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Exhibition at Rustkammeret

Poletics by new means.

Opening speech


The exhibition "Politics by other means" was shown at Rustkammeret in the Archbishop's Palace in Trondheim in the period 01.09.2015 – 25.10.2015. Rustkammeret is a part of The Norwegian Armed Forces' Museum. The exhibition title «Politics by other means» has a double meaning. It was the Preusian military theoretic Karl von Clausewitz who wrote that warfare is politics by other means. Via the idea of «Das Ding an sich» Clausewitz leaned on Immanuel Kant's art theory when he should define the concepts «strategy» and «tactics». In the work vom Kriege Clausewitz writes: «Since war is not an action caried out in limitless affect, but is controlled by its political purpose, it is the value of this purpose which will determine the sacrifices which shall be done when it comes to amount of force and violence used and the duration of the efforts. When efforts exceedes the political purpose, the purpose mut be given up and peace occur.» (

With that we arrive  at the second meaning of the exhibition title: Art, by pointing to the sacrifices of war, may be a political way to avoid war. The art exhibition at Rustkammeret shows artworks which have investigated art's posibility to have a political function.

Artistic practice is often seen as a research proces. Aesthetic expresion or, as in this case, political function, may be subject to more or less systematic research. For a political work both its message and its history is of interest.

The "Meomory- and standart hall" at Rustkammeret where the exhibition is displayed is a consecrated place. The names of Norwegians who fell within the District Command Trøndelag's area of responsibility during the second world war is engraved in brass plates along the walls. From the roof hangs the standarts of military regiments from the North of Norway since year 1700 and onwards. What did they defend? What sacrifices have they made for Norwegians to enjoy the freedom and democracy they have today? Which sacrifices couuld have been avoided if the political cards had been played differently? Which challenges do we face today? Which role do we choose to believe that a political art can have in these challenges? These are questions the exhbition whishes the visitors to reflect upon.