maleriEn kunstkritisk ekskursjon Novella von Stian GabrielsenReading 20:30

26 May - 25 June 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

9 MERDRE V i d a n g e - 12 GIDOUILLE Sacre de Taluo VII, emperor du Ponukélé 150 E.P.




Saman Kamyab

Opening:Friday 28 April, 7 to 9 PM28 April - 20 May 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

9 PALOTIN Sts Boleslas et Ladislas, polonais - 3 MERDRE St Siège, sous-pape 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Per-Oskar Leu

Opening:Friday 31 Mars, 7 to 9 PM31 Mars - 23 April 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

9 CLINAMEN Ste Trique, lunatique - 4 PALOTIN  Ste Susan Calvin, docteur 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Kim Henning Andreassen

Opening:Friday 3 Mars, 7 to 9 PM3 Mars - 25 Mars 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

9 PÉDALE *St Remezy, évêque in partibus - 3 CLINAMEN La Mandragore, solanée androide 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Hedda Grevle Ottesen

Opening:Friday 3 Mars, 7 to 9 PM3 Mars - 25 Mars 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

9 PÉDALE *St Remezy, évêque in partibus - 3 CLINAMEN La Mandragore, solanée androide 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Runhild Hundeide

Opening:Friday 20 January, 7 to 9 PM20 January - 19 February 2023Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

23 DÉCERVELAGE St Tank, animal - 25 GUELES Ste Marmelade, inspirèe 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Ane Kvåle

Opening:Friday 18 November, 7 to 9 PM18 November - 17 December 2022Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

16 AS St Cap, captain - 17 SABLE St Moyen, français 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Lauren Burns-Coady, Mattin, Connor Tomaka, Laszlo Horvath, Max Guy, Giangiacomo Rossetti, Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix, Eli Ping, Tim Pierson, Moritz Smid, Jason Hirata, Marysia Paruzel, George Rippon & Anna Zacharoff, Sam Lewitt, Sean McCann, Ben Morgan-Cleveland, Peter Wolfgang, Tyler Dobson, Robert Bittenbender, Moselle K, Ben Schumacher, Kate Sansom, Jason Loebs, Georgie Nettell, Mohammad Salemy, Bauer Verlag, Egan Frantz, Dustin Hodges, Cathy Österberg, Jacques Rogers, Martin Kippenberger, Nikhil Vettukattil, Deshaun Price, Donald Cumming, Hana Earles & Anabel Robinson, Cheyney Thompson, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Walter Smith, Eric Schmid, Matthew Voor, Emma Hazen, André Thomkins, Connor Camburn, Dieter Roth & Richard Hamilton, Francis Picabia, Emanuel Rossetti, Guido Gamboa. 

Curated by Eric Schmid

Opening:Thursday,  29 September, 6 to 9 PM29 September -  30 October 2022Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

22 ABSOLU EMMANUEL DIEU - 25 HAHA St J.-P. Brisset, philologue, prince des penseurs 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Secondes


Thursday 6 October 2022 7 PMCentralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo


Fêtes Suprêmes Secondes


Mattin, Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix,

Mohammad Salemy, Reza Negarestani

Co-moderated by Connor Tomaka & Eric Schmid

The discussion is available under the following link:



Calle Segelberg

Opening:Friday,  26 August, 7 to 9 PM26 August - 22 September 2022Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

16 PHALLE Nativité de st Vibescu, pohète et Commémoration de Ste Cuculine d'Ancone 149 E.P. - 15 ABSOLU ÉTHERNITÉ 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes



Karen Holtsmark, Torleiv Stadskleiv, Mats B., Elis Ernst Eriksson, Harriet Backer, Sveinung Svalastoga, Raymond Queneau, James Ensor, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Rolf Nesch, Sophie Podolski, Jean Ferry, Flann O'Brien, Kenneth H. Olsen, Mina Loy, Hulda Szacinski, Øystein Vesaas, Bjarne Ness, Alfred Jarry, Jules Pascin, Aldo Mondino, Latis, Juliette Huxley, Enrico Baj, Isidor Tanbrosch, Arne Ekeland, Jean Dubuffet, Raymonde Carasco, Andrea Tippel, Georges Hippolyte Adrien, Barry Flanagan, Marius Tapora, Elfa Björk, Paul van Ostaijen, Lutembi, Sven Nyström, Boris Vian, Per Krohg, Oberthür, Arild Nyquist, Balthus, Randal, André Cadere, Issa Samb, Dr. I.L. Sandomir, Raymonde Linossier...

16 PHALLE Nativité de st Vibescu, pohète et Commémoration de Ste Cuculine d'Ancone 149 E.P. - 15 ABSOLU ÉTHERNITÉ 150 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes

Opening:Friday,  26 August, 7 to 9 PM26 August - 22 September 2022 (Vulg.)Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo


Vilje Vestenfor

Opening:Friday,  3 June, 7 to 9 PM3 June - 25 June 2022Centralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186, Oslo

17 MERDRE Ste Woland, professeur - 11 GIDOUILLE Sacre de Talou VII, empereur du Ponukélé 149 E.P.

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes

Exhibition supported by:Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Arts Council Norway


Andreas B. Hattundertakers - or friends?Poems by Signe Gjessing

Opening:Thursday, 19 May, 6 to 9 PM19 May - 31 May 2022Santolarosa, Huitfeldts gate12, NO-0253, Oslo


Bauer Verlag publication launch:Prolegomenon to a Treatise by Eric Schmid

Friday, May 13, 2022, 6 to 9 PMCentralbanken, Brugata 12, NO-0186 Oslo

24 PALOTIN Ste Lumelle, écuyère

Fêtes Suprêmes Quartes

Launch of the third publication as part of the series Reihe at Centralbanken, co-hosted by Haus der Kunst, Oslo; with a conversation between Eric Schmid, Ben Green, Rocco Gangle, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and Will Fraser.

No. 3: Prolegomenon to a Treatise by Eric Schmid

Co-edited by Ben Green, with fore- and afterwords by Alexander Boland, Will Fraser, Rocco Gangle, Laszlo Horvath, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, Tim Pierson, Michael Stumpf, Connor Tomaka, Inigo Wilkins, Fernando Zalamea and a postscript by Mattin.

The conversation can be attended via Zoom during the launch at 7 PM (GMT+2) under the following ID: 95114091216; and will be broadcasted by Montez Press Radio on May 24 at 2 PM (GMT-4). The conversation is available under the following link: 
An extract from Prolegomenon to a Treatise was released as a preview by TripleAmpersand Journal and is available under the following link: 



Louise Jacobs

Opening: Friday 29 April 18:00

29 April - 21 May 2022

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo



Joseph Helland

Opening: Friday 1 April 19:00

1 April - 23 April 2022

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo



Stacey de Voe

Opening: Friday 1 April 14:00
1 April - 30 April 2022

Santolarosa, Huitfeldts gate 12, 0253 Oslo



Chloe Elgie

Opening: Friday 11 March 19:00

11 March - 20 March 2022

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo



Mickael Marman

Opening: Thursday 27 January 18:00

27 January - 26 February 2022

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo



Agatha Wara

5 November - 28 November

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo

"Nay they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush."
- the Book of Jeremiah.

It was opined by Darwin himself that only idiots escape blushing. Like infants, he said, idiots’ mental powers are not sufficiently developed to produce blushing. They are just too dumb.

