Reichsausstellungen - web.jpg


Bergen Kunstforening, Bergen Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø

As a national institution with intentions to bring Art to the People, Riksutstillinger has existed since 1953. Since Norway is vast country with few urban centers, the social democratic idea was to create equality through touring exhibitions offering cultural input for all citizens. In 2003 the institution celebrated its 50th anniversary by organizing a large exhibition. Curator Jonas Ekeberg invited Norwegian artists to contexualize Riksutstillinger - their history and their slogan «Art to the People».

Since 1945 the word REICH («empire», «realm») has been taken out of all German institution names and erased from the vocabulary, due to connotations to the 3rd Reich. Interestingly the German word ethymologically origins from scandinavian “rike”, which is uncritically used in most national institutions throughout Scandinavia.

Ramberg simply translated the name of the institution from Norwegian into German; REICHSAUSTELLUNGEN. For the exhibition, he developed a site-spesific wall-to-wall painting consisting of that one German word. The letters were painted in fire red on olive background, measuring approx. 37 by 7 meters. The action was repeated as in 3 museums in Norway within a year.

The work emphasizes the conflict of a so called social-democratic institution using ethomology from an empire in their logo. Riksutstillinger furthermore rejects any local interference in their programming; a selection of FineArt is distributed from the Capital to the rural districts. The State defines what The People need, the art is selected by a small urban elite, and the institution executes.

In 2005 the institution was swallowed by the National Museum of Art.