Norse mythology inspires Magne’s latest project

At work in his art studio in Asker

Magne recently opened two solo exhibitions in the Ålesund area on June 13th; Extra Super Plus at Khåk Kunsthall in Ålesund and Völuspá in the visitors center at Alnes Fyr.

Völuspá is believed to be the world’s longest graphic print, with a length of 25 meters. It’s inspired by the famous 10th century poem of the same name from the Poetic Edda, and in particular the first English translation of it from the 1800s. Here is a picture of Magne in front of Völuspá.

“I’ve visited Alnes before, and have dreamt of hanging such an image on this particular wall since I first came here. You may call it Corona-madness, the idea of creating such a large continuous graphic print from one roll of paper. It took five printmakers five days to make it, followed by a month of drying. I am very pleased to see it up on the wall now. An entire roll of this paper is 90 meters long, so perhaps that will be the ambition for my next project”, Magne told newspaper Sunnmørsposten (paywall) with a laugh.

Details from Völuspá

“These are two seperate exhibitions, but there is a dialogue between them. The exhibition at Khåk has been carefully planned, and includes a selection of works that I’ve been working on for the last one and a half years, and during the entire corona period. It’s a large exhibition and the most important for me this summer. The exhibition at Alnes is inspired by me binge-watching Vikings and a fascination for the tales in old norse literature, combined with the fact that this area carries a lot of history from that era”, Magne says.

Extra Super Plus includes a selection of oil paintings, woodcut monotypes, ceramic works and a smaller, 4-meter version of Völuspá. It will remain open until August 15th. An online exhibition catalogue is available here. The main version of Völuspá at Alnes Fyr can be seen until August 8th.

The day before, June 11th, another Furuholmen exhibition opened as part of the Petter Dass literature festival in Alstahaug. A video of the opening, with Magne joining via videolink (at 18:50), has been posted on Vimeo.

There is also a new video about Magne’s printmaking process, posted by Queen Sonja Print Award, which can be seen on Facebook.

And another summer exhibition of his art will be held at Galleri Sagesund in Tvedestrand from 18 July – 8 August.

Good reviews for a-ha: The Movie at Tribeca

The official poster, from the film’s Facebook page

a-ha: The Movie received lots of positive feedback from both the audience and critics after its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival earlier this month, eventually earning second place in the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Film Festival Today calls the movie “a delight for casual and diehard fans alike” and highlights how the three members of a-ha “deliver extremely thoughtful meditations on celebrity, authenticity, art and life over the course of a-ha: The Movie’s engaging 109 minutes”.

Cineuropa feels the movie is an “entertaining, captivating piece” which will “prove a joyful experience for the band’s fans, and a pleasant surprise for all lovers of 1980s new wave, alt rock and synth pop genres, especially for those not boasting in-depth knowledge of A-HA’s discography and who might want to “shazam” some hidden gems throughout the film.”

Berkreviews describes a-ha: The Movie as being “a celebration of their musical catalog” and that it’s “definitely one to watch if you are a fan of music or music docs. I found it to be extremely compelling and informative while fostering a love of a band I knew very little about. It’s quite possible that a band you currently love was inspired or influenced by a-ha. Thus, a-ha: The Movie earns the Must See rating.”

Indie producer Travis Stevens writes that “a-ha: The Movie creates a melody from the self-confidence, determination, beauty, competitiveness and insecurity required to create something as fleeting as a #1 pop hit and to remain a band with artistic ambition for 35 years after. They fucking rule.”

Writer Annie Zaleski describes it as “a fascinating + intimate documentary that’s often brutally honest about intra-band strain (and the inherent conflict between solitude, introspection & fame), but also makes a case for a-ha’s towering musical greatness.”

Coming up, a-ha: The Movie will be screened at the Munich International Film Festival in Germany on 8-9 July and at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on 25 August. The regular Norwegian premiere follows on 3 September.

Concert added in Hannover

A new date in Germany has now been added to next year’s a-ha tour:

02 May 2022: ZAG Arena, Hannover, Germany

A total of 39 concerts are currently planned for 2022, taking place in Japan, USA, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Norway, UK, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

The updated list of all dates can be found here.

