The act of being oblivious, 2023
Acrylic and oil on paper
29,7 x 40,7 cm

RUNA (aka Rute Norte)

RUNA aka Rute Norte’s “The Act of Being Oblivious” weaves a historical dialogue with the present, echoing the traditions of artists who traverse the liminal spaces between awareness and disregard. This acrylic and oil on paper piece, while modest in size, is vast in its conceptual reach, bridging the 19th-century avant-garde spirit with today’s multifaceted art scene. The painting serves as a testament to the enduring narrative of artists who stand at the periphery of institutional recognition yet command attention through the authentic language of their art. In this work, the past and present converge, challenging the audience to recognize the continual evolution of artistic valor and the evergreen struggle for artistic affirmation.

Receiving a rejection is never a pleasant experience, however, every artist understands that it is an inevitability. After all, the world of art is vast, with countless artists and themes, and it’s not feasible for everyone to achieve acceptance for every exhibition. In the case of this painting, I participated in a competition to exhibit it in a gallery in Washington, USA, as part of a group exhibition. The gallery director sent a friendly email, explaining that there were 263 applications, and that these submissions revealed that there is a great need to support artists with exhibition opportunities. Exactly for this reason I was very happy to see this painting chosen to be exhibited now in Berlin, at krautART ARTspace. It is a very interesting concept, that of the “Salon de Refusées”, for all the history it brings with it, since the 19th century. In 1863, works of art rejected in the official Paris salon were exhibited in this “Salon des Refusés”, and those rejected included painters such as Manet, Cézanne, Courbet, Pissarro, Whistler, among others. This Salon ended up becoming a crucial event in the development of contemporary art, by showcasing the avant-garde of the time, and by freeing artists from the judgment of a traditional jury. And behold, now in the 21st century we repeat the experience, and in Berlin several contemporary artists are exhibited, also rejected by other entities. It is a privilege for me to be part of this event, with a painting of mine, which is quite appropriate to the concept: “The Act of Being Oblivious”. The rejection of the works may reflect the jury’s inability to recognize innovation and genuine artistic expression, thus demonstrating a state of “oblivion”.

The public at this exhibition in Berlin can show an attitude identical to that of the public in 1863: there was a lot of curiosity at that time – the “Salon des Refusés” received more than a thousand spectators per day – and it could also arouse eventual derision. However, times have changed, mass access to higher education has become widespread, today it is easier for artists to grow, be educated and practice their art; opportunities have increased all over the world, so I would say that it is relatively common for an artist to receive refusals for his/her work. In 1863 the official Salon was one of the rare important events where artists could showcase their work, however, nowadays if an artist does not get an opportunity in one place, he/she can find it in another. It is up to us, artists, to act as our rejected counterparts of the 19th century did, and move forward.

– Runa (aka Rute Norte)


The "Salon de Refusées" is an art initiative inspired by the historic 1863 Paris exhibition. It's a platform celebrating female (read) artists who've faced rejection, turning exclusion into empowerment. Our project is dedicated to showcasing art in its most authentic form, creating a space where diverse voices and stories are seen and revered. Join us in this artistic uprising, where each piece adds to our resilience and the unyielding spirit of creativity.