Darwin also studied Laura, a woman born both deaf and blind, who, to his surprise, was a great blusher: “The blind are not at first conscious that they are observed, and it is a most important part of their education to impress this knowledge on their minds; and the impression thus gained would greatly strengthen the tendency to blush, by increasing the habit of self-attention.” By these two observations we can surmise that the best blusher is a non-idiot standing on a stage being watched.

Blushing is violent. It is hot blood and adrenaline surging through dilated vessels forcing the skin to change color. Both Darwin and Wilhelm Stekel, a psychologist in the late 20th century, described blushing in erotic terms. Darwin studied women’s bodies to see how far the blushing went down, and Stekel called blushing a “genitalization”of the face, aka, a face-boner.

The question is excessively loud: what is there to be so ashamed of?

Yet, only idiots can escape shame. What about llamas? What about a very idiotic llama. Does she escape the the shame-gaze of the external eye? That eye that wishes her death. If I know anything about llamas, I know that she’s probably already swallowed it whole. The “puca” llama depicted in Guaman Poma de Ayala’s letter to the Spanish king in 1615 was born red. Puca means “red” in the Incan language Quechua which my grandmother spoke. Was the puca llama a ginger red or red from shame, we will never know. Black llamas, in ancient Andean tradition, used to the tied up in the public square without food, causing them to wail from hunger and thereby cry to the gods for rain.

The face is a stage, but not for idiots. Having no face, in Spanish, is a priviledge only reserved for the shameless (descarado). In English, saving face means, of course, to avoid humiliation. From what? From the awful hole, oh, that’s you, dear reader.

The rest of the show is Dior ads I collected when I was 16. Blush, blush, blush, my darlings.

Agatha Wara, 2021

Exhibition supported by:
Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Arts Council Norway


Fanny Fermelin & Lasse Berlok
Opening: Saturday 9 October 4 pm
9 October - 11 November

Oslo City Hall emerged on the ground of what used to be Bakkegata, Strandbakken and
Strandgata. By 1950 - it took 17 years to build - the last stone was put in place. In 1850 the area housed 17 brothels. On the east side of the city hall a high relief depicts a prostitute; with male figures on each side of her, she is pushed into a corner of the building. On the wall beneath someone tagged Frøken Fryd.

Eh...Do you know what kind of blanket that is? Chloe asks while Smallpox Champion play in the background. It was an original Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket, or The Plague Blanket as the first nations still call it.

On the phone Lasse told me he is building the molds for the birds he is casting as a reaction to the demolition of Y-blokka. It took about a year to knock down the building. The new building of the headquarter is planned to open in 2024.

Studying at the academy a professor invited us to come to her neighbours house at Bøler. Silvia Antoniou Nesjar had passed away and we could pick any objects we would like, but those who were connected to Carl Nesjar’s and Pablo Picasso’s collaboration. I chose a hand painted pair of shoes and a wool blanket which matched the shoes.

When we went for a smoke in the courtyard at Mathilde’s place I realised that Trondheimsveien 15 shares its yard with Lakkegata 66, the address of a brothel I stumbled upon named Hudson Bay. Her apartment was soon to undergo renovation causing drastic increase of rent. I will have to move, she said, it makes me cry just thinking about my home with an Ikea-kitchen and linoleum floors. Going to a bar that night some kids on Bird-scooters ran by us, seemingly exited by speed. Are you fucking insane!? I shouted.

The exhibition is supported by:
Arts Council Norway and Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond




Urd J. Pedersen
1 oktober - 31 oktober 2021

Centralbanken, Brugata 12, 0186, Oslo Norway


Santolarosa is delighted to announce the inauguration of its new temporary venue baptized “Centralbanken” with the solo show "Herfra til Hollywood" (From here to Hollywood) by Oslo based artist Urd J. Pedersen (b. 1989). Located in Brugata 12, on the ground floor of a three-storey building from 1882, designed in Neo-Renaissance style by architect Ove Ekman. Previous businesses on the address include: The pawnbroker and loan business bank “Kristiania Folkebank” established in 1888 as a bank with a special focus on the financially disadvantaged. In addition to ordinary banking, “Folkebanken” also conducted collateral activities, and could be a favorable alternative to ordinary pawnbrokers; a cinema called Central World Theater which opened on the ground floor in 1908 was in operation until 1916 and screened among many the film that is considered to be the first Norwegian feature from 1911 "fattigdommens forbandelse" (the Curse of Poverty); in 1929 a shoe exhibition was held in Oslo called “Skotøiuken” (The Shoewearweek) and Arena Shoemagazine in Brugata 12 was one of the exhibitors. The shoe store announced a bankruptcy and closed its doors in 1989; in 1987 Tone-Lise naildesign Academy was established here but moved to new premises in 2017; not to forget Erik Myrhaug and the late Ailo Gaup’s teaching through the Saivo School of Shamanic Studies in the 2010s. The show will mark a threshold for Santolarosa / Centralbanken, as the gallery will explore a new architectural context for its future exhibitions in parallell with its previous but still continous operation in Huitfeldts gate 12.

Exhibiotion supported by:
Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond



Andrea Romano

26 August 25 September 2021

The sociologist Erwin Goffman in "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life", and in subsequent works, describes social situations as a theatre in which people, unwittingly or not, take on a role and act to defend it or destroy it, as in a continuous relationships' performance based on the projection of their self-image in others and vice versa. This sort of Gestalt theory applied to human interactions establishes an equivalence between the concept of representation and a real and direct experience.

Captured in different actions and poses, the figures in Study Of… (2017-on going) perform sentences related to Andrea Romano’s research, titles or parts of his textual works, but texts in the drawings evolve into questions, doubts, emotional statements and reflections on the very nature of the image. The drawings isolates and portrays certain figures taking part in the social rituals – such as exhibition openings and parties – of the Milanese community that the artist belongs to. These works deal with the act of looking that takes place in interpersonal and gender dynamics (scrutinizing, spying, judging, empathizing, recognizing, objectifying, desiring) and consequently, it unfolds the whole range of attitudes that the person who is observed can assume, from vanity to embarrassment.

Freed from the theatricality of real space, body and movement, Study Of… explores the performative process reduced to a theoretical act. If theatre and theory have the same etymological root, these drawings represent the paradoxical attempt to fill the space that separates the two words, though aware that they cannot nor want to give a unique answer to the problem.

The three collages Drawer Bottoms (2020-on going) depicts words and concepts as well. These kind of color-blind test are made with various Varese papers, a typical Italian paper traditionally used to cover the internal part of drawers. The combination of different colors and patterns produces effects that engage the viewer at a retinal level. The series relates two elements with different connotations but a common memory; a private creativity on the one hand, and the Conceptual Art language on the other.

Thus, the works in Anteo focus on the relationship between text and image that is part of Andrea Romano’s research. The title is a tribute to Anteo Zamboni, a fifteen-year-old boy killed by the fascist police for trying to assassinate Mussolini during a ceremony in Bologna on October 31, 1926. Anteo Zamboni left some letters written on small pieces of paper and an envelope on which he planned his sacrifice. On those sheets of paper, writings and drawings are chaotically intermingled – they recall Artaud's and Derrida's notion of the "subjectile" (The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud by Jacques Derrida and Paule Thévenin). – His anarchist, private and amateur drawings, examples of non-art, mirror the avant-garde narratives on the themes of truth and chance. On those makeshift supports found in the drawers of the house, there is no distinction between image, action and passion. The reality is aestheticized to the point of eluding representation, or merging with it.



