Every Moment Counts—AIDS and its Feelings brings together 60 international artists and over 200 works. The exhibition will reestablish the discussion on the complex historical as well as contemporary representations of HIV/AIDS.
Taking its title from a series of color prints by photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989), Every Moment Counts–AIDS and its Feelings presents works from 1982 until today, including several new productions. In addition to focusing on queer culture, the exhibition also assesses the contribution of the arts to periods of intense social and political crisis.
Curated according to a broad range of differing “emotional qualities” the exhibition presents an entanglement of aesthetic research, political activism, personal experiences, and theoretical analysis. The exhibited works manifest how artists responded to the HIV/AIDS pandemic along the lines of themes including love and death, hope and resignation, intimacy and the body. Also rage and desire, care and healing, spirituality, and protection; mourning and memory, vulnerability and power, sex, politics, and activism.
Every Moment Counts—AIDS and its Feelings captures the powerful sense of urgency that artists experienced in response to the tragedy of AIDS, but more than anything else, the poetics of life and its feelings expressed by their works. As we grapple with another epidemic today, many of the issues presented in the works have the potential to add new layers of meaning.
As a backdrop to the exhibition, the year 2022 is significant. It marks fifty years since the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in Norway when paragraph 213 in the Norwegian Penal Code was lifted. This has led several Norwegian art institutions to address relevant issues as part of a national Queer Culture Year.
Limited to sexual conduct between men, the change in legislation not only contributed to legitimizing sexual difference, but also had cultural, social and political repercussions. The repeal of paragraph 213 preceded the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s. Granting juridical recognition to the widest spectrum of the Norwegian population abated the stigmatization of so-called “risk groups” and encouraged more inclusive prevention education programs in the 1990s.