January 29. - March 5. 2005

at Sparwasser HQ, Torstrasse 161, Berlin Mitte
Wed-Fri 4-7pm, Sat 2-6pm


The exhibition "The Gift" challenges traditional notions of exchange between artist and institution. What is the relation between give and take in the production of an exhibition? "The Gift" presents works by Norwegian artists Marianne Heier and Jesper Alvær. Both artists investigate strategies of exchange as physical and mental transaction, and as philosophical concept. Social and personal interaction are central elements of their conceptual and relational art practices. Both apply strategies of artistic research and production to everyday life and both offer the artistic experience as a gift or service. "The Gift" also includes a commentary-work by Norwegian critic and artist Arve Rød, whose work often demonstrates strong critique of institutions.

Marianne Heier´s "Permanent Installation (5,783 Euros)" problematises Sparwasser HQ´s specific profile: its artistic position, social identity, and physical state. Her work discusses the role of the artist, the value of art, and the ability of art to function directly rather than representatively. She seeks audience participation but demands nothing in return. On the contrary, Heier offers art as a kind of service or gift and thereby confronts her recipients with a moral dilemma. The project consists of a performance on the opening night, an installation, and a take away multiple series.

Jesper Alvaer´s "Logic of Exchange" is developed in relation to the work of Marianne Heier. A parasite piece, it investigates further the different aspects of exchange set forth by Heier. The project consists of a series of six video talks; in each, a contemporary thinker, mainly outside the field of contemporary art, is asked to speak about the topic of exchange - without prior detailed knowledge of the exhibition context.

Arve Roed's text works refer to earlier projects in which the critic-artist discusses the apparently closed system of the art world. At Sparwasser HQ, he focuses on the tensions between the different members of this system: artist, curator, critic, art dealer, collector, gallery, museum, institution. Rød questions whether social relations and professional strategies, the trivial and the institutional, reveal or veil the content of a work of art.



Marianne Heier (b. 1969) lives and works in Oslo. Heier was educated at Istituto Artistico dell´Abbigliamento Marangoni in Milano (88-89) and Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milano (92-97). Selected solo exhibitions: Galleri Care Of, Milano; Galleria Luigi Franco Arte Contemporanea, Torino; Galleri F15, Moss; Zone c/o Graffia, Bologna. Selected group exhibitions: Biennial South, Kristiansand; National Touring Exhibition, Bergen Kunsthall; Kunstnernes Hus, Bomuldsfabrikken, Tromsø Kunstforening.

Jesper Alvær (b. 1973) lives and works in Prague and Berlin. Alvær was educated at Cooper Union School of Art, exchange program, New York (00-01); AVU Prague (97-04); Center Contemporary Art - Kitakyushu residency program, Kitakyushu, Japan (02-03). Selected exhibitions: UKS-biennial 2004, Oslo; Passages d'Europe, Musee d'Art Moderne, Saint Etienne Metropole, A.K.A.; Berliner Kunstprojekte, Berlin; Rockwell, London; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Goethe-Institut, Prague; K & S Gallery, Berlin.

Arve Rød (b. 1967) lives and works in Oslo. Rød was educated at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo (91-96) and at the University of Oslo (88-91).
Selected exhibitions: The UKS Biennial 2004, Oslo; The Norwegian Sculpture Biennial 2003, Oslo; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Galleri F15, Moss; Galleri By the Way, Bergen; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Hoevikodden. Rød works as a critic for several Norwegian and international art magazines and newspapers.


Yours sincerely,

Curator Ida Kierulf (Director of Fotogalleriet, Oslo) &
Curator Helga-Marie Nordby (Director of Oslo Kunsthall)

With friendly support from OCA, Office for Contemporary Art Norway(

Also thanks to:

Jesper Alvær would like to thank:
Tomas Vanek, Avdey Ter-Oganian, Audrey Wong,
Veljko Zejak, Caz Mcintee, Sezgin Boynik,
Ondrej Brody, Kristofer Paetau and Alexander Nicolic

Marianne would like to thank:
Ellen Heier

Arve Rød would like to thank:
The Berlin Biennial Office and Mira

Sparwasser HQ is supported by The Danish Arts Council, Committee for International Visual Arts (

For more information contact,
Sparwasser HQ, Offensive für Zeitgenössische Kunst und Kommunikation, Torstrasse161, Berlin Mitte /