Artists have always been concerned with what lies humans closest to heart; our own body and soul. How have they portrayed the physical shell we all carry? How have they been able to expose the different states of the soul? The artists show us how we feel about our physical bodies, but also the psyche must be depicted through the body which it is part of. Early philosophers such as Plato (ca. 428-348 BC) believed that the soul was only temporarily united with the body and that at death they would separate. Because one has never been able to find empirical evidence that the soul can be distinguished as a separate part of the body, contemporary philosophers see the mind and the body as something that can't be separated.

In the artworks we've chosen for this exhibition, there are several sub-topics. In the first room we have compiled works depicting the natural body in nudes and bath scenes, the body as allegory and our relationship with the body. The story from the Old Testament of Adam and Eve being driven out of paradise, is also the beginning of man's relationship with his body in the Western Christian cultural sphere. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge and been shown out of the Garden of Eden by God, they suddenly became aware of their own nakedness and for the first time they felt shame. In nudes the body is relatively neutrally portrayed, and the focus is more on anatomy than on the erotic side. The fact that many artists throughout history have depicted people who bathe in public, may indicate that this has been a legitimate opportunity to see and depict the naked human body.

In the second and third room the works are about the physical and psychological suffering body. Here we see bodies subjected to torture, intervention, war and death. The myth of Icarus reminds us of the body's physical limitations and several of the works attempt to show different states of mind through the body. From absentminded, thinking and observant states to loneliness, powerlessness, trauma and anxiety.

In the last room the artists focus on the desirable body. What causes us to see the erotic in a body? It has to do with the pose, partially uncovered body parts, concrete depictions of genitalia and erotic situations.

The art works in the exhibition belong to the collections at SFKM, Førde, Astruptunet, Eikaasgalleriet and Sogn Kunstsenter. The majority of the represented artists were born in 1940s and -50's, and two out of three are men. The works mainly fall into the categories graphics, painting, drawing, photography and sculpture, but relief, assemblage, installation, animation and video are also being shown. The works have been made in the period 1901-2012, and all the decades are represented. The bulk is still from after 1970. The works have been collected through purchases, gifts, deposits and distributions from Arts Council Norway. Several of the works have not been shown after they came to the museum and some haven't been shown for a long time. Several of the works have until recently been lent as public art to county buildings.

Curator: Ingrid Norum, konservator at SFKM

Represented artists:
Oddleiv Apneseth, Nikolai Astrup, Reidun Færøy Bergstrøm, Malvin Berqvam, Liisa Frydenlund de Corral, Guri Dahl, Elisabeth Dillingøen, Per Dybvig, Jan Egge, Finn Egil Eide, Ludvig Eikaas, Gerd Endestad, Ove Enehaug, Ola Enstad, Steingrimur Eyfjord, Gro Finne, Thora Fredrikke Astrup Kühle Geelmuyden, Bente Geving, Hans Gjesme, Stine Gonsholt, Arna Grevstad, Laurie Grundt, Niclas Gulbrandsen, Johanne Marie Hansen-Krone, Jens Hauge, Bjørn Hegranes, Sveinung Iversen, Morten Steen Kaels, Ole Karlsen, Steinar Klasbu, Bjørn Krzywinski, Helge Krøvel-Velle, Bjørn Kvarstein, Snorre Kyllingmark, Victor Lind, Harald Lyche, Susanna Majuri, Tom Martinsen, Elisabeth Mathisen, Robert Meyer, Magnar Moen, Astrid Mørland, Therese Nortvedt, Torill Nøst, Bjørn Brynjolf Pedersen, Bjørn Ransve, Ole Rinnan, Thorstein Rittun, Inge Rotevatn, Knut Rumohr, Jenny Marie Rydhagen, Edvin Skjerping, Astrid Skåtun, Kjartan Slettemark, Kåre Jan Solenes, Elisabeth Steen, Jan Steinum, Anne Lise Stenseth, Willibald Storn, David Een Sture, Camilla Søyland, Oddvar Torsheim, Olav K. Vaagen, Magne Vangsnes, Johannes Vinjum, Gerard Waegeneire og Arne Øhnell.

Photo of: Kåre Jan Solenes, "Parafrase over Brüghels Slaraffenland", 1973, etsing, Norsk kulturråd 2007, SFKM 1707.