You Don’t Look Me in the Eyes

Bjørka exhibition ‘You Don’t Look Me in the Eyes’ at Oslo Negative (23 Sept. – 16 Oct. 2022). 

A dark basement, once occupied by the library; a place of knowledge, accessible to all regardless of class or economic status, is an interesting starting point to reflect on the consequences of a worldwide focus on unending growth, profit, power, and notions of success. The works presented by the 23 Bjørka members, converge to conceptualize meanings of alienation, whether through subject, approach, aesthetic, or form, and to question the implicit rules of a world defined by money.

The exhibition – composed of brief and fragmentary impressions, built around elements of atmosphere and tone – brings together four interwoven themes. The first, Follow the Money, focuses on real or illusory versions of capitalism, telling a story through Oslo’s architecture (demolished, lost, empty, or bought up by commercial actors), alongside geographically faraway, yet economically interconnected places.

The second part, Solitude, gathers together distinct layers of loneliness and isolation, and considers their implications. The third part, Narratives on Nature, reflects on the historical objectification of the natural world and the resulting repercussions ‘we’ must now face today. And finally, Hope and Beyond, serves as an attempt to look past the realm of money, to seek joy and richness in contemplation of simple moments. The only eyes you will see at the exhibition will be those of the other people you encounter.

Artists: Terje Abusdal / Katharina Barbosa / Linda Bournane Engelberth / Adrian Bugge / Brian Cliff Olguin / Siri Ekker Svendsen / Chris Harrison / Jason Havneraas / Ezra Hollup / Riitta Ikonen & Karoline Hjorth / Preben Holst / Rebecca Shirin Jafari / Dalia Karg / Christina Leithe H. / Katharine MacDaid / Giulia Mangione / Dag Nordbrenden / Annelen Røe / Ulla Schildt /  Marit Silsand / Marianne Toppe / Tor Simen Ulstein / Istvan Virag

Text/Curator: Sofia M. Ciel

BJØRKA | Founded in 1998, the Bjørka collective is a workshop and studio community of camera-based artists situated in Oslo. The idealistic collective is member based, and everyone has access to darkrooms, printers and scanners, and a selection of studio spaces. Over the years, a unique expertise in analogue photography and new digital techniques have been supported and developed by Bjørka members, and among former and new members you will find some of Norway’s most renowned photographic artists.

Photo documentation: Istvan Virag