Gallery of Employees, 2020

Series of 16 portraits, Jaquard-woven wool, tray frames. Dim. 90 X 55 cm each.

Sixteen Jacquard-woven portraits of technicians, maintenance workers and cleaners employed at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. A tribute to those who work ‘behind the scene’, whose labour is fundamental in creating the conditions for the institution to function.
The employees were involved in a dialogical process, aiming at reaching a mutual agreement on the composition of each portrait. Each participant was invited into a face-to-face conversation loosely based on a set of questions previously handed out to them. Subsequently, a sketch was prepared, which included an outlined depiction of the countenance of the sitter, a motto written in block capitals, as well as written notes and motives referring to events, objects, ideas, and activities that came up during the conversation. The sketches were eventually submitted to the respective employees for approval, thus offering the opportunity to propose or demand changes, prior to final production.
A written agreement stipulated that each employee had the choice between two forms of non-monetary compensation for participating in the project; either the artist would make himself available to assist them during one of their shifts, or alternatively to fulfil, to the best of his abilities, any other task, commission, errand, or service they may request, for a duration equal to that of the antecedent conversation.
The portraits will be offered as a donation to the institution. If refused, the net profit of possible future sales will be equally shared between the artist and the sitters.
The project unfolded as slow, dedicated and humanising points of contact parallel to the polarising public press and social media exposure of asymmetrical power relations between leadership, professors, students and staff. It aimed at exploring and activating forms of subjectivity - and relations between them - that respected, without being reduced to, the social roles prescribed by the institution.

Participants: Marianne Kristin Fjeld (Seksjonssjef service, brukerstøtte og infrastruktur), Emil Gustafsson (Driftstekniker), Vidar Iversen, Kaja Glenne Lund (Lysmester), Abas Ali Malik Lunde (Lærling IT), Anita Nygård (Renholder), Oddvar Røsten (Førstekonsulent), Annika Isaksson Pirtti (Rådgiver, utstillingskoordinator), Sigurd Schiøth (Konsulent IT), Nan Seng Ngin Thanhtun (Renholdsperatør), Tom Trøbråten (Verksmester, AV-utlån), Tone Kristin Veisten (Teamleder renhold), Julie Søbo (Renholder, ekstrahjelp), Nicholas Kristoffer Fox (Driftstekniker), Ove Lidvard Gjøsdal (Driftstekniker) and Unni Luqman (Arkivar).

Read also:
- Those I May See Again, 2020
- Acknowledgements, 2020
- Eyes, 2020