Variable Stars

Toril Johannessen

From 28.09.14
To 07.12.14

In her work Toril Johannessen (b. 1978) takes inspiration from fields such as philosophy, science, the history of technology, and the history of photography. Her many varied forms of expression share a basic curiosity about how our conception of the world is created.

Women's access to scientific institutions

At the Preus Museum she is showing the project "Variable Stars" (2009). The materiality of the photograph is one of the themes of this exhibition. Another issue Johannessen explores in this work is women's access to scientific institutions. That access began about the same time that photography was adopted as a scientific tool—and sometimes the access was a consequence of photography's new scientific role.

The title "Variable Stars" refers to the theory of measuring distance in space proposed by a woman employed at Harvard College Observatory in 1912. That woman was the source of the theory first drew attention in the established history of science long after she made her discovery. The basis of Johannessen's work is taken from exactly that glass-plate collection at Harvard College Observatory. The work was specially created for Oslo Kunstforening (Oslo Fine Art Society) 

In recent years Toril Johannessen has established an international identity via participation in such events as documenta 13 and the Istanbul Biennial last year.

Common denominator

The exhibitions "Variable Stars" and "For the Sake of Colour" have a common denominator: Toril Johannessen and Vilde Salhus Røed adopt interdisciplinary methods and like to employ various media in the same exhibition.

They have in common an investigative approach to their artistic projects. Both live and work in Bergen, where they are members of the studio cooperative Flaggfabrikken, and they both have a BA in photography and an MA in art.

Variable Stars

Toril Johannessen, Installation at Preus museum, 2014 (photo: Andreas Harvik/Preus museum)