Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Annar Bjørgli
  • 22 April 2023
  • The National Museum
  • 12.00–13.30 and 14.30–16.00

Discover what happens when three generations trace a path through the National Museum in the performance “Family”.

In the extensive presentation of the museum’s collection of art, architecture and design, the exhibits are interpreted through song – conjuring all the beauty, cruelty, humour, and thoughtfulness that art can convey. 

In this performance, a family explores the museum and its collection, singing the titles of the exhibits and rooms they encounter on the first and second floors. Visitors are invited to join them in their tour of the museum. No participation is required; the members of the family perform their composition undisturbed, an extra artwork for anyone willing to listen. 

Created by Italian-Belgian artist Francesca Grilli, “Family” is about time, as represented by the different generations and their voices. Through their interaction with the objects on display, which represent a period of three thousand years, the performance acquires an extended time dimension. 

“I like the idea of a family taking ownership of the museum. By celebrating their favourite exhibits in song, they themselves become part of the institution,” says Grilli. 
In 2021, Grilli together with the National Museum invited applications from families fond of singing. Any such family could apply, provided they could muster at least three generations. Exploring concepts such as love and community, “Family” is about more than just biological ties. 

The selected family has developed the composition together with Grilli and the composer Alessandra Bordiga. The result is a performance, uniquely adapted to the National Museum, performed by one family as they wander through the museum. 

The performance enfolds within a span of two years in the museum and emphasizes the passing of time. As the family members grow older, physical changes have occured in their voices, as well as relational changes both among themselves and toward the art.

The work premiered on 11 June, the day the museum first opened to the public. 

The artist’s team:

Francesca Grilli / artist 
Alessandra Bordiga / composer and voice coach 
Willy de Rooij / casting support 
Ettore Lombardi / styling 
Benno Steinegger / external observer 
Chiara Fava / administration 
Chiara Massari / production 
Elena Regazzoni / communications 
Supported by Corpoceleste