Anne Szefer Karlsen's picture
Jannik Abel

Anne Szefer Karlsen

Professor, Course Director MA Curatorial Practice
  • E-mailanne.szefer.karlsen@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 73 62+47 97118482
  • Visitor Address
    Møllendalsveien 61
    5009 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7800
    5020 Bergen
Academic article
  • Show author(s) (2016). Anarchism, education and compromise: Voices from montevideo. Afterall. 118-125.
  • Show author(s) (2017). Humans of the Institution.
Reader opinion piece
  • Show author(s) (2020). Selvinnsikt er kuratorens viktigste verktøy. Klassekampen.
  • Show author(s) (2017). Faktisk, faktisk, faktisk, faktisk er det et kommunikasjonsproblem. Bergens Tidende.
Book review
  • Show author(s) (2023). Laura Lima – Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Artforum International.
  • Show author(s) (2023). Gunvor Nervold Antonsen - Kunstnernes Hus. Artforum International.
Non-fiction book
  • Show author(s) (2019). Ingrid Lønningdal - 10. Teknisk Industri AS.
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
  • Show author(s) (2021). Remembering Is Forgetting. Unless It Creates Change. 4 pages.
Museum exhibition
  • Show author(s) (2021). Experiences of Oil.
  • Show author(s) (2017). "Stofflig nærhet" i utstillingshefte for Ingrid Lønningdal "Grooves and Ridges", Trøndelag senter for samtidskunst 16.08-10.09.2017, redaktør Anne Szefer Karlsen.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator, editor, writer and educator. They is Professor of Curatorial Practice and programme director for MA Curatorial Practice at the Art Academy, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen (2015–2027), and was Senior Adviser and Head of Research for Bergen Assembly (2018–2020) and Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway (2008–2014).

Szefer Karlsen is teaching and lecturing in formal and informal education, such as: at Goldsmiths College, London; Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts London; The Wits School of Art, Johannesburg; The Free School for Art Theory and Practice, transit.hu, Budapest; Capacete, Rio de Janeiro, and Espacio Interdisciplinario, Universidad de la República Uruguay.

They has acted as external examiner for academic institutions such as Tromsø Art Academy, UiT the Arctic University of Norway; Departmen of Craft, Konstfack, University of Arts, Craft and Design, Stockholm; Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, UK and Dutch Art Institute, NL on both BA and MA level, and is external peer reviewer for the following curatorial education programmes: MFA Curating, Department of Art, Goldsmiths College (2019–ongoing) and MA Curating, Institut for Kommunikation og Kultur, Aarhus University (2022).

During Szefer Karlsen’s tenure as Director of Hordaland Art Centre they curated a number of exhibitions, focused on discursive programming, established Bergen’s first bookshop for art and theory, as well as further developed its residency programme. Their curatorial practice is international, and spans museums and non-profit organisations such as Stavanger Art Museum (2021–2022); FUTURA – centre for contemporary art, Prague (2015); Performa 13, NYC (2013); Bergen Art Museum, Bergen (2011); UKS and Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo (2007). 

Szefer Karlsen was curator for The Norwegian Sculpture Biennale 2015 entitled Art Belongs to Those Who See it at the Vigeland Museum in Oslo; curator for Lofoten International Art Festival – LIAF 2013 (with Bassam el Baroni and Eva González-Sancho) entitled Just what is it that makes today so familiar, so uneasy? and Associate Curator for Research and Encounters for Biennale Bénin 2012 – Inventer le monde: l’artiste citoyen (artistic director: Abdellah Karroum. Associate Curators: Didier Houenoude, Olivier Marboeuf and Claire Tancons).

PROJECTS (2015–today)
In 2017 Szefer Karlsen curated the international gathering of curators, directors, artists, and thinkers entitled Humans of the Institution together with Vivian Ziherl/Frontier Imaginaries. 

