The Fotogalleriet Foundation is the longest-operating institution in the Nordic countries and the only kunsthalle in Norway focusing on art photography. The foundation is concerned with problematizing photographic art and visual culture production and critically contributing to discourses around current image production. At the core of its mandate, the foundation works for a more balanced representation in the art field and society through collaboration with central, socially engaged organizations.
The Norwegian daily Dagbladet, on 25 July 1977, reported the newly established institution with a group of founders consisting of photographer and medicine student Dag Alveng, photographer and editor Vidar Askland, journalist and bookshop manager Bjørn Høyum, children’s pedagogue, author, translator, and journalist Gry Martinsen, photographer Tom Martinsen, social worker, and photographer Anne Thurman-Nielsen, photographer Jamie Parslow, photographer, and editor Tom Sandberg, in addition to more loosely connected members of the group Øyvind Hagen, Frode Holand, and Per Berntsen. Fotogalleriet co-founder Tom Sandberg (1953–2014) was the subject of a major retrospective at MoMA PS1 in New York in 2006, and a book about his pivotal work was released by Aperture in 2022, edited by Bob Nickas. His work remains in the collections of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, as well as in public and private collections, including those of Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Fotogalleriet co-founder Dag Alveng (b. 1953) is one of Norway’s foremost and most significant photographic artists. He is represented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York and has had several large exhibitions in Norway and abroad.
Ahead of its time in the country in terms of research and presentation to the local audiences, Fotogalleriet started as a peer-to-peer, interdisciplinary initiative to foster a creative epicenter for innovative photographic practices at the intersection of Norwegian and international artistic relevance to analyze and challenge the rapidly growing nature of a field vexed by technological and aesthetic shifts.
The Fotogalleriet Foundation was early on labeled a “pustehull” (a place to breathe) by the local press. In five decades of the foundation’s history, presentations of trailblazers Diane Arbus, Bente Geving, Thomas Hirschhorn, Kåre Kivijärvi, Amar Kanwar, August Sander, Fin Serck-Hanssen, and Ellisif Wessel happened early. More recent solo presentations have included Andreas Angelidakis, Bouchra Khalili, Dora García, Daisuke Kosugi, Brittany Nelson, and Julie Poly. Today, the institution still aims to be a place where to take time to reflect on our times through a variety of artistic expressions.
In the 2000s, the Norwegian paper Morgenbladet described Fotogalleriet’s work with young artists as a redefinition of the photographic canon. Throughout the institution’s history, Fotogalleriet has actively aimed to be a stepping stone for young artists and a platform for mediating new ideas from the international and local fields. It hosted the first solo exhibitions of artists Ida Ekeblad, Ann Christine Eek, Matias Faldbakken, Eline Mugaas, Dag Alveng, and Maria Pasenau in Norway.
The institution focuses on new and radical productions within and outside its main premises in Møllergata 34, challenging existing ideas of art and its social responsibility.
Fotogalleriet’s longest-running collaborative partner is FFF (The Norwegian Association of Fine Art Photographers). With FFF, the institution shares a long and intersecting history of mutual support, shared initiatives and governance, and mediation of photography as a free personal tool of self-expression.
Through its programs and institutional initiatives, Fotogalleriet has worked closely, collaborated, and launched novel initiatives with neighboring institutions such as Agenda X, VEGA Scene, Masahat (Arab Culture in Exile), DKS (The Cultural Schoolbag), Kulturtanken, Oslo Art Guide, Oslo Art Weekend, Oslo Fusion International Film Festival, Oslo Kunstforening, the Norwegian Festival of Literature, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo World Music Festival, TrAP, The Art Academy (at The Oslo National Academy of the Arts), The Norwegian Theater (Det Norske Teatret), and Queer World.
The Fotogalleriet Foundation is imbued in local, national, and international networks. Understanding the role of photography in its social sphere is a core part of the institution’s mandate, inscribed in the organization’s sisterhood.
Since 2022 Fotogalleriet has been part of FUTURES, a leading European network of photography institutions, including CAMERA (Centro Italiano per la Fotografia), Centre Photographique Rouen Normandie, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Der Greif in Munich, Photo Museum of Antwerp, FOTODOK in Utrecht, Fotofestiwal Lodz, Fotograf 07 in Prague, Fotografska Udruga Organ Vida in Zagreb, ISSP in Riga, PhotoEspaña in Madrid, PhotoIreland, Photo Romania Festival, Bienal Fotografia do Porto, Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest, Void in Athens.
In 2013 the Fotogalleriet Foundation co-founded the initiative Creative Neighbourhood with 0047, FFF, and UKS, later joined by Kunsthall Oslo. Creative Neighbourhood mapped the city’s geography of Oslo and the movement of cultural institutions and artists to propose more sustainable development and opportunities within the cultural field, architecture, and infrastructure to envision a more daring, functional, and artist-driven city in its future development.
As a part of the national network The Association of Norwegian Kunsthalles, the Fotogalleriet Foundation contributes to work to better the conditions for art institutions in Norway together with Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall, Kunsthall Grenland, Kunsthall Kristiansand, Kunsthall Oslo Kunsthall Stavanger, Kunsthall Trondheim, Oslo Kunstforening, The 3,14 Foundation, Trafo Kunsthall, Tromsø Kunstforening, and ROM.
The Fotogalleriet Foundation is also part of the Oslo Open’s reference group together with Astrup Fearnley Museum, Atelier Nord, Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, FFF, Kunstnernes Hus, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, The Association of Norwegian Sculptors, Notam, Fellesverkstedet, NOTAM, The Norwegian Drawing Center – Tegnerforbundet, and UKS.
Through DCA— The French national network of contemporary art centers and The First European Assembly of Contemporary Art Centers The Fotogalleriet Foundation has worked with European artistic institutions to develop a network of art centers which is established in a large area including Western Europe, Scandinavia, southern Europe, and Eastern Europe. Core international Collaborators included ADKV in Germany, the CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo Museum in Spain, and Casa Da Cerca in Portugal.
International collaboration for exhibition productions has included sister organizations Salonul de proiecte in Bucarest, Netwerk Aalst in Belgium, and CAP Saint-Fons (Centre d’art de Saint-Fons) in Lyon.
The Fotogalleriet Foundation is constantly open to expanding its network. Do you want to work with us? Reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org
PAST PROJECTS GRANTORS
Acción Cultural Española
Nordic Culture Point
IASPIS (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee)
OCA —Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
The Arts Council Norway
The Italian Cultural Institute
The Fritt Ord Foundation
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Fotogalleriet operational funding comes from The Ministry of Culture and Equality. Additionally, the Norwegian Photographic Fund provides support and the Oslo City.
FORMER ARTISTIC DIRECTORS
Stephanie von Spreter, 2011–2014; 2015–2018
(Research Fellow, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø)
Kjersti Solbakken, 2014–2015
(Artistic Director, Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo)
Leif Magne Tangen, 2009
(Director, Tromsø Kunstforening)
Susanne Østby Sæther, 2008
(Curator of Photography and New Media, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden)
Ida Kierulf, 2005–2008
(Chief Curator, Kunstnernes Hus)
Eivind Furnesvik, 2002-2004
(Founding Director, STANDARD [OSLO])
Hilde Maisey, 2001
(General Manager, TrAP, Oslo)
Ole John Aandal, 1996–2000
Eva Klerck Gange, 1994–1996
(Curator, The National Museum, Oslo)
Hanne Holm Johnsen, 1992-1994
(Senior Curator, The Norwegian National Museum for Photograph, Preus, Horten)