If summer is the season of music festivals, then autumn is like an overripe pumpkin, bursting from an overabundance of art festivals. Starting already in mid-August and lasting all the way through to the beginning of October, we've boldly marked the dates in your calendar with events in Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, Copenhagen and even Stockholm – where we've highlighted two must-see shows, the heavy-weights of this festival list. So get packing!
Survival Kit 4 Festival Tabakas fabrika, Riga September 6 – 16, 2012
The art festival Survival Kit, going on in Riga from September 6 to 16 and in its fourth year now, has announced that its annual theme will be “downshifting”. Organized by theContemporary Art Center of Latvia, the central axis of the festival is a life-style movement that has gained popularity world-wide. “Downshifting” is taken to mean slowing down the pace of daily life so that one can fully experience that which is truly important. In this era of pulsating information-overload, where daily life has become akin to a wildly spinning carousel, the idea to lower the speed is a refreshing “oasis” for all. The “HQ” for the festival will be Tabakas fabrika, where more than 40 artists from Latvia and around the world will assemble to present their solutions, paraphrases and interpretations based on the theme of “downshifting”.
Participants include Agency (aka Kobe Mathyss, Belgium), Jaime Pitarch (Spain), Jussi Kivi (Finland), Nira Pereg (Israel), and Camilla Berner (Denmark), among others. Representing Latvia will be Alnis Stakle, Kristīne Alksne, Artūrs Punte, Kristīne Želve, Aija Bley, Izolde Cēsniece, and many more. For the first time, the festival will also take place in venues in the Latvian cities of Sigulda, Aizpute and Tukums.
Culture Factory Polymer Festival Culture Factory Polymer, Tallinn August 24 – September 2, 2012
For several years now, Tallinn's former soviet-era toy factory, Polymer, has become home to artist studios, rehearsal rooms for musicians, and even concert halls. From August 24 through September 2 the venue will host the annual contemporary art event Culture Factory Polymer Festival. During this week, the one-time factory will become a beehive of activity, featuring all types of contemporary art media. Just some of the planned events are various exhibitions, Estonia's contemporary performances New and Screwable, design shops, live music and DJ shows, lectures, creative workshops, dance performances, among others. The 3000 square-foot space occupied by the Culture Factory Polymer promises to be the end-of-summer hot-spot for multidisciplinary culture.
Mindaugas Triennial Contemporary Art Center (CAC), Vilnius August 24 – September 9, 2012
As part of the 11th International Baltic Art Triennial (taking place from August 24 to September 9), Vilnius' Contemporary Art Center (CAC) is set to become a junction of creative thought and action by featuring a program that they have renamed as the Mindaugas* Triennial, after the most popular male name in Lithuania. With such a title, the project's “face” has been reduced to a simple, humanistic entity whose personal boundaries have transformed into a mediator between the artists and viewers. The Triennial is being organized by two curators from Rotterdam and London (Defne Ayas & Benjamin Cook), who have put the program together with the NewYork-based Lithuanian artists Ieva Misevičiūte and Michael Portnoy. Among the participants will be the Nordic artist super-star – Ragnar Kjartansson.
*The name Mindaugas literally means “much glory”, or “he who has many ideas”
Copenhagen Art Festival August 24 – September 2, 2012
Starting August 24 and lasting through September 2, the Copenhagen Art Festival has an especially promising program planned, and the exhibitions opened during the festival-proper will continue to go on throughout the autumn. Invited international artists, in cooperation with activists from the local contemporary art scene, will address issues on the meaning of “community today”. Although the focus of the festival is to study and challenge the terms governing the creation of a community, the organizers have not forgotten that this is, first and foremost, a festival of contemporary art. The Festival will occupy the streets and squares, Copenhagen's downtown (including the freetown of Christiana), and the city's greatest centers of contemporary art: Charlottenborg Kunsthal, Copenhagen's contemporary art center Nikolay, the contemporary art center Den Frie, the Overgaden contemporary art institute, and GL STRAND. Looks like the time has come to take a trip to Denmark!
Mike Nelson – 408 tons of imperfect geometry Malmö Konsthall, Malme August 18 – October 21, 2012
From August 18 to October 21, the architecture of Malmö Konsthall will be in the hands of British artist Mike Nelson (1967), one of the most notable installation artists and sculptors of his generation. In 2011, he was the creator of Britain's national exposition at the 54th Venice Art Biennial, boasting one of the longest lines of the whole fair. A completely new work has been constructed in Malmö, specially made for this Swedish art space. A glass wall divides the piece into two parts – a small workshop and an exhibition hall. Nelson uses the institution's architecture as a backdrop for a concrete workshop in which a 408 ton-heavy net has been made, constructed in cast iron and concrete, and formed into geometric characters; the symbols depicted therein have been copied from ancient religious artifacts. Although the meaning of the work is not clearly defined, the hypnotic repetition of the patterns allows it to be felt in meditative and sensory ways. The 408 ton concrete and iron web has been woven in a complicated but scientifically sound manner, so as to be safely supported by the wooden floor of Malmö Art-space.
Picasso/Duchamp Moderna Museet, Stockholm August 25, 2012 – March 3, 2013
In putting on view the gems of their collection, Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art has set up the playing field for an unprecedented duel between two of the biggest aces in modern art. The exhibition “Picasso/Duchamp” will be open August 25 through March 3rd of 2013. Both of the artists – Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) – influenced the direction in which art has developed, and are deemed to be the most instrumental artists of the 20th century. Staying true to each one's uniqueness, they lived relatively close to one another in terms of time, but their paths never crossed and their creative conceptions and expressions pulsed in independent orbits. Only after the death of Duchamp did Picasso laconically comment on the work of his colleague by saying: “He was wrong”. The exhibition “Picasso/Duchamp” once again gives spark to two huge powerhouses, who meet for the first time in duet.
Wolfgang Tillman Moderna Musset, Stockholm October 6, 2012 – January 20, 2013
The German photographer Wolfgang Tillman (1968) is seen as one of the leading photographers of his generation. From October 6 through January 20 of 2013, his works will be put on view for the first time on such a large scale in Sweden, in Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art. The solo show will also include a retrospective of his works from the last 20 years. Featured will be portraits and still-lifes that Tillman has developed in various directions throughout his practice, as well as large-scale abstract compositions. These, in turn, reflect the artist's flirtation with the boundaries of the medium, where the aesthetics of the image near those of the painterly tradition. They also reveal the artist's interest in not creating an image based on nature (the visible world), but rather on capturing the subject's inner condition – a self-reflection. In addition to the above-mentioned axes of Tillman's creations, one must mention his singular approach to every exhibition. Tillman carefully chooses the method of exhibiting his works according to the conditions dictated by the location and the images themselves. At the Moderna Museet, the photographs will be exhibited in a completely darkened room – as “bringers of light”. This way, viewers will have the opportunity to not only acquaint themselves with the art of Wolfgang Tillman, but to also experience the process in which a unified character appears through the interaction of light and image.