The Most Interesting Spring Exhibitions in Scandinavia
Asger Jorn: Restless Rebel Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen Through June 1, 2014
Asger Jorn (1914-1973), one of the most notable and expressive personalities of the 20th century Danish art scene, is an indelible part of not only Denmark's, but also Europe's art history. Permeated with anti-capitalistic ideas and yearnings for freedom, his political views were an essential part of his artistic oeuvre; critical thinking was also heavily emphasized. Jorn's artistic activities were also tightly linked to the avant garde movements in European art – he was one of the framers of the COBRA art movement founded in Paris in 1948, the members of which later became the core of L'Internazionale Situazionista.
Jorn used a very wide spectrum of artistic forms of expression. Constantly searching for life's truths, he at various times turned to sculpture, painting, ceramics, architecture and photography, as well as that classic form of self-expression, writing. This is an exhibition that not only reveals Jorn's vibrant, multifaceted personality and body of work in all of their vivacity, but it also gives us a good look at the era upon which the contemporary cultural scene has been built. The showing has been organized with the cooperation of Museum Jorn in Silkeborg, in honor of what would have been the artist's 100th birthday.
Together Kiasma, Helsinki May 16 – September 7, 2014
Ask any Finn what do they associate the design of the 1960s with, and most will name the Marimekko home textile and women's fashion line featuring the bright, stylized flowers designed by Maija Isola and the finely striped textures created by Vuokko Nurmesniemi. A popular memory for everyone is of the time that Jacqueline Kennedy bought seven flowered dressed at one sitting. Thanks to Mrs. Kennedy, Marimekko landed on the pages of about 400 newspapers and magazines around the world, instantly becoming an internationally-known label. TheNew York Times has asserted that the clothing and home textiles of this design style are not associated with just one manufacturer, but with a specific era in time – the 1960s.
The exhibition “Together”, co-produced by the Kiasma contemporary art museum and Marimekko, is a coming together of Finnish contemporary art, design and fashion. Sixteen artists were invited to freely create an artwork of their choice: some have used Marimekko textiles in unusual ways and have put them through technological processes, while others have looked towards similarities in the worlds of design and art in their search for the source of inspiration for the trend.
Jaanika Peerna’s solo exhibition of drawing, video and installation ”advancing - retreating” Aarni Gallery, Espoo April 15 – May 11, 2014
Aarni Gallery is proud to announce the first solo exhibition of Estonian-born New York artist Jaanika Peerna in Finland. For the exhibition Jaanika Peerna is transforming the gallery space into an all-encompassing site specific installation using large scale graphite drawing on mylar, sculptural wall pieces, wax pigment drawings, window drawing and video projection.
Peerna’s skillfully made dense surfaces of straight line drawings and video footage of natural phenomena turn into enveloping sculptural forms which every gallery visitor can navigate and explore from various vantage points. Drawings vary in scale from tiny 10x10cm to vast room-size surfaces which playfully integrate into the gallery space creating a sense of walking amidst canyons and flowing rivers. The borders between drawing, sculpture and video melt away—Peerna’s work is pushed by a strong sense of physical presence whether drawing in her studio, performing live, filming in the outdoors, or in the creation of her atmospheric exhibition designs.
Jaanika Peerna is an Estonian-born artist living and working in New York since 1998. Her work deals with transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena using drawing, video, installation and live performance.
MADE IN SÁPMI Västerbotten Museum, Umeå Through May 18, 2014
Handmade objects made from leather, wool and fur, and decorated with Scandinavian ornamentation in blue, red and white – this is undeniably the work of the Sámi, an ancient and rich culture that reveres its close ties to nature. Umeå, which shares with Riga the title of European Capital of Culture for 2014, lies in the region of Sweden inhabited by the Sámi. Cognizant of the culture's uniqueness and archaism, it is being especially honored by the city this year. All of the Capital of Culture events happening in Umeå this year have been specially arranged according to the Sámi calendar, one of its main tenets being the division of the calendar year into eight seasons.
In this exhibition at the Västerbotten Museum, one can learn about cultural development and assimilation processes that the Sámi have gone through, as well as what today's world looks like through the eyes of the Sámi. Both authentic objects and modern-day interpretations of them are featured; it is an impressive story of the Sámi people, and the first time that it is being so comprehensively presented to the rest of Europe.
Swedish Picture Book of the Year Bildmuseet, Umeå Through May 4, 2014
The Bildmuseet is hosting an exhibit on the children's book “Whereof One Speaks to Rabbits” (Om detta dtalar man endast med kaniner), the latest publication by Swedish author and illustrator Anna Höglund. A fragile and sensitive work, it analyzes the period in life when “the caterpillar turns into a butterfly” – a time full of uncertainty, apprehension and naivety. The main character of the sweetly-and-sorrowfully illustrated “Whereof One Speaks to Rabbits” is a rabbit – symbolizing a child – who is about to enter the realm of adulthood and is frightened, yet curious. It is a dusky and lonely environment in which the confused rabbit wanders, and the poetic words and illustrations bring encouragement to everyone – both children and adults alike. The book is the recipient of the Snöbollen award – The Swedish Picture Book of the Year, which has the aim of recognizing the role of illustrated books as an art medium.
Anna Höglund is a well-known Swedish writer and illustrator, and has received several awards during her career.