Knut Ivar Aaser

15 May 20 June 2021 (Vulg.)

26 PALOTIN Ste Prétentaine, rosière - 6 GIDOUILLE St Dieu, retraité 148 E.P

Des danseuses et des danseurs sortaient de partout pendant que la scène s’éclairait. Les uns arrivaient par la grande cheminée, les autres par l’armoire dont ils ouvraient brusquement les portes, plusieurs surgissaient du plancher. Tous et toutes avaient à la main une aiguille gigantesque de la dimension d’une canne, à laquelle pendait une aiguillée de soie rouge aussi grosse qu’une corde. En dansant ils agitaient mollement leur aiguille et la soie les enveloppait ainsi qu’un souple ruban.

Raymond Roussel





Alfred Jarry

19 April 2021 (Vulg.)

28 Clinamen St Turgescent, iconoclaste 148 E.P


The Norwegian Entheomycological Society presents:


Brian C. Muraresku

19 March 2021 (Vulg.)

25 PÉDALE St Poligraf Poligrafovich, chien 148 E.P




R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, Carl A. P. Ruck

7 March 2021 (Vulg.)

13 PÉDALE *Ste Valburge, succube 148 E.P





Tiziano Vecellio

Jakob Böhme

Carl A. P. Ruck

Blaise Daniel Staples

Matthias Grünewald

Nikolaus Hagenauer

Hubert & Jan van Eyck

18 December 2020 – 17 January – 31 January 2021 (vulg.)

18 SABLE Ste Lurette, joconde – 20 DÉCERVELAGE St Outlaw, aristocrate 6 GUEULES Ste Touche, postulante 148 E.P

Sannhetsspetakkel eller Taskenspilleri?

If you die before you die, You wont die when you die

Heretical Visionary Sacraments

Amongst the Ecclesiastical Elite

Certain works of European art from the Renaissance suggest that a mushroom cult continued in elite societies of Christians. The most defining characteristic of the Amanita muscaria is the persistence of its potentiated toxin as a metabolite in urine, perhaps reflected in the ancient tradition of the second birth of Dionysus from the groin of his father. Between 1512 and 1516, Matthias Grünewald painted an altarpiece for the monastic hospital at Issenheim, in Alsace, now displayed in the Unterlinden Museum at Colmar. The monastery claimed Saint Anthony of Egypt as patron and it tended patients suffering from the affliction of ergotism named Saint Anthony’s fire after the saint. Prominent in its complex of images presented in three layers of unfolding panels is the depiction of the divine Infant’s vase de nuit or chamber pot, above which is a transparent crystal vessel of ornate Persian design like a monstrance containing the amber fluid of the Baby’s urine, above which, the Virgin, in heaven amid a consort of angelic and demonic musicians appears, wearing a crown of flames surrounded by an orange nimbus, as she blesses the sacrament. The risen Christ is depicted in the adjacent panel to the right rising from the tomb, surrounded by the same nimbus, his white legs trailing the white burial shroud and presenting a credible anthropomorphism of the Amanita muscaria. At the innermost third level of presentation, which was visible only on the saint’s day and for special rituals, two scenes with Saint Anthony, patron of mushrooms seekers, flank a shrine with wood carvings. On the right, demons torment the saint. A poor deformed man, afflicted with the pustules of the disease, clutches a bible beside a tree trunk that is host for fungi. On the left, the saint is depicted entertaining a visit from the Hermit Paul of Thebes. For their meagre banquet, a Raven descends delivering two bits of Raven’s bread, whereas ordinarily the saint was sustained by a single daily piece of the bread from the Raven. Beneath the Raven, a deer approaches, about to graze on some of the mushrooms for which the Cervidae are notably fond, including the Amanita’s metabolite in urine. Another deer rests between Anthony and Paul, engaged in conversation, probably on the subject of their miraculous nourishment in the desert. The motif of the deer hunt in medieval and Renaissance art probably always had the gathering of the mushroom as its referent. Both Saints Hubertus and Eustatius experienced a vision of the Christ suspended between the antlers of a stag while out on the hunt.

Between the years 1523 and 1526, while in residence with the Duke, Titian painted The Bacchanal of the Andrians for Alfonso I d’Este to decorate the antechamber to the bedroom he shared with his second wife, Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI. The theme of the antechamber’s art was depictions of ancient orgies or revels. The painting is now in the Museum of the Prado in Madrid. There are two levels of reality in the depicted scene, the islanders of the Greek isle of Andros, who held an annual revel to celebrate the arrival of the god Dionysus, at which time the rivers of the island flowed with wine. The other level of reality is the materialization of the god’s nude male attendants, scooping up the wine from the river, drinking it, and carting it away. Shockingly nude in the corner of the right foreground reclines a voluptuous female, who is Ariadne, the bride of the god, exposing her genital area. Lucretia may has served as model for Ariadne. Beside her is the god, Dionysus-Bacchus, but incongruously as a child, lifting his shirt to urinate in the river’s stream, his penis and her vulva adjacent. The two levels of reality appear unaware of the other’s presence, except for two figures. One from the mythical entourage is pouring the liquid from a pitcher into the uplifted saucer held by a woman, unaware of him behind her, as she reclines on the bank of the stream, totally engrossed in conversation with her neighbor. Beside her another from the mythical entourage is looking at a crystal pitcher held aloft by an islander in a group of Andrians dancing about a tree, in whose branches sits a large peacock, emblematic of the changes of color effected through alchemical transmutation, thus identifying the urine from the river’s stream as the golden elixir of immortality. The two crystal pitchers mark the nexus where one reality impinges on the other, suggesting that the liquid content is visionary or hallucinatory. In front of the women in conversation by the riverbank is a piece of musical notation; the music is a perpetual canon or round whose text reads, “He who drinks but once and doesn’t drink it again knows not true drinking.” The reference is clearly to the child’s pee, round and round, which is being poured into her cup and which appears again in the monstrance of the crystal pitcher. Another of the males from the mythical entourage behind the two conversing women is looking directly at the peeing child and knows full well that it is divine urine that he is scooping from the stream. The source of the river appears personified as a river god in the distant right above the reclining Ariadne. He is a white-bearded man, apparently passed out, the river’s fountain issuing from between the legs of his nude body, ostensibly from his genitals as urine. Equally unconscious and in the same pose is the nude Ariadne, he and she probably adding to the urine flowing in the stream. Beside the peeing god is an overturned large stemmed golden chalice, of probably ecclesiastical design, suggesting that the alchemical elixir of transmuted pee is the Eucharist. The peeing homunculus or little man was a motif in alchemical depictions, releasing his urine within the alembic containing the potion of transcendence, and the alchemists riddled that the so-called stone that conferred the knowledge of philosophers was actually something despicable, common and everyday, tossed out as offal into the streets. Since both Grünewald and Titian were in residence for an extended period as they accomplished their patrons’ commission, it is difficult to imagine that the artists had not partaken of the sacrament encoded in their paintings.

