Magne and Queen Sonja open new exhibitions

Queen Sonja and Magne, 27 August 2020
(Screenshot from NRK)

Magne and Queen Sonja were at the Soli Brug Gallery yesterday, for a press preview of two new exhibitions that are opening today.

This time they are not exhibiting together, as in 2016, instead they each present a new solo exhibition. Magne’s is called Ornament, while the Queen’s is called Utsnitt. In total there are around 150 new pieces.

Magne has been an artistic mentor for Queen Sonja for a number of years now, and their joint projects have brought them to Denmark, Sweden and the USA. Last month they were on a trip to Northern Norway.

“We have travelled around together, and it’s really fun and inspiring for me to listen to him”, the Queen told the press yesterday.

“And it’s inspiring for me to see that it’s possible to have this level of energy when you’re past your fifties”, Magne (57) jokingly told the Queen (83).

“I was surprised to see how many new works she’s made, including a number of excellent graphic prints. So it’s great to see that she is continually coming up with new and interesting things.”

The Queen commends Magne on the new colourful works he’s got on display:

“I’m familiar with parts of Magne’s production, but this time I’ve noticed new and interesting details, including more use of colours. That’s something we’ve discussed, because he’s been more focused on a darker pallette.”

“The truth is rather that I used colours more sparsely when the Queen and I worked together in the past”, Magne replied. “Her use of colours has inspired me.”

See a selection of photos from the exhibitions on Soli Brug’s Facebook page here and here. The exhibitions are open from 28 August – 20 September.

Links:
Aftenposten: Dronningen og Magne Furuholmen inspirerer hverandre – åpner utstillinger sammen
NRK TV: Dronningen og Furuholmen stiller ut på Soli Brug

Magne interviewed on Viking TV

Magne on Viking TV, 18 August 2020

Magne was a guest on the online video channel viking.tv yesterday, where he was interviewed by the British photographer Alastair Miller.

The 47-minute interview – which is also available on YouTube – covered various topics, including the current a-ha tour, his working methods, the Imprints sculture park and more. Below are a few quotes.

On 2020 being a different year for the band:

“I think we cancelled 60 shows this year, due to the Covid situation. It was going to be a big worldwide tour with sellout concerts in LA. We were in Asia at the time, touring, when the lockdown happened. You know, everyone’s affected by this in different ways. We are fortunate in that we can push our concerts to whenever the situation allows. So I feel very privileged in that sense. But it’s become a very different year than we had planned.”

On writing new material for a-ha:

“Funnily enough, these days I’m back in the studio to see what it feels like to write something for a-ha. I wouldn’t hold my breath for it, but it’s something that may or may not happen.”

In conversation with Alastair Miller

On his current projects:

“Plans have changed, as we talked about earlier. This is a unique time, which is a time of reflection in many ways, if you’re in a position to do so. So for me it’s been quite a fertile time. I’m doing music projects, [although] some of them – concerts and stuff – have had to be cancelled. But I have exhibitions coming up, there’s a big retrospective coming up in a couple of years that we are preparing now.

And I’m also curating other artists, working on a very exciting project called REV Ocean, which is a huge research ship where 60 scientists will be focusing on oceanography. There’s artists involved, there’s art onboard. I’ve worked with a lady who’s employed by me, we’re curating the art onboard and we’re using young Norwegian artists. So I fall elegantly out of that category of course. And then there’s an ongoing dialogue with scientists and artists in residence onboard the ship, and possible exhibitions and networking into the international art world.

So there’s a lot of stuff going on, on both fronts, that are hugely exciting at this point in time. Other than that, I potter into my painting studio and my recording studio and I try to make something beautiful.”

Viking.tv is an online video channel, presented by the cruise line Viking. A selection of Magne’s artworks can be found onboard several of their cruise ships, including Viking Star, Viking Sky and Viking Orion.

Rescheduled dates for USA and Latin America

Rescheduled a-ha concert dates for USA and Latin America in 2021 have now been announced, this time starting in the north and ending in the south:

23 May: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA (rescheduled from 25.09.20)
24 May: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA (rescheduled from 26.09.20)
25 May: The Wiltern, Los Angeles, USA (rescheduled from 27.09.20)

11 August: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico (rescheduled from 22.09.20)
14 August: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil (rescheduled from 19.09.20)
18 August: Expominas Arena, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (rescheduled from 16.09.20)
19 August: Jeunesse Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (rescheduled from 13.09.20)
21 August: Espaço das Americas, São Paulo, Brazil (rescheduled from 11.09.20)
24 August: Teatro Positivo, Curitiba, Brazil (rescheduled from 08.09.20)
27 August: Movistar Arena, Buenos Aires, Argentina (rescheduled from 05.09.20)
29 August: Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile (rescheduled from 03.09.20)
31 August: Parque de la Exposición, Lima, Peru (rescheduled from 01.09.20)

Please visit a-ha.com for more info on ticket sales and refunds.

Japanese tour, European tour and Norwegian film premiere rescheduled for 2021

Picture by Stian Andersen

After a long period of silence, the official site has announced rescheduled Hunting High and Low tour dates in Japan and in Europe for 2021, due to Covid-19 preventing large public events from going ahead this year. Rescheduled dates for South- and North America are also expected to follow soon.

