Populism in Oslo

By Gavin Jantjes


At the half way mark in June, the bright yellow visitor counter by Haaning / Superflex had clocked 16300. As the summer temperature headed toward thirty degrees and tourists sought cool interiors, the flow of visitors to the exhibition remained steady. This reception by the people of Oslo and tourists to the city was encouraging considering that the city had a huge selection of other cultural activities on offer because of the national centennial celebrations taking place throughout the summer. This is a good sign that the subject of populism was something the people of Norway wanted to discuss. Most visitors have taken the tabloid newspaper back home with them to continue the information exchange at home and The Populism Reader is sold out. The press, radio and TV have been complimentary and the talks and performances around the exhibition have been well attended. The installations by Dias & Riedweg, Sarah Morris and Jakob Boeskov received particular attention and Memory Bucket by Jeremy Deller kept visitors in suspense. With a national election on the horizon, many in Norway who have experienced the exhibition will see the strategies of the populist politician played out in real life, emphasising art's claim to reflecting reality. As more people realise the importance of this subject to the evolution of culture, they will hopefully seek out the catalogue and The Populism Reader to remind them of how artists focussed their mind on populism. The final total of visitors on the last day was 25057.