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1976, Oslo. Lives in New York City.

‘The World Is Yours’ reads the message from a sign located on the rooftop of the Deniz Palas in Şişhane, Beyoğlu. Einarsson’s contribution to the Biennial is a promise so hollow that it verges on cruelty. With the obvious shortcomings of its offer, the sign addresses a key element of any biennial: the naïve notion of self-empowerment.
Taking the film Scarface (1983) as his starting point, Einarsson appropriates the credo of the main character Tony Montana. Arriving in Miami with nothing, the Cuban refugee Montana ruthlessly builds up the city’s strongest drug empire of the early 1980s. The World Is Yours declares the self-made and hard-working Montana’s right to what the world has to offer him: a lifestyle and mindset in line with that of the young male yuppies of the decade.
Introduced to the context of the Biennial, the slogan both nurses a sense of entitlement and serves as a dark greeting. At a time when the production and distribution of art is becoming ever more geographically decentralised and no single city can rightly claim to be the capital of contemporary art, any city whatsoever is free to place itself at centre-stage. The slogan equally greets the city’s aspirations of self-empowerment and the artists’ idea of the biennial as a career opportunity. More than simply addressing the notion of the biennial as a ‘discovery channel’ for young artists, Einarsson’s work implies the question of whether the periphery is able to challenge the centre, or whether the periphery still has to follow the discourse of the centre, or come to the centre in search of legitimisation.

Eivind Furnesvik


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