The Ghent Altarpiece was the decade-long collaboration of Jan van Eyck and his presumed brother Hubert, commissioned by its donors Joost Vijdt and his wife Lysabette Borluut, and apparently facilitated in its completion by the patronage of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and his newly wed third wife Isabella of Portugal. Its twenty-four disparate panels seemingly baffle a unified conception, blamed on the different intentions of the two artists, the spiritual aspiration of its pious donors, and the political dynastic ambition of its unacknowledged noble patrons. Its theme is the End of Time as revealed in the Apocalypse of John, an event widely anticipated with the approach of the mid-millennium. The donors and patrons, by the manipulation of its complex theological symbolism, are striving to position themselves in the ascendancy for the renewal of the world as the New Jerusalem. It offers the hope of a Eucharist upon the True Presence, consisting of the alchemical Water of Life, the sacred effluent of Divinity, the elixir of Gnosis, whose implausible secret is blatantly disclosed only for those who have eyes to see. Philip inaugurated the Altarpiece with the founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece, an elite chivalric society based on alchemical principles, whose highest knights were initiated by secret rites celebrating their spiritual transcendence to golden perfection. The model was King Arthur’s Round Table, and the Altarpiece also establishes Philip’s claim to the divine sanction of the legendary king in the quest for the Holy Grail and a final Crusade to recapture the Holy Land. The Altarpiece is construed as an alchemical talisman to rearrange and call down the occult powers of the cosmos to bless his and the donors’ aspirations. To this end, it encompasses symbolism assimilated into Christendom from the ancient mystery cults and pagan antecedents that authenticate the sovereignty of the Valois lineage. Prime among these is the figure of the Gorgon Medusa and her European analogue as the fairy mermaid known as Melusina. The sacred aquatic stone that crystallized from her spilled blood is an alchemical version of the holy Eucharist. The Ghent Altarpiece is the central point of reference about which we circle and repeatedly return as we place it in its greater context of what we might call medieval and Renaissance ecstatic scholarship, the intense meditation upon the Holy Scriptures to summon the visionary apparition of the secrets of its ultimate truths. The rabbi Abulafia, as the culmination of a millennium of such scholarship, had such a vision toward the end of the 13th century and set off to convert the pope. The papacy was always a dual authority, with temporal rule often more demanding of concern than the mystical experiences of those members that the Church honored by canonization into the ever-swelling company of saints. The context for the Ghent Altarpiece was the third quincentennial expectation for the long awaited End of Time. It hadn’t happened, as expected, for the millennium. In anticipation of that event, the bishop Bernward of Hildesheim, a metallurgist and alchemist, later canonized as saint, constructed another great work of art and architecture, the Michaeliskirche and its monastic school, for his tomb and pathway to celestial transcendence. The painted ceiling added to celebrate his canonization encodes the same secret that Abulafia divulged. The third quincentenary and the millennium marked calculations for a period of time much more immediate. At the end of the 1st century, it was already overdue for an event expected within the lifespan of the original apostles and prompted the apocalyptic Revelation of John on the island of Patmos that established the vocabulary of symbols for the later repetitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples & Mark A. Hoffman

He who drinks but once and doesn’t

drink it again knows not true drinking

Tentation de Saint Antoine; Visite de Saint Antoine à Saint



Chloe Elgie

20 November – 13 December 2020 (Vulg.)

18 AS St Chambernac, pauvriseur – 13 SABLE *St Flaive, concierge 148 E.P

Amators (or lovers, or amateurs) insist. They mumble through a conversation gently humming something like “loving you happens to be what I do best”. A still image of this insistence is “disgustingly still” like the Redhead says in Roberto Bolaño’s Antwerp, as she recounted the events of her day to a cop. That’s all. All I can give you is this two word fragment but I think there is a peculiar optimism nested somewhere between the breath after the last syllable and the realization that there’s nothing to say in response. Oil and water to a line in the eleventh part that goes “I couldn’t help smiling. The piston forces the images up again”. One thing at a time: what’s a piston? Answer: it’s at the heart of reciprocation, in relation to a vehicle. It’s a moving metal cylinder with an air tight seal. One for intake, one for compression, one for combustion and one for exhaust. A sweet spot of tension, a sweet spot of stability, the pistons move up and down repeatedly. It’s one of those parts that goes unnoticed until it stops working, until the rims are sharpening blades against the pavement. It’s an aspirational image because it’s frozen. The joke lingers, the screwball comedy film spirals. This suspension stutters and becomes a negligent sentence. What’s to lose but some hangtime. Hello, I must be going, I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going, I’m glad I came, but just the same, I must be going.



Svallaug Svalastoga

23 October – 15 November 2020 (Vulg.)

18 HAHA Nativité de Sa Magnificence le baron Mollet (*St Pipe) 13 AS MOUSTACHES DU Dr FAUSTROLL 148 E.P



Maria Storm-Gran

25 September – 20 October 2020 (Vulg.)

18 ABSOLU Flûtes de Pan – 15 HAHA NATIVITÉ DE L’ŒSTRE, artificier 148 E.P




Maya Deren / Talley Beatty

John Latham

Lotte Pritzel

Gustave Courbet

Baron Adolf de Meyer / Vaslav Nijinsky

14 August – 13 September 2020 (Vulg.)

4 PHALLE St Mnester, confesseur 147 E.P – 6 ABSOLU Ste Vérola, assistante sociale 148 E.P

Where alchemy, through its symbols, is the spiritual Double of an operation which functions only on the level of real matter, the theater must also be considered as the Double, not of this direct, everyday reality of which it is gradually being reduced to a mere inert replica––as empty as it is sugarcoated–
–but of another archetypal and dangerous reality, a reality of which the Principles, like dolphins, once they have shown their heads, hurry to dive back into the obscurity of the deep. Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and its Double, 1958.

Kiev-born experimental filmmaker, poet-writer, self-trained dancer, and photographer Maya Deren, initially Eleanora Derenkowsky (1917-1961) arrived in the United States in the wake of anti-Semitic pogroms in the Ukraine. Deren’s distinctive camera movement and sensuous geometry between the lens and the protagonist are palpable in At Land (1944); when circling with a 16 mm Bolex around the entrancing Talley Beatty, for A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), and via the intricate rhythms of Chinese flute and Haitian drums bound with Wu Tang in Meditation on Violence (1948)—avowing her claim to make “the world dance” in film while generating a symbolic realm of discontinuous cinematic space. These works also reveal the lived poetics of the American avant-garde. In the 1940s, Deren joined African American dancer-choreographer Katherine Dunham as a personal assistant and toured with the Dunham Dance Company. From 1947 to 1952 she shot over 18,000 feet of footage and made sound recordings chronicling Haitian vodou rituals and ceremonies, music, and the communal performativity of bodies in trance. While the film itself remains an unfinished project, in her book Divine Horsemen (1953), Deren writes: “As the soul of the dead did, so have I, too, come back. I have returned. But the journey around is long and hard, alike for the strong horse, alike for the great rider.” It seems fitting that Deren’s last film, revealing a cosmological “ballet of the night:” The Very Eye of Night (1952), premiered in Port-au-Prince.

Described by New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff as “one of America’s best and most underrated choreographers,” Talley Beatty (1923-1995) thrilled dance audiences over a career that included performances in seven different decades. Like many other significant choreographers, he started as a dancer with his own highly distinctive style. Beatty was trained as a dancer in the 1930s by the queen of African-American modern dance, Katherine Dunham; his own style extended Dunham’s ideas in unfailingly creative ways. Beatty began his own career as a choreographer in the late 1940s; one of his early works, Southern Landscape, was revived in 1992 by the Philadelphia company Philadanco and “remains,” in the words of the New York Times, “a vivid study of black life in the South.” It evokes elements of antebellum slave culture such as the sacred ring shout circle dance. Beatty was inspired by the Howard Fast novel Freedom Road (1944), set in the Reconstruction era. “Blacks and whites worked these communal farms together,” Beatty told the New York Times, “which is very different from the way I was taught about the Reconstruction. But Klan members came in and destroyed these communities.” From 1949 through 1955, when black-oriented dance companies were scarce, Beatty was the director of his own dance troupe, Tropicana.