Contributing speakers were Tiziana Terranova (keynote),  Ahmed Veriava (keynote), Ahilapalapa Rands and Lise Soskolne (balcony callers), Bassam El Baroni (position paper), Rachel O’Reilly/Danny Butt (position paper), Antonia Majaca (position paper), Despina Zefkili (position paper), and Matthijs de Bruijne, Club Solo – represented by Thomas Bakker and Iris Bouwmeester, Charles Esche, Natasha Ginwala, Maria Hlavajova, Heejin Kim, Lara Khaldi, Imara Limon, Carol Yinghua Lu, Alan Michelson, Manuela Moscoso,  Nana Oforiatta-Ayim,Sabina Sabolović, Natalia Valencia. Working Group Conveners were Michelle Wong (Asia Art Archive), with Christiane Berndes (Van Abbemuseum) and Steven then Thije (Van Abbemuseum); Natasha Ginwala, with Marieke van Hal and Sabina Sabolović; Joanna Warsza, with Rachel O’Reilly and Lara Khaldi; Ekaterina Degot, with Katia Krupennikova and Heejin Kim; Annie Fletcher, with Club Solo (Thomas Bakker & Iris Bouwmester) and Sharelly Emanuelson; Platform BK (Rune Peitersen and Joram Kraaijeveld) and the Norwegian Association of Curators (Martin Braathen and Silja Leifsdottir), with W.A.G.E. (Lise Soskolne).

In 2019 the anthology Towards an Infrastructure of Humans – Working Group Statements, Humans of the Institution 25–27 November 2017, where Szefer Karlsen acted as Chief Editor, was co-published by Van Abbemuseum and Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.

Contributors to the anthology were Anne Szefer Karlsen and Vivian Ziherl; Platform BK (Joram Kraaijeveld and Rune Peitersen) and the Norwegian Association of curators (Martin Braathen and Silja Leifsdottir), with W.A.G.E. (Lise Soskolne); Sabina Sabolović; Thomas Bakker, Iris Bouwmeester and Sharelly Emanuelson; Kirsteen Macdonald and Anne Szefer Karlsen; Natasha Ginwala, Marieke van Hal and Sabina Sabolović; Joanna Warsza, Lara Khaldi and Rachel O’Reilly; a semi-anonymous group; Michelle Wong, Christiane Berndes and Steven ten Thije; Natasha Marie Llorens, Nicolas Jones and Tominga Hope O’Donnell; Ana Laura López de la Torre.

In 2020–2022 the artistic research project Experiences of Oil culminated at Stavanger Art Museum (with Helga Nyman, Stavanger Art Museum) with an online conference (November 2020), an exhibition (2021–2022) and an anthology of writing and artistic contributions published by Museumsforlaget (2022), as well as a double volume of Kunstlicht – academic journal for art, visual culture, and architecture, Vrije Universiteit/VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands, entitled The Worldliness of Oil (2021).

Contributing speakers to the conference were Kathryn Yusoff (keynote w/Dolly Jørgensen as respondent), Anna Ihle (commissioned performance work), Iheanyichukwu Onwuegbucha/George Emeka Agbo, Ayó Akínwándé, Ana Alenso, Bahïa Bencheikh-El-Fegoun, Brett Bloom, Fiona Clark, Massimiliano Mollona/Anne Marthe Dyvi, Clementine Edwards, Rachel Grant, Melissa Gronlund, Marianne Heier, Laura Hindelang, María Esperanza Rojo Jiménez, Roshini Kempadoo, Natasha Marie Llorens, Laura Napier, Lina Patmali, Oleksiy Radynski, Rachel O'Reilly, Karl Emil Rosenbæk, Elena Sorokina (assisted by Ella Strowel), Sanaz Sohrabi, Ala Younis, MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Director Abdellah Karroum and Acting Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs Aisha Abdulla Al Misnad) and Norwegian Petroleum Museum (Bjørn Lindberg, Head of Research and Collection and Anja Fremo, Head of Exhibition and Education).

Contributing artist to the exhibition were Liv Bugge, Christopher Cozier, Ane Graff, Linda Lamignan with David Lamignan Larsen, Alessandro Marchi, Otobong Nkanga, Camille Norment in collaboration with Lisa Harris and Sarah Prosser, Rachel O’Reilly, Monira Al Qadiri, Farah Al Qasimi, Raqs Media Collective, Øyvind Rimbereid, Shirin Sabahi, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chai Siri, Brynhild Grødeland Winther, Kiyoshi Yamamoto.