Morten: “We have a deep respect for each other”

Morten, February 2021

a-ha: The Movie had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this weekend. The first review (4 out of 5 stars) has been posted on the website Josh at the Movies:

“The fact that I instantly opened my Spotify and downloaded most of A-Ha’s discography as soon as A-Ha: The Movie ended should speak volumes about its overall quality”, Josh Batchelder writes in his review.

“Following their dream from struggling below the poverty line, A-Ha: The Movie is an endearing story of realizing your dreams and believing in them. The documentary feels deep-reaching, a truly honest portrayal of personalities and musical insight. (…) I look forward to exploring more of A-Ha’s incredible body of work, as the ripples of their impact on the music industry can still be felt today.”

Morten himself has been interviewed by Salon.com in connection with the premiere. When asked about his own favorite a-ha songs, he says:

“There could be many. I don’t have a favorite song. I can lean to one song for a period, then to another. But all the songs we’ve done, we’ve had some sort of soft spot for at some point in time, or they wouldn’t be there. And there are a lot of songs in the making that have never gotten through to the point of being recorded and released. There are some cornerstones. On “Memorial Beach” there is a song that most people don’t know, “Cold as Stone,” which I like. A lot of others that are more the darker side of the band. A-ha is a dark band, really. That is where we are coming from. None of us listened to pop music growing up. We would not have listened to A-ha ourselves if we were on the street, because of the image of the band. Because of a number of things. Because of me, for one. [Laughs]”

In the interview, Morten points out how the band in many ways has been more successful since the 2000 comeback than in the first period:

“I feel the documentary fails us a little in the second half, which [chronicles] when we got back together through to today. That is the longest period that we’ve been together, I believe. And it’s our time when we’ve done our best business and touring. We played to many more people in the second half than in the first, and success-wise, that’s a bigger achievement than making it in the first place, I would argue.”

Early reports about the film also suggests that it spends quite some time on the often-reported creative frictions within the band:

“What I do feel is that the focus in the second half of the film is the disagreements and problems. But one has to bear in mind that we’ve been together for all this time and we’ve chosen to get together and get back together over and over again. We have a deep respect for each other and I’m always proud and honored to be associated with them. And we all feel the same. But we are not the same, and that is part of the package. All three of us are completely necessary for the band to become A-ha”, Morten says.

Director Thomas Robsahm has also done several interviews to promote the film recently, including conversations with Cineuropa and Screen Daily, while a video clip from the film, detailing the evolution of “Take On Me”, was published by Rolling Stone.

Next month a-ha: The Movie will be screened in Germany, as part of the Munich International Film Festival on 8 and 9 July. Information in English is available here.

Lisbon back on the schedule (again)

After a-ha’s performance at the Rock in Rio Lisboa festival was cancelled due to Covid in both 2020 and 2021, hopefully third time’s the charm as a-ha have now been confirmed for next year’s festival:

25 June 2022: Rock in Rio Lisboa Festival, Lisbon, Portugal

Duran Duran have also been confirmed for the same day.
Tickets already purchased will remain valid for the 2022 festival. More info here.

Movie trailer now available

The official trailer for a-ha: The Movie premiered yesterday, via articles posted by Variety in the US and VG in Norway.

It has also been posted by the production company on YouTube:

“I wanted to tell a story about their boyhood dream, and how incredibly difficult it really was to achieve an international breakthrough back then. About the future of a-ha. If there will be more music. I hope you’ll get to know them better as individuals and get a deeper understanding of the mechanisms within the band. This is not just a film about a-ha, but above all a film about Paul, Magne and Morten”, director Thomas Robsahm tells VG.

a-ha: The Movie will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on June 12th – tickets for the outdoor screening are sold out, but streaming access can be purchased here (US only).

Meanwhile, the Norwegian premiere has been pushed back to September 3rd. Theatrical deals are also in place for Japan, Korea, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, according to Variety.

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