BIRTH – an exhibition by Ane Lan

KNIPSU, Komediebakken 9, Bergen 29.03.2014 20.0027.04.2014 18.00


Opening hours Thursday – Sunday 14 – 18

March 29th – April 27th

Komediebakken 9, Bergen

Julia Kristeva argues in Stabat Mater (1977) for a new discourse around Maternity that expands, investigates, and familiarize itself with the notion of maternal experiences and functions regardless of traditional beliefs based on religious ideals or biological facts. Maternity should not be limited to the terms mother, feminine or woman, says Kristeva, and introduce a definition of the mother as a pure function, where one is held accountable through action. By this Kristeva opens up for an understanding that everyone can fulfill the maternal role.

In the exhibition Birth a male artist takes Kristeva´s word for it and let his artistic alias Ane Lan assume the role of creator and protector of a child. Through video, drawings, photography, odour, sound installation and performance the artist tries out future perceptions of gender and reproduction. Ane Lan defies biology and our culture to indulge himself into the desire and the experience of giving birth to a child.

In the video My Baby this is made possible through modern technology and surrogacy. In a laboratory Ane Lan is dressed as nurse and sings a love song to the child he is about to conceive. The art work senses the outline of an irreversible development of genetic engineering and artificial insemination methods that circumvent established laws of Nature.

The video installation Birth consists of two syncronized projections. One shows Ane Lan giving birth alone in a hospital room. The other one displays a birth with a “real” woman with nurses and doctors present. The solitude of Ane Lan suggest that he is being caught up by our cultural resistance to let go of established truths. Both videos are staged, yet only one is perceived as realistic.

On the wall hangs drawings of infants. They carry the name of each of the seven Church Fathers who introduced Virgin Mary, the virgin birth, and the infant as an important element in Christian theology. According to Kristeva the consolidation of Virgin Mary with Mother, Woman, Feminine as subcategories, is an idealization so deeply established in our culture that it occurs in society as a perpetual dogma used to control women’s lives.

The exhibition alerts impending upheavals when the distant Science of reproduction achieves a breakthrough that shakes the foundations of our existence, while it also can be read as a stance for all genders right to the role of caregiver.

At the opening there will be a one-to-one performance entitled The Hidden Mother.


The exhibition is supported by the Norwegian Arts Council, Fund for sound and imagery, Bergen City, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond and BEK


Ane Lan (b.1972) is educated at the Art Academy in Oslo (2002) and works within the fields of art, performance, music and experimental film/video. He has participated in numerous International exhibitions at institutions such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, Artes, Sao Paulo, The 51st Venice Biennial and the 10th Istanbul Biennial. Ane Lan has also participated in film and video festivals nationally and internationally such as the Rotterdam Film Festival and the International Film Festival in Moscow. In Norway he has held solo shows at the Fotogalleriet in Oslo, Galleri F15 in Moss and Henie Onstad Art Centre in Oslo. He has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally at institutions such as KODE, Sørlandets Art Museum, Sztuki Museum in Poland, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Rosario in Argentina. Ane Lan lives and works in Oslo.

KNIPSU is an artist run gallery in Bergen, Norway that operates through a local based platform and a mobile platform. We aim to introduce International artists to the Bergen art scene, and to be active with a mobile program within the Nordic peripheries and the International art scene. Building up lasting networks with sister organizations KNIPSU set out to establish artistic exchange beyond borders. Our activities appears in the form of exhibitions, events, concerts, workshops, seminars and publications. KNIPSU is run with a DIY approach by Maya Økland and Hilde Jørgensen since 2010. Generously supported by the Municipality of Bergen and the Norwegian Arts Council.