Bianca Hisse

The New Theater of Operations

Exhibition opening Friday February 2 at 7 pm

North Norwegian Art Centre starts its 2024 exhibition program with “The New Theater of Operations” by the recently-established artist Bianca Hisse. Her works shed light on power structures in society and the way these influence our physical surroundings and patterns of movement. The exhibition features two video works and a series of sculptures composed primarily of ready-mades and construction materials. The works refer to rigid structures at the same time as they represent a freer visual language – almost like a strategy for resistance.

In preparing this exhibition, Hisse’s impetus has been Northern Norway’s importance for national security, the presence of the military and its imprint on the region. The video installation The New Theater of Operations, which also supplies the exhibition title, depicts four dancers performing choreographed movements in immediate proximity to military constructions on the island of Andøya and in Kirkenes. These choreographed movements are based on two very different sources. The first consists of weather signals as described in the handbook Rescue and Procedures in Theaters of Operations, published by the US Department of the Army (1971). The second consists of drama exercises described by the theatre director Augusto Boal in his book Theatre of the Oppressed (1974).

In the military context, a “theater of operations” is defined as a demarcated area in which military operations take place. The “theatre of the oppressed,” however, alludes to Boal’s radical theatrical method in which social problems are staged by an audience, the aim being that the stagings can serve as rehearsals for instigating actual changes in society.

Boundaries and barriers are recurring motifs in Hisse’s artistic practice. References to obstacles and hindrances are found in several works in the exhibition. We can recognize the rigid structures and visual language that often confront us in public space. The materials in her sculptures stem from this sphere. They often consist of metal elements from the infrastructure around us.

Hisse’s artistic process begins with a careful deconstruction of these structures, all the way down to their individual components. It is almost as if she is inspecting society’s basic elements. This is followed by a thoughtful reconstruction. In the result, rigid and authoritarian aspects are hacked, such that the dynamic and sometimes bodily aspects can come to the fore.

The exhibition “The New Theatre of Operations” sketches a scenario in which rules are bent, twisted and upturned. It opens a space of opportunity for evasion and resistance. At the juncture between reality and staging, between the static and the kinetic, and between control and coincidence, we can glimpse the boundaries of what exists, remember what does not, and imagine what can come to exist.

Curator Adriana Alves

Bianca Hisse (b. 1994 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian artist who lives in Norway. She studied art at the Arctic University of Norway – UiT (2019) and performing arts at Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo (2016). In 2024 she will participate in (among other things) the arts festival Barents Spektakel (Kirkenes) and Arctic Arts Festival (Harstad). Her works have been shown at the gallery Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo), the art society Tromsø Kunstforening, the museum Kiasma (Finland), the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka (Croatia), MAR Museo – Bienal Sur (Argentina), and Mediterranea Biennale 19 (San Marino).

The exhibition has received support from Kunstsentrene i Norge (Norway’s national association for regional art centers) and Arts and Culture Norway.

Photo Kjell Ove Storvik, North Norwegian Art Centre