John Latham (1921–2006) was a Northern Rhodesian-born British conceptual artist, who, through painting, sculpture, performances, assemblages, films, installation and extensive writings, fuelled controversy and continues to inspire. A visionary in mapping systems of knowledge, whether scientific or religious, he developed his own philosophy of time, known as ‘Event Structure.’ In this doctrine he proposed that the most basic component of reality is not the particle, as implied by physics, but the ‘least event,’ or the shortest departure from the state of nothing. The entire universe is to be viewed as a system of events in time, rather than objects in space. Thus, for Latham all artworks were considered events and were activated as such through diverse processes ranging from spraying, chewing, shredding or spitting to simply declaring. For instance, his seminal ‘skoob’ happened in 1966, while Latham was teaching at St Martins School of Art. Latham borrowed a copy of Clement Greenberg’s recently published art history opus, Art and Culture, from the school’s library, and invited his students to join him in a ritualistic ceremony: the chewing and spitting out of select pages of the book. Latham decanted the vestiges into a phial, doused it in acid and yeast, and fermented it for a year, then returning the liquid he described as ‘Essence of Greenberg’ to the school. The Spit and Chew event poked at Greenberg’s emphasis on space and form, which was contradictory to Latham’s focus on the function of time in art, and cemented itself as a key example of conceptual art. The resulting artwork, Spit and Chew: Art and Culture (1966-69) is now owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Whether in his early spray paintings and One-Second Drawings, to the book reliefs he created in the 1960s, the roller paintings of the 1970s and the late glass towers works which incorporated bits of all theorems, John Latham maintained steadfast devotion to exploring the most complex cosmological ideas and questioning the traditional notions and structures of art, science and philosophy. In 2003, John Latham declared his house and studio a living sculpture, naming it FTHo after his theory of time, ‘Flat Time.’ Until his death, Latham opened his door to anyone interested in thinking about art. It is in this spirit that Flat Time House opened in 2008 as a gallery with a program of exhibitions and events exploring the artist’s practice, his theoretical ideas and their continued relevance. It also provides a center for alternative learning, which includes the John Latham archive, and an artist’s residency space.

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) had moved to Paris when he was 20, in 1839, to pursue a law degree. He quickly defected from this career path, vowing, he wrote, “to lead the life of a savage,” enjoying “the great, independent vagabond life of the Bohemian,” as an artist unencumbered by the state. To that end, Courbet skipped enrollment at the Academy of Fine Arts, training instead in various artists’ studios and spending hours at the Musée du Louvre copying old masters he admired. Despite his enthusiastic drive, Courbet was still searching for his own artistic identity. Yet he found himself growing increasingly disillusioned by the art establishment as he faced repeated rejection from the state-sanctioned salon. Finally, in 1844, the salon accepted his Courbet with a Black Dog (1842–44). Perhaps in a literal bid to insert himself into art history, the ambitious but insecure young artist took to the self-portrait on a number of occasions during this decade. In paintings like The Wounded Man (1844–54), The Man with the Leather Belt (1845–46), and Man with a Pipe (ca. 1848), Courbet appears as a Byronic heartthrob who exudes a vulnerable sexuality. The self-portraits of this period seem to reflect the emotions of Courbet as a provincial seeking his own place and style. So while many of his self-portraits show a confident young man, The Man Made Mad by Fear (1843-45) reflects very different emotions as the young artist prepares for his leap into the unknown, reaching out, yet afraid of what the future might hold.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s text Dolls: On the Wax Dolls of Lotte Pritzel, published in 1921 with illustrations by the artist, is also one of the surviving testimonies to Lotte Pritzel’s work. Rilke’s opening words (and final paragraph) are incomprehensible unless we know that the dolls by Lotte Pritzel he saw in a Munich exhibition in 1913 were not designed for children. Lotte Pritzel (1887-1952) made extravagant, gures of wire and wax which had great artistic success then and in the 1920s. Those elongated and emaciated dolls were mounted on small baroque stands and dressed for the most part in weird gauzy costumes, their postures and limbs and long scrawny fingers suggestive of dance and decadence. They were ‘reflections of the world as I see it,’ said Lotte Pritzel. Their shapes and attitudes, together with the atmosphere of eroticism and melancholy, led more than one critic to mention Aubrey Beardsley. In the 1920s, professional dancers impersonated Pritzel dolls on stage; one billed her act as ‘Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy’, a title adopted for an exhibition of Pritzel’s work at the Munich Puppet Theatre Museum in 1987.

The circumstances of Adolf de Meyer’s life are often vague and faintly suspect. He was born in Paris in 1868—three years before Proust, and just as fascinated by society as him. It appears that by adulthood de Meyer had aquired a small fortune and a circle of London connections among the businessmen and socially prominent who hovered about the future of Edward VII. In 1899 he married Olga Caracciolo, a young woman whose pretty elegance inspired such painters as Whistler, Beardsley, and Degas. Her past as the haphazardly raised and possible illegitimate daughter of her godfather, Edward VII, stirred the imagination of Proust and Henry James, whose novel, What Maisie Knew, is said to have owed something to her life story. The de Meyers were “as mutually dependent as a couple of trapeze artists.” De Meyer had toyed with aristocratic titles of his youth, but the one by which he was known he came by honestly. It was conferred on him by the King of Saxony at Edward’s request, thus rendering the de Meyers eligible for official seats at Edward’s coronation in 1901. when Olga de Meyer bacame a theatrical agent and helped to bring the Imperial Russian Ballet to Covent Garden, the de Meyers moved into a second royal circle. “...Without Olga, Adolf would have remained merely a fashionable decorator, or a snob who took photographs, or a homosexual ballet fan (and indeed he was all these).” Avocations were meant to remain that in the de Meyers’ world, but the Baron’s photography began to occupy him increasingly. Having started as a photographer of society beauties, he was, by 1903, exhibiting at London galleries with such photographers as Edward Steichen and Alvin Langdon Coburn. Over the following four years, he would move away from the prevailing anecdotal school. His feeling for light, texture and handling and his authoritative printing techniques placed him in the Secessionist camp, leading to an invitation from Alfred Stieglitz to show at Stieglitz’s pioneering 291 Gallery in New York and print his photographs in Stieglitz’s Camera Work. The “Debussy of photographers” did more, however, than create an aura of light in shade. “He deliberately focuses his camera not upon the sparkle of an eye,” The Craftsman noted in 1914, “but on the light that illuminates the eye.” De Meyer was famed for his photographic portraits, many of which depicted important people of the time, such as: Vaslav Nijinsky; stage and film actress Jeanne Eagels; and the fabled Marchesa Luisa Casati, triumphed as the brightest star in European society, possibly the most artistically represented woman in history after the Virgin Mary and Cleopatra. Although de Meyer had set a standard for elegance and style, his Pictorialist-inspired fashion photographs were seen as outmoded by the 1930s, and he was forced to leave Harper’s Bazaar in 1932. Unrest in Europe brought him back to the United States in 1939, and he spent his remaining years in Hollywood, where he died, virtually unknown and unappreciated in 1946.

Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) was the first dancer to collaborate consciously with de Meyer to produce images that transcended the photographic medium. There is a presence here, the quality of which remains surprising. But the de Meyer’s photographs of L’après-midi d’un Faune are of another order. Here, it is the photographer who moves beyond the given, endowing the images with something more than atmosphere and recorded detail through the boldness of the spatial composition (the arrangement of figure and ground in some of the pictures in a way that suggests the ancient bas reliefs that were the ballet’s inspiration) and the textures that de Meyer achieved not through his usual method of distorting light, which is here flatter and less evocative, but in retouching that gives the photographs a painterly quality. Cyril Beaumont recalled Nijinsky’s quiet, purely polite bows at curtain calls. “In soul and body.” Jean Cocteau wrote, “he was just a professional deformity.... One would never have believed that this little monkey with sparse hair, wearing a skirted overcoat and a hat balanced on top of his head, was the idol of the public. Yet he was, and with good reason. Everything about him was designed to be seen at a distance, in the limelight. On the stage his overdeveloped muscles became slim. His figure lengthened (his heels never touching the ground), his hands became the fluttering leaves of his gestures, and as for his face, it was radiant.” But Nijinsky merges into the design of these photographs of L’après-midi d’un Faune, giving no sign of that radiant personage. Would it have been possible otherwise to detect what must have been a painful state of emotional flux? The perrenial slave, whose sole moments of rebellion appear to have lain offstage in taciturnity, had had a taste of independence as he became master: over a cast of dancers, some music and perhaps himself, in a sense of renewed—if unfulfilled—sexuality as the pursuing adolescent faun. “The Faun,” Nijinsky wrote in his diaries, looking back on the creation of L’après-midi d’un Faune and Jeux, “is me.” Nijinsky has lived in legend, as much for his artistry as for his seductive personality, conferring a pedigree on male dancing and giving new definition to performance. The collaboration with de Meyer has left still another kind of record. “out of a number of words,” as Mallarmé wrote, “poetry fashions a single new word which is total in itself and foreign to the language—a kind of incantation.”

With sincere thanks to:
The Lux Collection, London; John Latham Estate, London; Estate of Maya Deren, New York

Hyperion, München; Poesiförlaget, Stockholm; Eakins Press Foundation, New York.

Baron Adolf de Meyer
Nijinsky, L’Après-Midi d’un Faune 1912
Archival print on Canson® Infinity Baryta Photographique paper

Eakins Press Foundation, New York

Lotte Pritzel
Puppen 1921
Archival print on Canson® Infinity Baryta Photographique paper

Puppen, Rainer Maria Rilke / Lotte Pritzel Hyperionverlag, München

Gustave Courbet
På kanten av stupet (Le Désespéré, The Man Made Mad with Fear) 1843-45

Silver gelatin print, UV-glass, 1997 / 2020

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo

Vaslav Nijinsky
Vid kanten av ett stup. Dagbok 1918-19 1978
Översättning, förord och anmärkningar av Mikael Ejdemyr, Poesiförlaget, Stockholm

Maya Deren & Talley Beatty
A Study in Choreography for Camera - Outtakes 1945
16 minutes, B&W, silent, 4:3 HD Digital file, original format: 16mm film
Maya Deren Estate, New York / Lux, London

John Latham
Speak 1962
10 minutes, Colour, Opt., 4:3 SD Digital file,
original format: 16mm film
John Latham Estate, London / Lux, London



Henri Rousseau
William Hogarth
Alfred Jarry
Erik Satie
Gustave Doré
Gerhard Munthe

Sigbjørn Obstfelder

5 June – 6 July 2020 (Vulg.)

19 MERDRE Ste Fétatoire, super – 22 GIDOUILLE FÊTE DE GIDOUILLE 147 E.P.

We are rarely free, the greater part of the time we live outside ourselves, hardly perceiving anything of ourselves but our own ghost, a colorless shadow which pure duration projects into homogeneous space. Hence [...] we live for the external world rather than for ourselves; we speak rather than think, we ‘are acted’ rather than act ourselves. To act freely is to recover possession of oneself, and to get back into pure duration. Henri Bergson (Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, 1889).

Every Tuesday afternoon, in the offices of the Mercure de France, then the most advanced litterary journal in France, gatherings where hosted by the novelist Rachilde (1860-1953), wife to the magazine’s editor, Alfred Valette (1858-1935). Rachilde and Valette, at the centre of Parisian literary circles, would play an important part in the life of Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) and where among his most loyal friends. Yet when Jarry died, aged thirty-four, they undoubtedly shared the opinion common to his contemporaries: that he was an impossibly obscure and oddly inconsistent author whose works where unlikely to survive. This opinion was not entirely unreasonable; Jarry was «writing ahead of his time,» which means only that his work became easier to appreciate once read in the context of those he had influenced. The reassessment of Jarry’s writing only really gathered pace after the founding of the Collège de ’Pataphysique in Paris 1948, whose researches brought forth a mass of new material relating both to Jarry’s work and to his life.

Gerhard Munthe’s (1849-1929) fairy-tale watercolours from the 1890s are a strange mix of stylized patterns, ornaments, figures and landscapes rendered in a flat style devoid of perspective. The colours are somewhat glaring, and the artist has not balked at juxtaposing sharply contrasting primary hues. Much has been gleaned from Norwegian folk art: patterns on coverlets and tapestries and rosemaling on beer bowls and cupboards. The watercolours where first shown at The Black and White Exhibition which was organised for the first time in Kristiania in the winter of 1893. The idea came from abroad. In France it was called Exposition de blanc et noir. As the name implies the exhibitions showed work in black and white – drawings, illustrations and caricatures – but they also included watercolours. The exhibition generated much interest amongst the public and the press. Morgenbladet raised expectations by claiming that according to knowledgeable sources, Gerhard Munthe’s works would herald the ornamental art of the future. After the success in Kristiania, the watercolours drew much attention in the new Salon du Champ de Mars in Paris (1893). In the years that followed, they where futured in several large exhibitions in Chicago and Munich (1893), Stockholm, Gothenburg and Antwerp (1894), Venice (1895), Berlin (1896), St. Petersburg (1897), Budapest (1898) and in Vienna (1900).

Aside from writing articles in journals and newspapers, Gerhard Munthe expressed his thoughts on art in letters. He is distinctly theoretically and philosophically oriented. His statements can often be unclear, paradoxical and contradictory. This situation probably reflects his dual perspective: as a landscape painter he was a Naturalist; as a decorative artist he was a non-Naturalist. Most noteworthy in Munthe’s theory is that he percieved art as a language: «When a way of thinking develops into a style, then – even if it dies – it lives on as an artistic language owned by humanity for all time; it can be read and used to express whatever you want. A style is a language that can be learnt and used to express one’s own opinion.» Munthe’s originality as an artist relates precisely to his view of style as language. All styles, he claimed, could be valid at all times, and he was justified in using whichever one he wanted – whether Assyrian, Egyptian, Gothic or Rococco. Few artists at the time had as open and unprejudiced a view of art history. On the contrary, it was considered essential to be «a child of one’s time». Munthe did not believe art developed progressively, so he saw no reason to confirm to current trends.

Aloïs Riegl (1858-1905) was one of the greatest modern art historians. The most important member of the so called «Vienna School.» Riegl developed a highly refined technique of visual or formal analysis, as opposed to the iconological method with its emphasis on decoding motifs through recourse to text. Riegl also pioneered understanding of the changing role of the viewer, the significance of non-high art objects or what would now be called visual or material culture, and theories of art and art history, including his much-debated neologism Kunstwollen (the will of art). Munthe’s desire to treat all artistic directions as equal in value harmonises with Riegl’s desire to bring the art of the past into the present and to legitimise a wide range of styles is expressed in a letter: «A style is a way of thinking. Each style expresses a basic human feeling. They are all expressions of contemporary life-values. We all feel the cold grandeur that rests over the Bronze Age.

