How significant is Nordic Modernism in terms of contemporary art? That is precisely the question Kunsten and the Canica Art Collection together will address.
In spring 2019, Alvar Aalto’s beautiful, bright Sky-lit Gallery will provide the architectural setting for a wide range of masterpieces from the biggest collection of Nordic Modernist art in Scandinavia: the Canica Art Collection in Norway. Featuring a major selection of the best paintings and sculptures from the Canica Art Collection in conjunction with Kunsten’s own extensive collection of Modernist art, the exhibition will highlight the development of art and society in the years 1910-1960 from a Nordic perspective.
Between 1910 and 1960 society underwent radical change: from early industrialisation to the business boom of the post-war years. Both artistically and socially the seeds were sown for the future that is now our present. The exhibition, Nordic Modernism – Inventing the Future will cast a spotlight on this crucial period by adopting a new approach to the story of Modernism. In historical terms, Modernism revolved around Paris as an artistic epicentre, from where inspiration flowed out, but not in.
Works by Danish artists such as Vilhelm Lundstrøm, Harald Giersing, Franciska Clausen, Asger Jorn and Wilhelm Freddie etc. will be presented alongside works by some of their very finest Norwegian and Swedish colleagues, including Thorvald Hellesen, Ragnhild Keyser, Otto G. Carlslund, Gösta Adrian-Nielsen and Erik Olson. Together they will reveal the Nordic community, which in the first half of the 20th century helped to trigger a radical transformation of society and art.
The exhibition is part of Kunsten’s exhibition series, The Past Retold. On the basis of the Museum’s collection and looking at things in novel ways, the series grapples with the voices of the past in an attempt to understand new trends. Kunsten’s works of Danish Modernism constitute the very backbone of Kunsten’s permanent collection. In fact, it was the acquisition of the Anna and Kresten Krestensen collection of 360 Modernist works in 1967 that paved the way for the construction of the museum building on Kong Christians Allé in Aalborg. Ever since, Modernist art has shaped the Museum and its activity. The new perspectives offered by the exhibition, Nordic Modernism – Inventing the Future will enhance our view of the Modernists, who formed the basis of the art we see today.
To mark the occasion of the exhibition the Museum will produce a comprehensive, research-based catalogue featuring contributions from both national and international writers.