Image courtesy of The Willem de Kooning Foundation / ARS, New York/BONO Oslo
Restless Gestures. Works from the Hubert Looser Collection
The National Gallery, Oslo
From 23 June 2017 to 7 January 2018
This year’s exhibition program in the National Gallery has been devoted to American art. First in line was the exhibition “ The Great Graphic Boom”, which focused on prints and graphic art. This will now be followed up by “Restless Gestures. Works from the Hubert Looser Collection”, which present paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints made by some of the twentieth century’s most acclaimed artists.
Image courtesy of John Chamberlain/ARS New York/BONO, Oslo
This summer, the new exhibition “Restless Gestures. Works from the Hubert Looser Collection” will be shown at the National Gallery. The exhibition gives visitors the chance to see works by some of the most renowned artists of the twentieth century, such as Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Arshile Gorky, David Smith, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, Sean Scully, Brice Marden, and Rebecca Horn. These are artists who are rarely on display in Norway and who are hardly to be found in Norwegian collections.
Image courtesy of Arshile Gorky / ARS New York / BONO, Oslo
The nearly fifty works being shown at the exhibition stem primarily from the collection owned by the Swiss businessman and philanthropist Hubert Looser, a collection that is regarded as among the finest private ones in Europe. Acquired over the span of forty years, the Hubert Looser Collection focuses mainly on surrealism, abstract expressionism, minimalism, and arte povera. Select parts of the collection have now been donated to the Kunsthaus Zürich, where they will become available to the public from autumn 2020. To provide a local context, the current exhibition will also display a handful of related Norwegian works culled from the National Museum’s own holdings.
Image courtesy of Yayoi Kusama
The “Restless Gestures” exhibition at the National Gallery explores how highly divergent views on an artist’s gestures have been instrumental in shaping certain important isms and movements from 1930 until the present day. The word “gesture” is often associated with symbolic actions, but in this context the term refers to the artist’s physical actions when encountering the work.
Image courtesy of David Smith / ARS, New York / BONO, Oslo
Organized in four chapters, the exhibition shows how different ideas about artistic gestures helped inform surrealism, abstract expressionism, minimalism, and lastly also abstract art from more recent times. The narrative begins with the doodling gestures found in David Smith’s surrealist drawings, before continuing with the violent brushstrokes that typified the abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning. Via the minimalists’ attempts at eradicating all trace of any physical gesture, as exemplified by Ellsworth Kelly, the exhibition ends with works by Cy Twombly and Al Taylor, where tell-tale signs of the artist’s hand set up poetic, enigmatic, and witty narratives about everything from mushrooms to dogs answering the call of nature in Montmartre.