Nils Dardel and The Modern Age Moderna Museet, Stockholm From May 29 through September 14, 2014
One of the most expensive paintings in Swedish art history has a rather surreal, spiritual and fatalistic nature about it, and gives off allusions to Oscar Wilde's legendary “Dorian Gray”. The young dandy has collapsed to the floor, a mirror tightly grasped in one hand, while a group of supernaturally calm women hover about him. “The Dying Dandy” was sold at auction in the early 80s for 3.4 million Swedish kroner – at the time, the largest sum ever paid for a Swedish artwork.
Nils von Darde (1888-1943) was an aristocratic dandy who liked to spend his time with the kind of people who congregated in the salons of Stockholm and Paris. He thoroughly savored the cosmopolitan environment and jazz era of early twentieth-century Paris, and the relationship between modern man and the world became one of the themes of his painting. He was deeply inspired by post-impressionism, the clean colors of Fauvism, and Japanese woodcuts.
Over time, the people von Darde met during his travels took on an increasingly important role in his later works.
Lena Svedberg: Moment Moderna Museet, Stockholm From May 17 through October 12, 2014
The Swedish artist Lena Svedberg (1946-1974), often likened to Hieronymus Bosch, did not have a long life. She, and her art, were a vivid and exceptional phenomenon that criticized the political and economic systems of their time. Her work, “Mr. Aldermann – Superhero of the Universe” (1960), which will be put on display at Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art at the end of May, was created for the Paris Biennale. The anti-hero depicted was active in the epicenter of 1960s debates on politics and economics – the Middle East. Svedberg's works teem with grotesques, and the color black has been courageously taken advantage of.
During her lifetime, Svedberg was mostly known through her work in the underground publication “PUSS” (1968-1974), and she ultimately suffered an early death due to a drug overdose. Svedberg's dramatic life was portrayed on film in 2000's “I Met Lena Svedberg”, as directed by her colleague, Carl Johan De Geer.
Sharon Lockhart Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm April 16 through June 29, 2014
The internationally-renown American artist, Sharon Lockhart, squarely places humans and society in the center of her creative work, showing them in various aspects of daily life. Her minimalistic and ascetic works are full of emotion, which is probably why people have been so interested in following her work for more than twenty years now. One of Lockhart's instruments is the anthropological method – she ingrains herself into the society of her subjects, thereby becoming a part of it. The result is moving photographic stories about “regular life”: a girl in the Polish city of Lodz, and her dreams; a girls' basketball team in a small village outside of Tokyo; workers chatting about the latest news during their lunch-break spent among the hulks of large shipping containers.
Pussy Riot and the Cossacks Havremagasinet Art Center, Boden June 6 through September 28, 2014
The curator of this exhibition is the Russian art historian, Andrey Yerofeyev. If it weren't for Andrey Yerofeyev, there would be no contemporary art in Russia – is how the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph once described him. Today, one rarely sees his name without the accompanying adjective of “scandalous” – a reference to the incident in 2007 when he was sued for curating the exhibition, “Forbidden Art”.
At the focus of “Pussy Riot and the Cossacks” is the notion of freedom, something that has become quite topical in the context of recent political events. The name of the exhibition comes from the incident during the Sochi Olympic Games in which the women of “Pussy Riot” were attacked by Cossacks. The works featured in this show illustrate protest art, starting with the art of Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid, and ending with the spectacles organized by “Pussy Riot”.
Grip friheten! Take Liberty! Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo April 11– August 10, 2014
Ai Weiwei gives authorities the finger in Study of Perspective, Susan Hiller collects one hundred protest and freedom songs in Die Gedanken sind frei, Marianne Heier smashes a Moelven module in the installation Dear Friends and Rirkrit Tiravanija makes sausages filled with shredded copies of Thailand’s constitution in Freedom cannot be simulated. These are among the works the public will encounter in the international group exhibition “Take Liberty!”, which is the latest of the National Museum’s five bicentennial 1814 exhibitions.
The exhibition “Take Liberty!” features works by artists who express explicit and personal struggles for freedom. Each of these struggles is distinctive. What unifies the nearly 130 works of art in the exhibition is their focus on the individual’s aspirations for freedom and a desire for community and solidarity.
The exhibition reflects on, interprets and comments the philosophical and political ideals from 1814 in a contemporary perspective. Many of the exhibited works relate to issues around the freedom of expression. The artists are concerned about the opportunities and the perils of expressing oneself in a world which continues to be plagued by systematic violations of human rights.
Some of the contributors highlight problems, whereas others express positive perspectives and dreams of greater diversity. The revolutionary spirit we have seen in the numerous popular uprisings round the world in the past few years is also perceptible in many of the exhibition’s works.
Mortnen Krohg: Amerika Kunsthall Oslo, Oslo Through April 27, 2014
Morten Krohg (1937), who held his first solo show in 1960, is seen as one of the most notable artists in Norway to have strongly influenced the development of Norwegian art in the 20th century. He's called “the Norwegian Andy Warhol” because in every art medium that he's ever worked in – sculpture, painting, printmaking, collage and his own writings – he has tried to break the accepted rules. His works have always stood apart with their radical social view, their ridiculing of bureaucracy, and their anti-military stance. One of Krohg's recurrent targets has been America, which he criticized in the 1960s for its police brutality towards civil rights demonstrators, as well as for the bombing of civilian territories in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
The retrospective in Oslo features several textbook classics by Krohg, such as the installation “Do You Know How to Reach the Influential California Market?”, and the early work, “The Committee of Bureaucrats”.