Brief history of the Institute for Colour

The Institute for Colour was formed in 2006 as a reaction to the termination of a subject area of the same name at the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo. In the educational vacuum that ensued, students and tutors proceeded with an autonomous educational programme, which later evolved into a collective art project. This gave rise to exhibitions, workshops, collaborations and the production of fanzines, revolving around issues of autonomy, the role of theory in art practice and art pedagogical models and questions. The group, which now consists of Silje Hogstad, Steffen Håndlykken, Ingrid Lønningdal and Elizabeth Schei, has created a transversal production format where social processes and collective material, rather than personal signatures, is the basis for diverse projects. While the boundaries between the classroom, exhibition space and informal work processes are fluid and without hierarchical divisions, the collective approach allows realist specifications as well as open investigation of the thematic field.

Although the project began in parallel with one of the biggest institutional consolidations and conflicts on the Norwegian art scene (all the art schools under the same institutional model), the Institute for Colour established a reflective and nondogmatic approach to the current debate on autonomy. The project pointed back at the pedagogical expenses of an administrative regime suppressing the academic staff, and towards an independent process of learning and an examination of different pedagogical models. The experiences brought about by these conflicts were later reworked into projects attempting to rethink the notion of autonomy and examining new constellations of art, theory and collaborative practice in an ever expanding field.

- Eivind Slettemeås, Kunst og Prekaritet, a UKS-report published by Torpedo Press, 2008.