The Triangles

Photo: Silje Hogstad/Preus museum

A flat triangular shape, more specifically a pink triangle, was used during  the Second World War and in concentration camps serving as a signifier for gay men and sex offenders. Different colours were used to categorise various kinds of so-called deviates or unwanted individuals. For instance, lesbians and other ‘antisocial’ individuals received black triangles.

Numerous art works and monuments have been made after the war — and variations used within queer movements as well as activism — as attempts to retrieve the symbol.

The triangles on the façade of Magasin A were made for ventilating the former grain silo. Although this function is undeniably detached from the context above, multiple layers of meaning are embedded in this artwork and the way in which it was made, not to mention its vicinity and the history of the building (property of the Norwegian Armed Forces). The edifice itself is also strictly ordinanced and carefully preserved, while simultaneously functioning as the national museum for photography and now part of this architectural installation.

The triangles are lit from inside the perforated bricks of the wall, between cemented and locked-off areas of the building and what we call public space. It’s a gap we have wanted to approach and modify since we first inspected the building in 2021.

 

The project is part of the collaboration between Karmaklubb* and Preus Museum on the occasion of Queer Culture Year 2022 and the exhibition “Over the Rainbow”, led by guest curator Hilde Herming. The collaboration has taken several forms; a selection of archival photographs is on display as part of the exhibition, hybrid events including Drag, Burlesque, clubbing and discursive content. Additionally, we have developed several new works and research with the ‘museum through a queer lens’ as point of departure, including the film Queering the Museum  Preus, developed with Drag Academic and artist Cassie Brødskive, Drag activist Frida Marida and Cloudberry, in addition to the site-specific installation, The Triangles.

Perhaps this collaborative process could be considered a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, a total artwork, over 18 months in development, from the first discussions to actually changing the museum’s collection, contributed to the curatorial methodologies as well as stronger focus on representation and visibility. For Karmaklubb*, working with Preus Museum has become a substantial chapter of the Queering the Museum initiatives, a series of site-specific research projects executed at various museal institutions in recent years.

 

Light is not only the premise of photography; this work will also be made available for the public during the walk Lys i mørket (“Light in the Dark”), 22 September 2022, and will remain in place throughout the year.

 

Produced by Tine Semb / Karmaklubb* for Preus Museum — Norway’s National Museum for Photography — for Queer Culture Year 2022 and the exhibition “Over the Rainbow”. Curator: Hilde Herming. The project is supported by The Fritt Ord Foundation.

 

Appreciation and credits

Hilde Herming, initiator and curator of “Over the Rainbow”, Preus Museum, currently Curator and Manager, The Women’s Museum / Anno Museum, Kongsvinger

Ingri Østerholt and Pål Henrik Ekern, Preus Museum, Horten

Knut Wittingsrud and Nilsen Elektro, Horten for installing, supervising and in general providing splendid support throughout this warm collaboration

Ole Stormarken, light consultant and inspection, pre-phase

Therese Svartsund, Fortification Manager, Karljohansvern

Siri Hoem, Department of Cultural Heritage at The Norwegian Defense Estates Agency

Silje Rønneberg Hogstad, documentation

Glenn Ostling, English proof reading

 

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Karmaklubb* has for several years worked on a series of museal experiments and encounters, ‘Queering the Museum’, where the aim is to challenge — with a queer approach — the various hierarchies and authorities such institutions inhabit. Queering Preus Museum: The work to queer the Preus Museum is in process and will emerge in a variety of projects and contexts this year.

Karmaklubb* is a nomadic queer club concept and conversational platform, hosting club evenings and nights, curatorial work, screenings, artist talks, panels, concerts, performances of various sorts, the art of drag, wine tastings, and sometimes food. Karmaklubb* is also an international research hub and a publishing house, the IGWTLI publishing. Karmaklubb* is a celebration of good things and is run by Tine Semb.

Title: Trekantene / The Triangles (2022)

Artist: Karmaklubb* (Tine Semb)

Location: Outdoor, façade of Magasin A at Karljohansvern, Horten

Duration: 22 September–31 December 2022