Nordic Impressions: Contemporary Art from Åland, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden opens at Scandinavia House on Saturday, February 23. This new exhibition brings together a wide array of artistic expressions—paintings, drawings, photographs, installations, films, and videos—that reflect the rich diversity and global character of Nordic art. Curated by Phillips Collection Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann, the exhibition features works by internationally acclaimed artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir /Shoplifter from Iceland; Israeli-born Danish painter Tal R, Danish artist collaborative SUPERFLEX, and artists Jesper Just and Per Kirkeby; Norwegian performance and video artist Tori Wrånes and photographer Torbjørn Rødland; Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila; Swedish painter Mamma Andersson and video and mixed-media artist Nathalie Djurberg; Sámi artists Outi Pieski and Britta Marakatt-Labba; Greenlandic painter, photographer, and writer Pia Aarke; and others.
Made across a spectrum of media from locations throughout the Nordic region, the works in the exhibition each offer a different artistic experience while being tied across themes that have held a special place in Nordic culture: both historic themes such as light and darkness, the coalescence of nature and folklore, women’s rights and social liberalism; and more current subjects such as climate change, sustainability, and immigration. Drawn from a larger survey at the Phillips Collection in the fall of 2018, this exhibition comes from the work of the multi-year Nordic Cultural Initiative, a collaboration between the Phillips Collection and the Washington, D.C.-based embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, launched in 2014 to promote the wealth of Nordic artistic talent.
Nordic Impressions will open on February 23. It will be accompanied by a range of programming, including related art workshops for children as well as a special opening day book launch with artist Tanya Toft Ag and an upcoming artist panel during Armory Week.
Drawn from a larger survey at the Phillips Collection in the fall of 2018, this exhibition comes from the work of the multi-year Nordic Cultural Initiative, a collaboration between the Phillips Collection and the Washington, D.C.-based embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, launched in 2014 to promote the wealth of Nordic artistic talent. Presentation at Scandinavia House has been made possible by the generous support of Trond S. Jensen as well as the Bonnier Family Fund for Contemporary Art, the F. Donald Kenney Fund for Visual Arts, and the Kronquist Mesaros Memorial Endowment Fund.
Programming will be updated throughout the winter and spring; check back here for more details.
About the Curator
Klaus Ottmann is Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the publisher and editor of Spring Publications. At the Phillips, he has curated the exhibitions Nordic Impressions: Art from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, 1821–2018; George Condo: The Way I Think; Arlene Shechet: From Here On Now; Karel Appel: A Gesture of Color; Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models; Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet; and Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture; and oversaw the installation of the Phillips’s new permanent installation, a Wax Room created by Wolfgang Laib. Dr. Ottmann has curated more than 60 international exhibitions, including Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe. Works 1970–2011; Still Points of the Turning World: SITE Santa Fe’s Sixth International Biennial; Life, Love, and Death: The Work of James Lee Byars; Wolfgang Laib: A Retrospective; and Strange Attractors: The Spectacle of Chaos. His publications include Yves Klein by Himself: His Life and Thought; The Genius Decision: The Extraordinary and the Postmodern Condition; and The Essential Mark Rothko.
In 2006, he translated and edited Yves Klein’s complete writings, Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein, and in 2010 he translated F.W.J. Schelling’s Philosophy and Religion (1804).
In 2016, Dr. Ottmann was conferred the insignia of Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters. He received a M.A. in philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Division of Media and Communications at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.