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Stiftelsen 3,14 (Foundation 3,14)

Foundation 3,14 is a non-profit art institution centrally located in the heart of Bergen, Norway, almost exclusively working with international exhibitions and partnerships, with an emphasis on contemporary art beyond the western discourse.

Foundation 3,14 is committed to knowledge production, presentation and interpretation of the work of innovative artists in all media, promoting creativity and artistic exploration.
With our program we aim to reflect upon the complex nature of international contemporary art and different contemporalities, served to a diverse audience.
Foundation 3,14's exhibitions, presentations, educational activities, strive to investigate the dynamic and provocative nature of contemporary art, Foundation 3,14 presents and questions the present for the future. The focus includes presenting artist with established and reknown voices, recognizing the work of emerging artists, placing different media into new and meaningful contexts and defining alternative movements and endeavours.

Foundation 3,14 seeks to be a vital cultural resource for Bergen and to serve constituencies in all of Norway and beyond. Overall, Foundation 3,14 aims to provide an engaging environment for artists; to inform, inspire and challenge its audiences; to actively attract new audiences and to be an accessible resource that elevates the role of art in contemporary culture.  


The small staff consists of:
Malin Barth (Director)
Monique Mossefinn (Public relations / information / visual communication / coordinator AiR Iran)
Gitte Sætre (Debate / communication)

3,14 has visions on globality and wills to globalize
by Malin Barth

I, like Lucy Lippard[1], think that the most exciting art might still be buried in social energies not yet recognized as art, and that art is the perfect implement for exploring what is to come. The vital core of
contemporary art is set against the various dominant political actions worldwide, and is engaged with connotation through its intermediation with its surroundings. The creation of conceptual and formal inquiries merged in response to selected socio- and geo-political phenomena signifies distinctive and enticing art!

3,14 has been continuously supporting the international and responding in a variety of ways to different contemporalities. We attempt to focus on the pressing questions of our time in openly formulated art projects. Quality and relevance in art can be found anywhere. Here I would like to quote Malian Prof. Dr. Mamadou Diawara[2] when he says that “There is no prerogative in art. There is time and opportunity, time and discovery, time and knowledge, time and achievement…. There is no eternal monopoly on anything at all.”

Contemporary art emerged as a Western phenomenon. It occurred in the West and was controlled from the West, but it is now not necessarily the case that the most exiting and relevant contemporary art is made solely in the West. The new geography of contemporary art production is in an exciting process of erasing the previous monopoly held by the West. It is within this expended field that we primarily engage: an area of attention rather uniquely occupied by 3,14 from the late 1980s well into the 2000s, but now to a greater extent shared with others. 3,14 was breaking new ground by challenging the status quo and diversifying from the mainstream in the art world by reacting early to the result and consequences of the global expansion of contemporary art. We aim to offer room for involvement, with important contributions by artists from around the world. This encourages a greater range of artistic practices to become instrumental in developing an artistic discourse whilst also meaning that a wider spectrum of artwork can be experienced by new audiences. We actively pursue emerging artists and their recent developments as well as feature leading artists and their important contributions to the art scene.

In society, the global and the local are now much more intertwined on multiple levels than was the case a few years ago. The enormous flow of information at great speed across nations is unprecedented in history. This conceivably leads to greater insight, understanding and appreciation cross-culturally. It is within this space of transformation, frequently articulated through change in the status of international contemporary art production that I try to envision a world yet to come that will validate a repositioning.

For twenty-five years, the Foundation has focused on the diversity and complexity of the visual experience. This we have attempted by presenting original and talented artists from all over the world. Further, we work with developing the arrangement of art as a vehicle and catalyst for critical reflection and communication of a contemporary and increasingly global world. The exhibition program at 3,14 presents an extended international art scene by aiming to create a platform where ideas and problems find an open forum through cross-disciplinary activities. We aim to initiate and participate in relevant international discourses and enter into an exchange with other international institutions, thus broadening the discussion we want to bring forth locally. As the Artistic Director, I also try to work with a high degree of flexibility in creating our program and in addressing our audience. Further, I strategically adopt relatively short planning horizons in order to be able to move swiftly and present the latest artistic responses to the most current issues with cutting-edge practices often followed by in-depth discussions. We work continuously to develop an open space that facilitates new readings, formations, and reformulations of meaning in art. Our emphasis is on creating experiences through the connection between the art, the space, and the viewer, as well as with the way the individual viewer is inscribed with meaning through their negotiation with their surroundings. 3,14 aims to occupy one hour of a viewer’s time rather than one thousand square meters of space. We have worked hard to make our modest and intricate space encompass a large variety of projects within a coherent exhibition program.

