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Charles Richardson. Vanish. 2016. Photo: Charles Richardson

A selection of the most significant exhibitions for the spring and summer months of the year 2017: the Nordic countries 0

Elina Ije

While the northern winds are still one step ahead of the approaching summer, a richly varied spring/summer programme of art exhibitions is already under way full blast in the Nordic region. The most exciting stops along the way definitely include Anselm Kiefer’s toys ‒ authentic military planes that have ‘landed’ at Copenhagen Contemporary. The solo exhibition of Tal R, currently the most brilliant as well as productive of Danish artists, will complete the trilogy of contemporary painting at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. And the Belgian artist Carsten Höller will prescribe the viewer an inspiring treatment at the ‘sanatorium’ of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.

Wake up your inner art lover compass and set it on direction North. The Nordic art agenda will navigate your choice.


Mark Leckey: He Thrusts His Fists against the Posts but Still Insists He Sees the Ghosts
National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

Through 3.09.2017

Mark Leckey. Pearl Vision. 2012. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise 

From 4 May through 3 September 2017, the Turner Prize-winning British artist Mark Leckey’s exhibition ‘He Thrusts His Fists against the Posts but Still Insists He Sees the Ghosts’ goes on view at the x-rummet experimental venue of the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK).

Using a collage-montage technique, Mark Leckey combines found footage of nightlife and popular culture in Great Britain in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This odyssey through pop culture, historical and autobiographical events sees the artist visit specific sources and fixations.

Leckey’s most extensive solo exhibition in Denmark to date, the show presents a selection of mixed media works, as well as a new quasi-autobiographical sound installation created specifically for x-rummet.


Anselm Kiefer
Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen

Through 6.08.2017

Anselm Kiefer's show publicity photo. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Through 6 August 2017, the German artist Anselm Kiefer’s show of large-scale paintings and sculptures ‘For Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Voyage au bout de la nuit’ is presented at the Copenhagen Contemporary art space. Four sculptures ‒ 1:1 lead models of authentic military planes, scarred in air battles ‒ are going on public view for the first time ever.

Over the course of the fifty years of his artistic career, the artist has mostly found inspiration in the zigzags of historical events, as well as in literature and poetry, astronomy and religion. Since the 1980s, Kiefer has been busy amassing a collection of second hand readymades. And now four battered plane wrecks fill the 1500-mexhibition space at Copenhagen Contemporary. The allegoric sculptures are juxtaposed with a series of equally monumentally-sized paintings. Up to 6-metre-tall and 11-metre-wide, the works contain references to the artist’s 1993 series of photographs taken in the Gobi Desert, also bringing to mind a scene from the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann’s novel ‘The Book of Franza’ (1955) in which the protagonist unsuccessfully tries to find some peace of mind in the barren desert.


Tal R: Academy
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk

20.05.2017- 10.09.2017

Tal R. The Bend. (Fragment.) 2016

Over the last decade, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has been carefully following the career of the Danish artist Tal R, marking each new turning point with a new addition to its collection of the artist’s works. The collection comprises examples of his early painting dating from circa 1996, collages, sculptures, drawings, some 30 art books and a number of quite recent and previously unexhibited works.

The title of the Danish artist’s solo exhibition – ‘Academy’ ‒ should be taken as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek provocation: his typically ‘lone wolf’ approach to art is not ‘academic’ in the slightest, completely relying on natural impulses instead. This overview of works spanning the last twenty years has been arranged without any regard for the chronological order, zigzagging forward and backward in time between the present day and 1996. Physically, the exhibition is something similar to a mixed media collage of a single artist’s works.

According to exhibition curator for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Anders Kold, there are three aspects that make this show special. Firstly, it is the 2005 large-scale work entitled ‘House of Prince’ that almost literally sucks the viewer in, completely absorbing their attention. He describes the work, a mosaic of 194 smaller paintings, as a wonderful example of ‘non-academic’ painting that completely ignores any classically ‘correct’ attempts to depict the panorama. Secondly, Kold mentions the forty sculptures housed in the vast gallery of the museum, personally arranged by the artist. The curator believes that it is the artist who has the insight necessary to determine the right interaction between the objects. The third aspect of the exhibition named by Kold is the latest almost Dadaist word paintings by Tal R.


The Great Graphic Boom
The National Gallery, Oslo

Through 28.05.2017

Andy Warhol. Jackie II. 1965. Photo: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

The decades following the Second World War brought a number of significant changes to the American political and social life, as well as the country’s culture scene. Nuclear weapons; the Vietnam War; the hippies. Colour TV and washing machine in every household. The flourishing Hollywood; exiled artists from Europe; abstract expressionism and the neon-bright Pop Art. New short-lived trends and influential art movements that resonated throughout the world, making an impact in Norway among other countries, formed in the art circles. The print and drawing exhibition on view at the Oslo National Gallery is looking back at this period with particular emphasis on the 1960s, a time of renaissance for these media.

