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What do you know about Nordic art? If your knowledge begins and ends with Bjork we suggest checking out “Nordic Outbreak,” an exhibition illuminating the Northern region’s influences and aesthetics.
The Streaming Museum exhibition features over 30 moving image works from Nordic artists that will be projected on screens in public spaces throughout New York City — including a “Midnight Moment” with Bjork in Times Square.
Many of the works on display that were selected by co-curators Nina Colosi and Tanya Toft respond to the clashing identities in our new digital age. We reached out to Toft to learn more. Interview continues after the slideshow.
HP: The press release for the show mentions the stereotypical Nordic aesthetic as “minimal, melancholic and naturalist”… something this exhibition aims to change. Which artists were influential in casting Nordic art this way?
TT: An artist like Olafur Eliasson is a contemporary Nordic artist whose work with light, space, fog and sensitive play with colors of nature’s elements, reveal an aura of something Nordic. It conveys certain aesthetic ideas that reveal symptoms of romanticism and a seeking after the sublime rather than the beautiful. There is a melancholic feel to that meeting between man and nature, which we also find in the works of Jesper Just for example, who is in the Nordic Outbreak program with his work “Llano” (2012). In selecting the works for Nordic Outbreak, we were also interested in renegotiations of nature and landscape, which artists like Dodda Maggy, QNQ/AUJIK, Jette Ellgaard and Magnus Sigurdarson enact.
HP: Do you think there is a more accurate driving aesthetic of Nordic culture today? If so, what is it?
TT: I don’t think there is one driving aesthetic, but the artworks in Nordic Oubreak show symptoms of improvisation and play, which is somewhat “new” in a Nordic art context that might have been characterized more by control and high quality.
Some of the artworks express aesthetic cultures that were not “born” out of a Nordic context. There is a struggle between introspection and extroversion –- following a right wing and nationalist political period in some of the Nordic countries up through the 2000s, financial crisis, and in response to the digital age. There seems to be a clash between looking in and looking out, guarding and departing. In quite a few of these works, existential questions are brought beyond the invidividual and psyche –- which has been a tendency, perhaps –- and pointed toward one’s role in a greater context.
It is also characteristic that these artists express and awareness of the medium they are working with, and in many of the works the audience is addressed as individual viewers whose optics are shaped in a contemporary world. That we find in the works by for example Marit Følstad, Mogens Jacobsen, and Iselin Linstad Hauge.
Read full interview on Huffington Post