The location has been used in numerous ways, becoming the setting for: solo or thematic exhibitions that revise artistic issues and discourses; site-specific projects; the presentation of interdisciplinary projects derived from relationship between contemporary art and other areas of knowledge; and the opening of a dialogue with pupils and students. At 3,14 we present all artistic mediums, but have a special focus on works of new media and installation art, as well as on artistic action and performance work.

Contemporary art has benefited from performance, photography, video and other new technologies that do not depend on the longstanding tradition of Western art history. Modernism and its dogmatic search for one universal truth – for the essence – contributed to further exclusion. It guarded Western art from being diluted by “the other” and disregarded any art production that did not conform to the then prevailing discourse. Nowadays, the art scene is more plural with each discourse having a wider range. The rise of new media and performance within visual art, and their burgeoning historical lineages, has necessitated the inclusion of further, newer, not exclusively Western discourses, tending to the gap that Modernism exacerbated.

A truly global art scene brings with it a challenge for institutions. As one exhibits art produced in potentialy radically different contexts from those in which it is being viewed, one is predominantly reliant on local audiences when exhibiting it. It of course raises the issue of bridging the local audience with a foreign culture. How is contemporary art currently understood in institutions located in altogether different cultures? We take our audience seriously, inviting them to view significant works of art from different times and places. There is not a “discovery” of an absolute truth, but rather a participation in formulating a structure that will enter into dialogues. The concept of the viewer as a collaborator in simultaneous processes of otherness and identification incorporates the possibility of multiple meanings and ways of seeing and reading the artwork. This is a reflection of quite a complex and fragmented view of reality. We also carefully consider the role of our written statements presented in the institution as an aspect of the aforementioned proposal. We opt for an intermediate position between lengthy didactic arguments that offer a structure for the exhibition script as displaced from the art themselves, and the idea that “art speaks for itself”, ignoring contextual, historical, and personal factors that affect the reception and significance of the works. I attempt to sum up a curatorial intention without pretending to “explain” or fix the meaning of the works, enabling viewers to construct their own meanings through their own perceptual acts. Our educational program is based on creating dialogues through art, nurturing a process of interpretation and understanding in a context that validates and facilitates both individual experiences and collective dialogue and analysis, in doing so challenging the preconceived and fixed narratives. 3,14 offers a space dedicated to self-directed didactic support, facilitating a social encounter resulting in the active construction of knowledge and the promotion of learning and aesthetic pleasure.

Contemporary art is not uniform throughout the world, and it often makes sense to view and interpret it in relation to the different cultures and their specific politics. It is evident that art and politics will continue to interact or contradict each other into the foreseeable future. It seems that the future of art in the twenty-first century will be decided in those parts of the world that are now expanding or that have not represented a major voice in modern history. Institutions are thus compelled to respond to a shift in the art discourses and to develop a new cartography of cultures. I consider the institutionalization of international contemporary art on a global scale a great and exciting challenge. Over the last two decades, with the rapid globalization of the Western art scene, we must also aim at emphasizing the role of local production and its local relevance. The question is whether international contemporary art manages to represent local culture and, if so, to what extent. The internationalization of the mainstream art scene presents the risk of conformity and homogenization of the art production as a whole. As numerous institutions will be claiming their share in this new geography of world cultures, the local specificities of the various localities and contexts must, and will have to, secure a new meaning in the face of our globalized world. Our future might also depend on local relevance, regardless of the global era.

3,14 is committed to maintaining and handling the challenges of this developing landscape as we aim to once again pioneer in programming at the edge of the ever-changing global debates. It may turn out that we must find not one, but several solutions.


[1] Lucy Lippard (1907-1992) is an internationally known feminist art historian, conceptual art theorist, and curator from the United States. She was among the first writers to recognize the “dematerialization” at work in conceptual art.

[2] Mamadou Diawara, Prof. Dr. phil., is professor for anthropology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, as well as founding director of Point Sud, Bamako, Mali. He is member of the Council of the International African Institute, London.