Opens 2/12: Exhibition: Playing Pieces

Who collects, who decides – and how does this affect art history and our common cultural heritage? Explore 161 masterpieces by internationally recognised artists including Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Claude Monet, Nikolai Astrup, and Barbara Hepworth at KODE this winter! 

In Playing Pieces, visitors can see artworks that museum professionals in Norway have put at the top of their wish lists. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB is a charitable foundation, which, since 2005, has been investing heavily in the purchase of art in collaboration with Norwegian art museums. Loaned out on a long-term basis, these works complement museum collections, helping to establish new contexts and stories.

With art from the late 19th century to the present, this is an extensive exhibition. Here visitors will encounter works by the popular West-Norwegian painter, Nikolai Astrup, the pop artist Andy Warhol, the avant-garde Kurt Schwitters, who lived for a while in Norway, and many others, including German expressionists, American art photographers, and female pioneers.

Displayed over two floors in Permanenten, KODE 1, Playing Pieces uses innovative digital tools that let you engage with the art in new ways.

World-class art

The exhibition guides the visitor through the main themes around which the Savings Bank Foundation DNB has built its art collection. With 43 Norwegian and international artists, the exhibition is broad in scope.

20th-century greats such as Claude Monet, Nikolai Astrup, Peder Balke, and Harriet Backer are presented alongside a rich selection of works that illuminate the foundation’s focus on German expressionism, works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Gabriele Münter, and others.

A separate section is devoted to American art photographers, including Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon.

Who finds a place in Art history?

One of the exhibition’s leitmotifs is the question of how collecting art influences art history. Playing Pieces looks at different collaborations and changing views on what constitutes relevant art to explain why Norwegian museums tend to favour these particular artists.

One section is devoted to notable pioneers like Louise Bourgeois, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, and Barbara Hepworth, whose work has been acquired thanks to the foundation’s efforts to include more female artists in museum collections.

What stories are told through art, why are they told, and who tells them? Museums, artists, researchers, collectors, and politicians all move the playing pieces that make up the game of art history. Some of those pieces have been forgotten, while others have yet to be discovered.

About the exhibition

The exhibition can be seen at KODE 1, Permanenten, from 2 December to 12 March 2023. Exhibition opening: Friday 2 December at 19.00.

Playing Pieces is a collaboration between the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, MUNCH, and KODE. The exhibition was on display at MUNCH in the summer of 2022.

The exhibition is curated by Oda Wildhagen Gjessing of the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, and Nikita Mathias of MUNCH.


The exhibition is followed by an illustrated catalogue that elaborates on the collaboration between the Savings Bank Foundation DNB and Norwegian museums. 

In the catalogue, the curator Oda Wildhagen Gjessing accounts for the foundation’s collection history from 2005 and up to the present day by discussing the collection’s areas of focus, which have also informed how the exhibition itself has been set up. Jorunn Veiteberg critically discusses the relationship between private foundations and public museums, while Reesa Greenberg looks at this type of collection activity from an international perspective. The catalogue’s editor is Heidi Bale Amundsen from MUNCH.

The catalogue will be on sale in KODE’s various reception areas during the exhibition period. 


Project management: Mathis Junker Gran (MUNCH) and Tove Haugsbø (KODE)
Exhibition design: Nissen Richard Studio, London
Sound design: Yoke
Light design: ZNA
Production: Spekta, Copenhagen 

  • 2 Dec 2022 to 12 Mar 2023
  • Kode 1