GUIDE / NORDIC ART

”Most Nordic galleries can offer a high international quality, regardless of their size”

SARA BERNER BENGTSSON
On Nordic galleries and museums for the art fanatic.
June 17, 2021

Sara is the Managing Director of Market Art Fair, an art fair in the Nordic region originally initiated in 2006. Galleries in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden showcase an exclusive selection of art on the Nordic scene, focusing on solo projects as well as carefully curated presentations. Market Art Fair is now making its comeback bewtween 17—19 September at Liljevalchs Konsthall, after a two-year-long hiatus. 

My favourite thing that makes me proud of the Nordic art industry: 

Firstly, the artists. There are so many talented Nordic artists that have been successful internationally, and many more that have the potential to be. Secondly, the galleries. Most Nordic galleries only have a handful of employees and very limited resources and you can still experience exhibitions of a very high international quality in all of the Nordic capitals, and beyond. 

My favourite city escape for art:

I would recommend a joint visit to explore the art scene of Copenhagen and Malmö. The distances in the region are so short so you could easily include visits to Louisiana or Arken Museum of Modern Art (both just outside Copenhagen), and see what’s on view outside of Malmö as well (in the summer, check out Fabriken or Kivik Art Centre, both in Österlen). And eat at Lyran when you’re in Malmö!

Nordic artists I want to highlight:

Ragnar Kjartansson, Christine Ödlund, Lap-See Lam, Anna Zacharoff and Jarl Ingvarsson to mention very few of a long list. 

My favourite Nordic galleries: 

i8 in Reykjavik, Standard in Oslo, and Belenius in Stockholm all represent many of my favourite artists.

I’m also always impressed by galleries operating outside of the capital cities and think they’re so important in highlighting the regional art scene. Great examples of this are Obra in Malmö and Galleri Arnstedt in Östra Karup. 

Nordic art museums I want to highlight:

Malmö Konsthall generally has great exhibitions (don’t miss Sun and Sea in November!).

Without even checking what’s on view beforehand I know I will always see something mind-blowing when I visit Copenhagen Contemporary, located at Refshaleøen in Copenhagen. 

In Helsinki, Kiasma is a must, but I would also recommend a short trip outside of the city to the EMMA Museum for a great collection of Finnish and Nordic contemporary art. 

My favourite Nordic art talents/up and coming artists:

The couple Inez Jönsson and Johannes Hägglund have very different artistic languages but both are equally good. And so interesting to follow Salad Hilowle right now, I’m sure there are many great exhibitions to be seen from him. 

Some Nordic art exhibitions this summer that I want to highlight:

I will mostly vacation in the south of Sweden and hopefully Denmark, so my must-see exhibitions are Andreas Eriksson at Skissernas Museum in Lund (also one of my favourite museums of all time), Charlotte Gyllenhammar at Bohusläns Museum and Mamma Andersson at Louisiana. If it would be possible to go to Norway, I would love to visit Kistefos Museum and their space The Twist where they seem to have an interesting group exhibition on. 

The best Nordic hotel for a staycation as an art lover:

This summer we have booked a stay at the boutique hotel at Wanås Estate, which I’m very much looking forward to. Wanås is an incredible sculpture park with a permanent collection of international and Swedish artists, and a program of site-specific works (this year with Rana Begum), located in the park around the old castle in the countryside in Skåne.

My favourite artwork at home:

I have a treasured collage from Swedish artist Anna-Karin Rasmusson, who otherwise mainly works with video installations, making it even more special. She’s taking part in an exhibition at Gotland’s Museum this summer, so that’s a great tip if you’re vacationing on the island. 

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