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Nature: Doing, Undoing and Redoing by Louise Bourgeois
Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker

21.05.2017- 8.10.2017

Louise Bourgeois. 
Mamelles. 2000. Photo: Christopher Burke

On 21 may 2017, Kistefos-Museet opens its door to an exhibition by Louise Bourgeois entitled ‘Human Nature: Doing, Undoing and Redoing’. The show provides an insight into the great artist’s oeuvre, notable for the way in which she, through the lens of her personal experience, makes the viewer explore the scars acquired in their own life. Rise and fall, self-examination and resurrection from ruins are essential stages of every human being’s emotional processes that help find inner strength, move forward and carry on building relationships with other people. Similar cycles of regress and progress, fundamentally important for the circle of life. The exhibition clearly states that nature and man are interrelated and mutually complementing elements with similar features and conditions. 


Carsten Höller: Henie Onstad Sanatorium
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden

12.05.2017- 10.09.2017

Carsten Höller. 
Double Neon Elevator. Henie Onstad Sanatorium exhibition's publicity photo

If there is a contemporary artist with the ability to transport the viewer to a different reality in an instant, it is the Belgian Carsten Höller. Between 12 May and 10 September, the Henie Onstad Art Centre will transform into a unique sanatorium for recreation and recuperation, headed by Superintendent Höller personally. Holding a degree in natural sciences, Carsten Höller in his art practice turns to studies of human perception, consciousness and self-exploration. Many of his previous projects involved significant interaction with the viewer. This time being no exception, exhibition-goers visiting the Henie Onstad Art Centre can expect an encounter with a number of unseen and unexperienced experimental devices, with the help of which the artist will continue to study the viewers’ behaviour, perception and logic.

Carsten Höller. Roaming BedsHenie Onstad Sanatorium exhibition's publicity photo

The concept of one of the most keenly anticipated contraptions, ‘Two Roaming Beds’, is the product of collaboration between Carsten Höller, the Henie Onstad Art Centre and Lysebu Hotel. Art aficionados quick enough to book accommodation in one of the two robot-beds, will be able to enjoy a slow tour of the exhibition in a reclining position, simultaneously leaving their own trace in the gallery rooms. 


Golden Sunset
Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Through 30.12.2017

Julia Peirone. 
Golden Sunset. 2016. © Julia Peirone

An exhibition that overviews the latest developments in Swedish photography is on view at the Stockholm Moderna Museet until the end of the year.

The authors of the featured works demonstrate a new approach to the century-old medium, posing the question of photography as a construct.

Digitalisation has radically changed the way in which pictures are created, manipulated and shared. The traditions of documentary and narrative photography live on as hybrid forms in which visuality and reality have become hard to separate from each other.

Curator of the exhibition Magnus af Petersens reveals that most of the represented artists are making their debut at Moderna Museet – and that a large part of the works are very recent or even created with the concept of the show in mind. The curator personally makes a special mention of the lasting impact of the photographs by Julia Peirone and the complex and visually powerful photo tapestries by the conceptual photographer Mirjam Bäckström.


Young Swedish Design 2017
ArkDes, Stockholm

Through 9.07.2017

Evelina Kollberg. 
Human TrapYoung Swedish Design 2017 exhibition's publicity photo

Through 9 July 2017, the travelling exhibition of the annual Young Swedish Design Award is on show at ArkDes, Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design. A presentation of the currently most impressive works by Swedish designers, the show is also remarkable for its progressive approach, namely, the notion that creativity demands a platform for free experimenting, playing with ideas and let the sketches speak, without the necessity to adapt to the market or create political design. Another, equally important role of the exhibition is informing the public about innovative trends in Swedish industrial design and handicrafts.


Kiasma, Helsinki

Through 14.01.2018

Charles Richardson
Vanish. 2016. Photo: Charles Richardson

Internet and digitalisation have radically changed the everyday life of the contemporary society, influencing our work routine, becoming part of our recreation activities, dominating the cultural and economic processes and changing the ways in which interact and communicate. Internet has become a platform where identities are being constructed, both deliberately and unconsciously, and emotions expressed. Inevitably, the digital revolution has also influenced the art practice.

The 2017 edition of the ARS international contemporary art exhibition, dedicated to the subject of the digital revolution, presents the approach of the millennial artists to creating contemporary art.