Momentum Biennale fire curator in Norway, artists withdraw in protest
The eleventh edition of Moss, Norway’s Momentum Biennale, opened last weekend without its curator and without the support of a number of artists originally scheduled to participate, The arts journal reports. Last month, organizers fired event curator Theo-Mario Coppola, citing professional misconduct by Coppola that caused “irreparable damage” to the curator’s relationship with the team. Rather than hiring a new curator, the organizers, under the leadership of director Dag Aak Sveinar, went ahead and presented the biennial that Coppola had organized, titled “House of Commons” and comprising a reader, a site Web and a series of events. like a number of new commissions.
The decision to go ahead with the event drew accusations of ‘predation and appropriation’ from Coppola, who claimed they were subjected to unfair working conditions and insufficient education. in terms of technical preparation and installation, and thus encountered difficulties in coordinating international projects. At least seven participating artists withdrew or requested the withdrawal of their works, including Italian multidisciplinary artist Marinella Senatore and Polish painter Karol Radziszweski, both of whom were tasked with presenting new works there.
Senatore said Momentum organizers ignored his emails and produced his installation without his approval. “Even when I asked for my withdrawal, they persisted in showing my work, even though I never signed a contract,” she said. “This is unacceptable.” Radziszweski was also surprised to learn that the organizers were planning to display his work without his approval. “I have never experienced anything like this in my life,” he said. “A biennial suppressing a curator and proceeding despite numerous requests to suppress my work.”
Besides Senatore and Radziszweski, Apparatus 22, Nina Canell, Camilo Godoy, Délio Jasse and Maria Noujaim have asked to step down or suspend their work until Coppola is reinstated. The momentum, however, appears to have gathered momentum and continues at a steady pace. “We have an ethical and contractual obligation to artist-practitioners and our community to do so,” the organizers said in a statement. “We also have similar obligations towards our employees and collaborators. “