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Art Exhibition: Potential Exceeds the Demand

The project is a series of visual artworks, based on a selection of essential key questions defining the complex and messy process of energy transition.

Margrethe Brekke
Margrethe Kolstad Brekke explains the process of conceptualizing the acceleration of the energy transition
Anja Molnes


Textile artist Margrethe Kolstad Brekke have for a number of years developed projects contextualizing the paradigm shift currently taking place within the energy sector. 

On Tuesday October 30, she visited Bergen Energy Lab to enlighten us on her creative project, "Potential Exceeds the Demand", that will be displayed at Hordaland Art Centre in May next year.

Brekke explains that the exhibition project at Hordaland Art Centre will, in some way, be the last project in a wide range of other activities that have experimentally contextualized renewable technology development through artistic expressions. 

- It was towards the end of the study period at the faculty of art, music and design (KMD) here at UiB in 2013, I decided to try to make art of solution proposals in context of the sublime climate crisis. This was first very fumbly and difficult, as the undisputed consensus in the cultural sector is that the responsible task is to highlight “problems” in critical tradition.

Brekke further explains that this means that the aesthetics of new solutions – like new technology – are mostly presented by the approach that has been developed through the marketing profession; like advertising aesthetics, which also characterize politics. 

- Here, I think there is a huge need for nuance.

This exhibition will be the first solid physical manifestation of much eclectic artistic research that goes back to 2015, when she attended Fornybarkonferansen here in Bergen. Here, Norwegian company Kitemill presented their renewable energy solution where kites are used to produce power from wind. This inspired a variety of art projects for Brekke, resulting in a collaborative hangglider art project with an air ballet show at Ekstremsportveko (extreme sport week) at Voss and at The Western Norwegian College of Applied Sciences through Public Art Norway (KORO).

Her current project is a series of visual artworks, based on a selection of essential key questions defining the complex and messy process of energy transition.

- I think the most important and meaningful task for me right now is to contribute by doing communal work in order to convey these main principles. The principles originate from the core of the discipline I think should be heard to ensure that the most efficient energy transition can take place. 

She has been working in close collaboration with Kristin Gulbrandsen Frøysa and Finn Gunnar Nielsen, in order to develop the key questions and myths that will be the focus of this exhibition: 

Myth: The world cannot do without fossil energy the next 30 years. 
Myth: The world’s energy demand will increase significantly the next 20 years. 
Myth: The capacity for action is limited 

Challenge: The lack of perspective, understanding of magnitude and which measures that provide results 
Challenge: Focus must be directed towards structural solutions, not individual.

- I hope this exhibition can inspire more cultural people, with greater scope than myself, to move into the exciting terrain that is about trying to find the best ways to deal with the super wicked problems human induced climate change represents. I believe that after all, enough cultural expressions have been produced that show everything that went wrong – we all know that very well – and that the creative challenges ahead will be to contribute constructively to strengthening the solution-oriented narratives.