While attending the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo from 1989 to 1993, Ole Jørgen Ness developed a range of different artistic personae. This was in reaction to the academy’s strictly monodisciplinary setup, which created problems for those who wanted to explore new techniques or work on crossdisciplinary art.
Ness works on complex installations, usually with drawing as the predominant medium and video as an auxiliary element. Opus Osiris, however, is a pure video installation. The work consists of seven monitors arranged as an arc. Each monitor features the portrait of a man, who is in fact the artist himself. “Welcome to Opus Osiris, a discussion programme for the contemporary art of today,” says the artist. He introduces himself as the host and presents the show’s panel, which consists of six people, each of whom is an alter ego of Ness himself: the primitivist Urban Ghadtspa, the surrealist Jøgen Jøgner Nexi, the symbolist Gustav Greigel, the installation artist Jon Egil Askeir, the spiritualist Nemo, and the minimalist Georg Jörgens. The debate addresses such issues as subject, identity, and authenticity in regard to the role of the artist. The discussion transpires in a serious and relatively calm fashion. Each participant is allowed to convey their viewpoints without interruption, while reactions are expressed through body language, gestures, and facial expressions. The discussion then concludes with the participants voicing their opinions on political art. The programme presents the fictitious personae in a serious and thoughtful manner throughout, highlighting the media’s crucial role in setting the frame for public discourses on art.
Text: Eva Klerck Gange
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0