In addition to the original five dates in Japan, two extra shows have now been added, in Shizuoka and Tokyo. Additionally, the concert in Nagoya seems to have been moved from the NTK Hall to the Aichi Arts Center.

As for the world premiere of a-ha – The Movie, that event has also been moved to next year: 22 April 2021 at Colosseum Cinema in Oslo (rescheduled from 26.11.20).

Here are the new dates for 2021 so far:

20 January: Civic Hall, Fukuoka, Japan (rescheduled from 14.03.20)
22 January: Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan (rescheduled from 16.03.20)
23 January: City Culture Hall, Shizuoka, Japan (New show added)
25 January: Tokyo Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan (rescheduled from 10.03.20)
26 January: Tokyo Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan (rescheduled from 11.03.20)
28 January: Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya, Japan (rescheduled from 17.03.20)
30 January: Tokyo Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan (New show added)

16 April: Partille Arena, Gothenburg, Sweden (rescheduled from 20.11.20)
17 April: Royal Arena, Copenhagen, Denmark (rescheduled from 21.11.20)
19 April: O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic (rescheduled from 28.10.20)
21 April: Forest National, Brussels, Belgium (rescheduled from 17.11.20)
23 April: Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway (rescheduled from 27.11.20)
24 April: Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway (rescheduled from 28.11.20)
26 April: DNB Arena, Stavanger, Norway (rescheduled from 24.11.20)
29 April: Arena Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany (rescheduled from 05.11.20)
30 April: Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany (rescheduled from 02.11.20)

02 May: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Germany (rescheduled from 06.11.20)
03 May: Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg, Germany (rescheduled from 03.11.20)
05 May: AFAS Live, Amsterdam, Netherlands (rescheduled from 18.11.20)
06 May: Lanxess Arena, Cologne, Germany (rescheduled from 31.10.20)
09 May: Le Zenith, Paris, France (rescheduled from 30.10.20)
11 May: BIC, Bournemouth, UK (rescheduled from 10.11.20)
12 May: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, UK (rescheduled from 11.11.20)
14 May: The SSE Arena, Wembley, London, UK (rescheduled from 14.11.20)
15 May: Utilita Arena, Birmingham, UK (rescheduled from 13.11.20)

Please visit a-ha.com for more info on ticket sales and refunds.

Magne releases “Troubled Times”

Single cover

Magne has recorded a new cover version of the song “Troubled Times” as a tribute to Fountains Of Wayne and the recent passing of Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID-19 complications on 1 April. The song was originally included on the American band’s second album Utopia Parkway in 1999.

Initially posted on Instagram as a preview on 24 April and full version on 8 May, Magne’s version was officially released last Friday, 19 June, along with a music video featuring contributions from fans.

To promote the song, Magne was a guest on the NRK P1 radio show Nitimen on Friday. The audio is available here (starts at 10:34), and a picture from his visit was posted on Instagram.

“Fountains Of Wayne is a band that I used to listen to a lot, and was inspired by as a songwriter. (…) When this happened, I went back and re-listened to many of those songs. “Troubled Times” is a beautiful song that in a way describes the situation that we’ve all found ourselves in”, Magne says in the interview.

In early May, Magne asked fans to help him put together a collage video for the song, which sparked a lot of creative feedback:

“I asked for short video clips, but ended up getting all kinds of stuff. I think we had to go through 500-600 submissions. (…) It was impossible to include all of them, but we’ve tried to put together something that reflects the times that we’ve been through – and still are in the middle of – and I think [the video] has turned out to be both touching and humorous.”

As we know, the a-ha tour was put on hold back in March because of the current pandemic:

“We were at the airport in New Zealand, ready to fly to Tokyo, when everything was shut down. Instead we had to fly back home [to Norway] on short notice, and went into a two-week quarantine. This was supposed to have been a big touring year for a-ha around the world, but that’s all been postponed now”, Magne says.

As for summer exhibitions, Magne will only be doing a couple of them this year, including a solo exhibition at Galleri Nicolines Hus in Kragerø from 18 July – 1 August.

He was also supposed to be this year’s festival artist during the annual Petter Dass literature festival in Alstahaug, Norway. But that festival, along with Magne’s participation, has been postponed to June 2021 instead.

Magne in Feelgood magazine

Magazine cover

Magne is on the cover of the latest issue of Norwegian culture magazine Feelgood (#1/2020).

Inside there’s a 12-page interview about his career within music and arts, written by Erik Valebrokk, which was done in late January.

Here are a few translated quotes regarding a-ha:
————–
Do you think [a-ha] will be recording any new music?

– Everybody keep asking about that, but I don’t see any need for that whatsoever. It’s the thing that wears us out. Having to collaborate on music pulls at the destructive sides of our relationship. We have come to have such different viewpoints and very diverging versions of our own history.

What do you think about Cast In Steel, the last a-ha album so far?

– To put it this way, I’m glad we made it. I really am. Then again, I tend to be happy about everything we’ve done together, regardless whether it was bad or good, because it always leads to something, it becomes a document of a certain time in some way or other.”
————–
Magne also mentions that he’s currently having “big ideas” about the Julia Pastrana opera that’s been in the works for quite some time. The song “Julia”, the first new Apparatjik release in eight years, was released on 20 March.

The magazine can be ordered from feelgoodmagasin.no. The price is 259 kr (£22), which includes shipping within Norway. It’s also available at Narvesen stores.

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