Contemporary art

Painting from beyond the grave

Morten Viskum performance

In a bit of a macabre performance, the Norwegian artist Morten Viskum used a dead man’s hand to paint an African landscape as part of the Red Zone festival last month in Oslo. The appendage had come from a man who emigrated to Norway as a child refugee and died as an adult in 2008. Viskum imagines that the dead man dreamed the landscape. “Showing this performance in a church puts the dreams and thoughts of this man in a larger perspective”, said Erik Hyllestad, one of the organisers of the festival, which deals with freedom of speech. Around 100 people came to watch the performance held in the “kulturkirken Jakob”, a church building in Oslo that houses cultural events as well also religious services. Viskum previously painted using a cadaver’s hand during the Venice Biennale in 2009. During that show, someone complained to the police, but in Norway “only one person left the church shouting something nobody understood”, Hyllestad said. — Hanne Cecilie Gulstad

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