The instigating wildness of the Celtic, the amourous desire of the Rococco, and so it is for all ages, from Niveh to our own era.» All these life-values were, for Munthe equally usable and valuable. This attitude fully complies with Riegl’s insistence on not introducing subjective opinions about progress and decline into the discussion of style. Munthe was probably the first Norwegian artist to be interested in and to write about abstract art, he percieved abstraction as the most basic of all sciences: «The human spirit was first drawn to the abstract and exact (philosophy and mathematics). Ornament emerged at this time, built upon it [abstract thought], on mankind’s fundamental thinking.» In another of his letters he speaks of geometry as «one of the parents of art. [...] Art became the abstract, the geometrical – from the most ancient vessels with dots and pricks, up to the Babylonians and the Egyptians.»

With his fairy-tale watercolours Gerhard Munthe captured the zeitgeist and his work truly made an impact on a certain young Frenchman; Alfred Jarry, one of the many who gathered around Munthe’s pictures at the Salon. In a short and legendary life he created a unique and large body of work that included plays, novels, poetry, journalism and other less definable speculations and texts. His writings form the essential bridge between the Europeean avant-garde of the 1890s (Symbolism) and those of the Twentieth century (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism). In the last sixty years his influence has scarcely faltered, philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze and Jean Baudrillard have cited his “philosophy” of Pataphysics as prescient. A prelimineray list of his literary admireres would include Guillaume Apollinaire, Antonin Artaud, André Breton, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar, Guy Debord, Witold Gombrowicz, Eugène Ionesco, Stéphane Mallarmé, Alan Moore, Dora Maar, Georges Perec, Jacques Prévert, Jean Ferry, Raymond Queneau, Triztan Tzara, Jean Genet. Wole Soyinka is only one of many to have written versions of Jarry’s most famous play, Ubu Roi. For a 1951 edition, artist and small-press publisher Franciszka Themerson (1907–1988) illustrated virtually every page and rendered Barbara Wright’s translation in calligraphic handwriting. Their version of the play became the most widely disseminated text by Jarry in English. Themerson’s engagement with Jarry persisted for several decades. She went on to design sets, masks, and costumes for the landmark production of the play in 1964 at the Marionetteatern in Stockholm. The Pataphysical method of making negatives do the work of positives (according to the principle of the “identity of opposites”) is clearly visible in Marcel Duchamp’s life and work, who is on record for having said that Jarry was his most important influence (along with Rabelais).

Jarry’s cereer as a poet strictly speaking lasted just two years and resulted in only one collection of poems, Les Minutes de sable mémorial (1894). The first edition of 216 copies is what the French call an «artist’s book»: the typography is carefully calculated, the paper precious, and there are woodcuts in different colours. The text is given plenty of «poetic space», that is to say plenty of white paper to let it breathe. It should be approached slowly, like a series of allegorical illuminations in an old parchment that tell their own secret story. Jarry’s poetic forms in Les Minutes are mostly traditional. He employs alexandrines or octosyllabics, sometimes heterometric lines, rarely the «impair», the line with an odd syllable count which had recently been made famous by Verlaine. There is virtually no free verse, a still more recent invention, for Jarry preferred not to relinquish the magic of fixed forms, rhyme and number (French verse works by counting syllables, including mute «e»s). Nor does the poet borrow from oral expression; on the contrary, Jarry even went so far as to pronounce mute «e»s in everyday conversation. For the eye there is a picture poem, and for the ear, resoundingly assonant metrical prose (as employed by Catulle Mendès before him, in Lieds de France, and Paul Fort after him, in Ballades). The several passages of strictly metred prose are the only novel features as regards form (and have in one instance been translated here into «trochaic prose», a corresponding novelty). Various typographical possibilities are also explored: serif and sanserif titles and sub-titles answer one another, while ideograms conjure up the printing practice of the sixteenth cenrury (following Gourmont’s example in Le Château singulier). Marinetti, his admirer, and Apollinaire, his friend, on being made aware of such aesthetic use of typography, would seek to use it to break with tradition, whereas Jarry was more interested in folklore than in the avant-garde: he was a friend of the Pont-Aven painters, had been first published as an art critic, and now in his poetry he described Gerhard Munthe’s paintings of Norse legends.

Gerhard Munthe’s pictures also struck a cord with the work of Sigbjørn Obstfelder (1866-1900), a pioneer in Nordic lyricism and an avid traveler, visiting Paris and the Mercure de France in 1892. The rhetorical figure that dominates in many of his poems is, gemination, twinning or repetition. That the words are repeated, seems as if the words have revived from death to haunt the living. The most atypical of Munthe’s fairy-tale watercolours is Mørkredd (Afraid of the Dark). In contrast to many of the others, it is not based on a folk tale or an ancient ballad. It has a more modern expression. Four young girls in a nightdress are alone at home. They are spooked by shadows and by the sinister iron stove with a fiery mouth. A monster rears up ferociously from under the floorboards, and strange six-legged figures ambulate along the upper and lower border. The refrain of a folk song underscores the mood. Munthe, might also have been inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s anxiety-ridden and fateful early dramas such as L’intruse (Intruder) and Les Aveugles (The Blind) from 1890. In 1893 Obstfelder published two poems in the newspaper Verdens Gang based on the three fairy-tale watercolours: De tre prinsesser (The Three Princesses), Den friske sang (The Vigorous Song) and Mørkredd (Afraid of the Dark). He, moreover, felt Munthe’s watercolours were related to his own poetry, and he asked the artist to illustrate a poem he had written called Djævlebelgen (The Devil’s Bellows), from 1899.
For all its traditional and folkloric elements, Les Minutes is a typical fin-the-siécle production, recognisably Idealist (in the limited sense of «anti-Naturalist») by its Gothic and fairy-tale motifs, reinforced with Celtic mythology and the Breton landscapes of Jarry’s childhood. The vocabulary is Decadent, full of Latinate compounds, resuscitated etymologies, Rabelaisian and regional words, but also scientific terms taken from botany, entomology, zoology and mathematics. It is in his use of scientific thought and expression that Jarry sought to distinguish his writing from the French literary tradition of his peers. The established Symbolist authors and their sources are plundered by the twenty-year-old for their linguistic beauties and stylistic opportunities. Jarry does not get the tone quite right, however, when he tries to imitate Lautréamont, despite a common interest in science and «severe mathematics», because the characteristic style of Maldoror depends on the hero’s singleminded search for the expression of evil and a wholesale defiance of God, neither of which Jarry pursues systematically. Haldernablou, his homosexual play, is written in a conspicuously borrowed idiom, and although its Prolegomena hit a convincing note the play as a whole may give the impression of being a mere show of style, notwithstanding its autobiographical elements. Paralipomena III is written in a style that echoes Lautréamont’s parody of popular novels, but employed by Jarry to describe a dream that resembles a play by Maeterlinck. The mixture of tones is impossible, since Maeterlinck depends on effect, and Lautréamont on critical distance. The result may set the reader’s teeth on edge, but that is of no importance when mixing elements in a crucible.