Contributors to the anthology were (with texts) Remco de Blaaij; George Emeka Agbo and Iheanyi Onwuegbucha; Chris Cozier and Roshini Kempadoo; Murtaza Vali with Mattin Biglari, Nelida Fuccaro, Laura Hindelang, María Esperanza Rojo Jiménez and Sanaz Sohrabi; Melissa Gronlun;, Ragnhild Aamås, (with artistic contributions) Fiona Clark; Ann Ihle; Marianne Heier; Monira Al Qadiri.

Contributors to The Worldliness of Oil were Anna-Rosja Haveman, Roshini Kempadoo, Tove Kommedal, Natasha Marie Llorens, Ashley Maum, María Matilde Morales, Niloufar Nematollahi, Marie Skretting, Sanaz Sohrabi, Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen, Murtaza Vali, Susanne Kriemann and Ruby de Vos, and Agnieszka Wodzińska.

Szefer Karlsen was series editor for Dublett (Hordaland Art Centre, 2013-2015) and edited the third anthology in Open Edition's Occasional Table-series titled Self-Organised with Stine Hebert (Open Editions/Hordaland Art Centre 2013). They edited the monograph IL10 on the works of Ingrid Lønningdal, as well as Collected art criticisms by Erlend Hammer (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2008) and co-edited Lokalisert/Localised with Arne Skaug Olsen and Morten Kvamme (Ctrl+Z Publishing, 2009) commissioned in relation to Bergen Biennial Conference.

Szefer Karlsen's writing has appeared in journals such as Afterall (Anarchism, Education and Compromise: Voices from Montevideo, 2016 ), Billedkunst (columnist for Published 2/2018–4/2019), Kunstjournalen B-post (OLJENS SKYGGEEFFEKT – hva gjør oljeøkonomien med samtidskunsten?, 2014), kunstkritikk.no (Kollektivfelt (Going Public), article in the series Nordic Art in the 2010s, 2020; The New Director, 2017; A demanding environment, 2016; Winter is coming, 2015), Mezosfera (Mixologists* of the Cultural Field, 2017). They regularly participate in public debates in newspapers and art press.

Their writing also appears in anthologies such Learning by curating. Current trajectories in critical curatorial education (eds. Catalin Gheorghe and Mick Wilson, publisehd in the series 'Vector - critical research in context' by Vector and "George Enescu" National University of the Arts in Iași, Romania, 2022); Plasticity of the Planet: On Environmental Challenge for Art and Its Institutions (ed. Magdalena Ziółkowska, Mousse Publishing, Mediolan and Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, 2019); FRANK (Liv Bugge and Sille Storihle) (ed. Sille Storihle, Torpedo Press, 2021); 245 years - Education in Art and Design in Bergen (ed. Nina Schjønsby, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen, 2017); Making Biennials in Contemporary Times (eds. Galit Eilat et. al., Biennial Foundation/ICCo – Instituto de Cultura Contemporânea, 2015); Condition Report: Symposium on Building Art Institutions in Africa (ed. Koyo Kouoh, Hatje Cantz, 2013).

Szefer Karlsen has conceived of several exhibitions, conferences, seminars and lecture series, expressing interests in artistic and curatorial collaborations as well as developing the language that surrounds art productions of today, linguistically, spatially and structurally. Szefer Karlsen has taken on a number of positions of trust within the Norwegian art context and is often invited to speak on contemporary art and curatorial practice at home as well as internationally. Exhibitions and conferences curated and publication projects edited by Szefer Karlsen will generally host an international roster of artists, curators and other contributors.

Szefer Karlsen is trained an artist and photographer from London College of Printing (today UAL) with a BA (hons) Photography, 1996–1999, and holds a 'hovedfag' (MA equivalent) in photography from Bergen National Academy of the Arts (today KMD, UiB), 2000–2001, and was a student in the pilot programme 'Skapende kuratorpraksis' (Creative Curating) also at Bergen National Academy of the Arts, 2004–2006. They were confirmed as full Professor of Curatorial Practice in February 2018 by a committee consisting of Profs. Ute Meta Bauer, Charles Esche and Marta Kuzma.