Obsessive pursuits and private universes figure prominently in “Down Here” at the Bergen Kunsthall. Anri Sala’s “Nocturne” contrasts a pair of young men in Lille, one tending a large collection of tropical fish, the other haunted by his clandestine work in the Balkans War. Miranda July’s “The Amatueurist” features a slightly off-kilter researcher discussing her relationship with a captive woman, possibly her alter-ego, who she communicates with via a video link and a set of numbers. And Kulig Ataman’s “The Four Seasons of Veronica Read” follows the title characters delight as she talks about and tends to her collection of Amaryllis flowers. I had seen this two years ago at the last Documenta, but had forgotten how fresh it seemed there; a second viewing reveals no signs of age.

Next door at the Bergen Art Museum, Ataman’s four-screen aesthetic fares less well in a survey of the work of Jane and Louise Wilson. With the three of the four video works sharing the same four-channel format and conceptual strategy, an architectural investigation of a now disused site of government and/or military operations, the pieces seem a bit leaden and interchangeable. Only “Dreamtime,” which documents a Russian rocket launch escapes this by virtue of its linear narrative and the fact that the large military object in question, the rocket, actually does something.

In case you were wondering what Magne Furuholmen, the keyboard player from a-ha, is up to these days, it includes producing some of the most ill-conceived public artwork I have seen in a long time; this beauty, located perilously close to a UNESCO World Heritage site, also produces steam occasionally in a vain attempt to integrate itself into its surroundings.

- Ed Osborn [Saturday, October 23rd, 2004]



From the editors