Erik Satie (1866-1925) was endowed with a magical imagination, but was devoted to the strictest precision; he was always ready with the keenest of witticisms, but had a natural bent towards mysticism; he was an admirer of plain-chant, but forever on the look-out for new musical forms. His personality went well beyond the field of music, and he has been claimed as a nephew of Lewis Caroll, a younger cousin of Alphonse Allais, Alfred Jarry’s foster-brother, an emulator of the Good Soldier Schweik and a precursor of Ionesco. Satie preferred to present himself as “a man in the manner of Adam (he of Paradise)”; but he did add to his spiritual genealogy by aligning himself with Edgar Allan Poe: “My Humour,” he said, “is reminiscent of Cromwell’s. I am also indebted to Christopher Columbus, as the American spirit has sometimes tapped me on the shoulder, and I have joyfully felt its ironically icy bite.”

In his singular, independent approach to life and art, Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), much like Jarry, was viewed as sui generis. The painter was also a native of Jarry’s hometown, Laval. They were nearly thirty years apart in age and did not meet until 1894 in Paris. Few artifacts survive attesting to their friendship, although they lived together briefly. Of H. Rousseau: there is above all “War (terrifying, she passes . . . ).” With legs outstretched the horror-struck steed stretches its neck with its dancer’s head, black leaves inhabit the mauve clouds, and bits of debris fall like pine cones among the translucent corpses of axolotls attacked by bright-beaked crows.—Alfred Jarry, “Minutes d’art,” 1894. Rousseau’s painting War (La guerre) was the subject of ridicule when it was exhibited in 1894 at the Salon des Indépendants, but it made a significant impact on the twenty-year-old Jarry and inaugurated their friendship. Jarry wrote about the work in two separate articles and also commissioned Rousseau to create a lithograph (his only one) based on the painting. Jarry’s immediate recognition of Rousseau’s talent and their compatibility became the stuff of legend: Apollinaire and others spread apocryphal stories that Jarry “discovered” Rousseau and assigned him the nickname “Le Douanier” (the customs officer).

Jarry’s lifelong interest in the macabre figures in one of his few surviving paintings: Le crocodile aux phantasmes (1894). A melee of grisly creatures and skeletons emerges from the walls and floor of a magician’s study. The appropriation and isolation of existing imagery that would inform Jarry’s book practice is also at play in the painting, inspired by William Hogarth’s (1697-1764) illustrations for Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, Gustave Doré’s engravings for Ludwig Tieck’s tales on Pietro D’Albano, Odile Redon’s monstrous imagery and Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War. The crocodile suspended from the top of the necromancer’s study was a popular element in the eighteenth-century cabinets of curiosity that were assembled by wealthy connoisseurs. In 1903, Jarry famously disparaged works of art of his era by comparing them to stuffed crocodiles nailed to the wall—a dead signifier of wealth and banal taste.

Jarry’s painting has reappeared. The quarterly review Viridis Candela, Le Publicateur du Collège de ’Pataphysique no. 23 informs that it is now on view in the exhibition Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, through September 13, 2020.

Alfred Jarry

Le crocodile aux phantasmes 1894

Oil on board, 18x14cm

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

William Hogarth

Hudibras beats Sidrophel and his man Whacum 1721

Engraving for Samuel Butler’s Hudibras (1684)

Edited and annotated by Zachary Grey, 1744, J. Bentham, Cambridge

Gustave Doré

Wood-engraved illustration, in Ludwig Tieck,

"Pietro d'Abano," Journal pour tous 2, no. 85 1856

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Gerhard Munthe

Mørkredd (Afraid of the Dark) 1892–93

Watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper, 55.4x81.2cm

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway, Oslo

Gerhard Munthe

Trollebotten (In the Giants Lair) 1892–93

Watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper, 78.5x112.9cm

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway, Oslo

Gerhard Munthe

Den onde stemor (the Evil Stepmother) 1892–93

Watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper, 56.4x78.5cm

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway, Oslo

Henri Rousseau

La guerre (War) 1894

Lithography, 42x28cm

L’Ymagier no. 2, Paris, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

Sigbjørn Obstfelder

Fru Ebba Drus! ... 1890

Notebook, 17x12cm

The National Library of Norway, collection of manuscripts, Oslo


Homme de Lettres 1920

Carte de visite de Rachilde 9,5x5,5cm

Librairie Le Feu Follet, Paris

Erik Satie

Reinbert de Leeuw plays Erik Satie – live 1982

Ogives (4) - Pièces froides (6) - Gnossiennes (6)

Sonneries de la Rose+Croix (3) - Gymnopédies (3)

Analog magnetic tape recording, 60 minutes

Original recording from the Royal Concertgebouw, Main Hall, Amsterdam



Svallaug Svalastoga

Georges Rouault

Andrea Tippel

Alfred Jarry

Enrico Baj

Mats B.

Boris Vian

Arild Nyquist

Pierre Bonnard

Gerhard Munthe

Franciszka Themerson

10 January – 16 February 2020 (vulg.)

13 DÉCERVELAGE St Guillotin, médecin - 22 GUEULES St SEXE, STYLITE 147 E.P


It takes a minute to count a minute

and the time spent counting doesn’t count.

Stefan Themerson (1960)

Alfred Jarry

Le crocodile aux phantasmes 1894

Xerox print, 18x14cm

Andrea Tippel

ICH UND SIE ein Roman aus dreibuchstabigen Wörtern 1995

Selbstverlag, Berlin (book and tape recording)

Boris Vian

Passez vos vacances à Cannes 1946

Xerography on carboard, org. Huile sur toile, 55 × 46 cm

In courtesy of the Archives Cohérie Boris Vian, Paris

Enrico Baj 

La Princesse Ira Fuerstenberg von Hohenlohe 1967

Farbige Radierung mit Metallfolie auf japanartigem, weichen Velin, 28,7 x 24,6 cm

Franciszka Themerson

Hieroglyph IV 1979

Felt pen and conté crayon on paper, 29.5 x 21 cm

In courtesy of L'étrangère, London

Gerhard Munthe

Draumkvæde, et digt fra middelalderen 1904

W. C. Fabritius, Kristiania

Georges Henri Rouault

Incantation (Les Réincarnation du Père Ubu) 1929

Heliogravure, etching soft-ground, roulette and aquatint on paper, 11,7 x 7,4 cm

Pierre Bonnard

Alfred Jarry, Almanach Illustré du Père Ubu (xx Siècle) 1901

Éditions du Grand-Chêne, Lausanne

Mats B.

Internationalen, Grisalda 1972

Xerography on paper, 29 ,7 x 21 cm

Svallaug Svalastoga

Harar 1953

Woodcut, handprint on washi, 44 x 32 cm

Arild Nyquist

Jeg Er Jeg 1989

Lithography on paper, 65 x 50 cm



August Strindberg

Knut Ivar Aaser

Rolf Nesch

Martin Sæther

Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim

Artissima, Torino

31 October - 3 November 2019 (Vulg.)

26 HAHA Commémoration du Cure-dent - 1 AS NATIVITÉ DE PANTAGRUEL 147 E.P


Installation view

Santolarosa, Artissima, Torino

Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim

Dada Manifesto by Hugo Ball (1916) Vertically 2016

Music box, sheet music, confetti, box

Rolf Nesch

Untitled (Rolf Nesch) 1958

Metalpressure print on paper

Knut Ivar Aaser / Martin Sæther

Untitled 2019

Mixed print on paper


Huitfeldts  gate 12

0253, Oslo Norway