10 Nordic Artists to Watch at CHART
CHART Art Fair in Copenhagen, Denmark, debuted only last summer, but with strong gallery participation and attendance in its inaugural year, it has quickly become a driving force in showcasing the best of Nordic art. CHART was founded to provide a space for the Nordic art community to collaborate and showcase all that it has to offer in contemporary works. From the Copenhagen-based Tal R, to the renowned installation artist Olafur Eliasson, to up-and-comers such as Peter Linde Busk and Tanja Koljonen, the fair features an array of both established and emerging talent. Hailing from the art capitals of Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Copenhagen, here are ten artists showing at this year’s CHART Art Fair worth keeping your eye on.
A frequent motif in Finnish artist Tanja Koljonen’s work is a deck of playing cards—referencing the combination of chance and choice. Koljonen, who studied photography at the Helsinki School, arranges the cards and then photographs them, reframing them in a new context. “I believe two opposing motives guide our acts,” she has said of her work. “On the one hand, we are pushed towards systems and rules, and on the other lead by our instincts… My work is placed at the melting point of play and reality.” Koljonen is part of Maanantai Collective, a group of Scandinavian photographers whose ongoing project, “Nine Nameless Mountains,” is showing at various galleries and festivals throughout Europe this year. She will also be participating in the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam in September.
Danish artist Peter Linde Busk creates somber, contemplative, semi-abstract paintings and sculptures of mental states. Capturing emotions including fear, anxiety, joy, and defeatedness, his works incorporate universal human responses and reference literary or mythical figures. His work reveals influences from Abstract Expressionism and Art Brut in his use of hatching, colorful patterns, and organic lines. Recently, Busk’s works were shown in a summer group exhibition, “Shades of Black on White,” at Galerie Bo Bjerggaard.
In 2009, Danish photographer Adam Jeppesen began a year and a half of solitary travel across the Americas from the Arctic to Antarctica. The resultant images explore human needs and dreamlike states. Many of his photographs show imperfections, created by marred negatives he carried with him on his journeys, as explained in his biography for the show at Peter Lav Gallery in 2011. His work September 5th (from BO Mulato) (2014) shows a black-and-white skyline, marked with imperfections arranged in five frames.
Danish artist Jeppe Hein is known for his interactive installations that encourage participation and reaction. His illusionary mirrors distort landscapes and his sculpture Shaking Cube (2004) vibrates when it is approached. His “Modified Social Benches” series succinctly describes his interest in physically involving audiences. Transforming the park bench into a playful, twisting, and often nontraditional shape, Hein’s benches encourage interaction and discussion. Hein was a trending artist at Frieze New York 2014 and his geometric mirrors were featured in the Frieze London Sculpture Park in 2013. In November, a solo exhibition of his work will be debuting at Galleri Nicolai Wallner.
Incorporating topography and stylistic influence from tattoos, Danish artist Adam Saks creates compositions featuring kaleidoscopic patterns and colors. Layering designs, such as flowers, insects, figures, and sweeping brushstrokes, he paints vivid collages that draw on Pop Art. Saks has a solo exhibition currently on view at Galerie Forsblom.
6. Camilla Løw at Elastic Gallery
Norwegian sculptor Camilla Løw creates minimalist, geometric sculptures that occupy the gallery floor or are often suspended as mobiles. Løw’s sculpture Valentina (2008), for example, has three rectangular frames—one black, two red—suspended from a wire. The frames balance precariously on their edges, creating an optical puzzle of delicate geometry. Løw is part of an influential generation of sculptors—many of which are female—that are reviving minimalism and the study of form and structure.
Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson creates sculptures, paintings, and multimedia works that incorporate motifs from the Swedish countryside and Nordic nature. Rather than romanticizing the outdoors, Eriksson’s work reflects an analytical, scientific exploration of his surroundings. As his studio is in the middle of the forest, Eriksson is able to draw inspiration from the dense wooded landscape to create his introspective works. Eriksson’s work was included in CentrePasquArt’s summer exhibition, which was on view through mid August.
Combining automobile and enamel paints, Danish artist Thomas Øvlisen sculpts columns, wall-mounted pieces, and works that he props against gallery walls. In some of his pieces, the paint oozes off the monolith and onto the gallery floor, like in Thank You Frank Again (2011). By layering and manipulating the paints, he creates a blend of color and texture, a contrast to the usually smooth finish desired for automobiles. Øvlisen will have a solo exhibition opening September 7th, 2014 at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery.
Danish artist Olafur Eliasson is famous for his large-scale installations and sculptures that have been known to bend light, create mesmerizing displays of color, and suspend water in the air. Playing with various elements, his works explore the environment, whether with bright orbs, rain, mist, or refracting light. Eliasson represented Denmark at the 50th Venice Biennale and his solo exhibition, “Riverbend,” at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art—which includes a site-specific installation—will be showing in tandem with CHART.
Danish and Norwegian duo Elmgreen & Dragset’s oeuvre include sculptures, installations, and performance pieces that satirize institutional conventions and comment on social habits. Their work often recontextualizes notable styles and works of art, such as He (2013), which reimagined the famous mermaid sculpture sitting in Copenhagen’s harbor into a merman. Elmgreen & Dragset’s solo show “Biography” exhibited at Astrup Fearnley Museet through August 17, 2014 and the duo will have a show at the SMK National Gallery of Denmark in September.
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