Narrative Threads — New Exhibition Opens

Opening October 14 at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, Narrative Threads: Works by Eight Nordic Artists presents multi-media artwork by Nordic artists, each distinguished by their innovative use of natural, synthetic, and digital materials. Exploring Nordic craft traditions through a contemporary lens, the works in the exhibition engage with material experimentation, and digital technology, with textile design, ceramics, stitching, painting, audio recording, and assemblage offering diverse narrative expressions and perspectives. The exhibition will feature the work of eight internationally celebrated artists: Margrethe Aanestad (Norway), Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter (Iceland), Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson (Iceland), Hildur Bjarnadóttir (Iceland), Astrid Krogh (Denmark), Heidi Hankaniemi (Finland), Marianne Huotari (Finland), and Kristina Riska (Finland). Their works on view will explore personal histories and intergenerational discourse, while influenced by ages-old handicraft techniques and cultural traditions.

Margrethe Aanestad’s abstract drawing and sculpture subtly reference landscapes and the celestial sphere. Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (known as Shoplifter) works with both synthetic and natural hair to create sculptures, wall murals and site-specific installations exploring themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty, and popular myth, while Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson uses silk and dye to create large-scale fabric installations based on the landscape of her native Iceland. Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s woven paintings, audio pieces, and large-scale silk installations investigate issues of belonging, ecology, place and cohabitation with animals and plants in Iceland; Astrid Krogh explores the dialogue between natural and artificial illumination when paired with fibers, while Heidi Hankaniemi’s practice incorporates the tactile and the performative. Marianne Huotari’s distinctive ceramic works weave tradition with contemporary art by applying the classic Finnish textile technique with unpredictable materials. Kristina Riska has been exploring and redefining the traditional tenets of ceramic sculpture since the 1980s with unorthodox, large-scale works inspired by nature and the properties of light and shadow.

Narrative Threads will be accompanied by a range of programming, including Gallery Tours taking place regularly on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM. Monthly evening adult art workshops that explore techniques and themes presented in the exhibition will be offered by Icelandic teaching artist Melkorka Helgadottir. This exhibition is organized by ASF and curated by Emily Stoddart (Manager of Exhibitions and Community Programs at Scandinavia House). Generous support for this exhibition has been received from the Inger G. & William B. Ginsberg Support Fund, the Bonnier Family Fund for Contemporary Art, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Estate of Tova Borgnine. It will be on view at Scandinavia House through February 17, 2024.