Nordic News Weekly – April 5th

The Danish Ministry of Culture introduces a new strategy to handle sexual harassment within art education, and other news from the Nordic art field.

Anonymous work of protest outside of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, 2018. Photo: Kunstkritikk.

This week, the Danish Ministry of Culture introduced a new strategy to handle cases of sexual harassment within art education. Following several cases of harassment in Denmark during the last two years, the scheme Tal Trygt (Speak Out Safely) will provide all students who speak out about harassment with professional and impartial consultation within forty-eight hours. Developed in collaboration with the Student Counselling Service, Tal Trygt will provide help in full anonymity and regardless of waiting lists. If needed, the students will receive additional counselling to “secure a safe return to their studies,” and in cases of serious, traumatising offences, they will be referred to relevant therapy. So far, seven art education programs have chosen to make use of the scheme, among them the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and The Jutland Art Academy in Aarhus. Funen Art Academy in Odense, however, has chosen not to join, partly out of fear that the different degrees of anonymity the new scheme requires could make it difficult for the academy to act on violations of its own ethical rules. “For us, being able to act on all possible violations is an essential condition for being able to create a proper study and work environment,” said Lars Bent Petersen, head of Funen Art Academy, to Kunstkritikk. Read the story in Danish here.

Yngvild Saeter, Atreyu (Altar XIII), 2019. The young Norwegian artist is presented by gallery Andréhn-Schiptjenko at Market.

The busiest week of the year

Stockholm Art Week will take place next week in the Swedish capital. Beginning Tuesday 9 April, there will be hundreds of events, from the 14th edition of Market Art Fair, to the opening of a large exhibition by American artist Sharon Hayes at Moderna Museet, to several small-scale pop-up exhibitions around the city, and recurring events like the group show Monopol and Stockholm Art Book Fair – all competing for attention. The artist-run fair Supermarket, however, chose to arrange its alternative fair ahead of the Art Week. The greatest attraction next week is Market, opening on 11 April at Liljevalchs Konsthall, presenting a total of 35 galleries and 47 artists. Director Carl Sundevall told Kunstkritikk that this year’s edition will extend the focus on Nordic artists that was initiated last year. “We reached out with an open call to all Nordic and non-Nordic galleries that are exhibiting Nordic artists. Consequently, several very interesting names are participating this year,” Sundevall said. When asked what he would like to highlight, Sundevall pointed to Olafur Eliasson’s work on the environment, nature, and climate, presented by i8 Gallery from Reykjavik. Read the story in Swedish here.

Ovartaci, Untitled, gouache and colour pencil on canvas. Photo: Museum Ovartaci. 

Museum Ovartaci reopens in a new location

Today, on April 5, the Museum Ovartaci in Aarhus reopens in a new temporary location in Katrinebjergvej 81. The museum, with its collection of around nine thousand artworks by psychiatric patients, was previously located in the psychiatric hospital in Risskov. Central to the collection is the unique Danish artist Ovartaci (born Louis Marcussen, 1894–1985), who was a patient at the hospital and lived and worked there for the last 56 years of his life. According to the Danish online news magazine Kulturmonitor, the museum also has two new trustees. As the prominent artist Per Kirkeby passed away last year, the Danish painter and sculptor Tal R will take his place as the museum’s artistic trustee, and former prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen will be the museum’s political trustee. In 2021, the Museum Ovartaci will move to a permanent location in a brand new district of Aarhus, called “Ovartaci Fields” in tribute to the artist and the museum. 

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Das Soldatenbad, 1915. Oil on canvas. Photo: Sotheby’s.

Via Copenhagen to Oslo

The painting Das Soldatenbad (1915) by the German painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) was recently acquired by the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, and donated to the Norwegian National Museum. In collaboration with the museum, the bank foundation has been collecting works by German Expressionists since 2009, and Kirchner’s painting will be included in the opening exhibition at the new National Museum in Oslo in 2020. Until then, the painting will be on view in Copenhagen at SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark. Considered to be one of Kirchner’s most important works, Das Soldatenbad was created during World War I, after the artist had a mental breakdown and was excused from further military service. According to a press statement from the National Museum, this experience troubled Kirchner for the rest of his life, until he committed suicide in 1938. Das Soldatenbad also has a remarkable ownership history. In 1919, it was acquired by the Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim, but the painting was wrongfully acquired before World War II by a member of the Nazi party. Later, the work changed owners several times before it was returned to Flechtheim’s heirs, who sold it to the Norwegian bank foundation for 187 million NOK (20 million EUR) at a Sotheby’s auction in New York.

John Skoog, Ridge (still), 2019. 

Main award at CPH:DOX to John Skoog

On 29 March, the winners of the 16th edition of the international documentary film festival CPH:DOX were announced at an award ceremony in Copenhagen. The main award went to Ridge by Swedish artist John Skoog. Kunstkritikk published an extensive interview with Skoog before the opening of the festival, discussing Ridge, his first feature-length film. “What we tried to do in Ridge was create a film told in ellipses. But long before there was a script, we talked about: What does a film that is more like a topography feel like? Or like a map, a landscape. Not landscape as in scenery or ‘beautiful’ backdrop. More as in that you as a viewer are standing in the topography, and the scenes from the film are places you can move between and link,” Skoog said to Kunstkritikk. Read the full interview in English here.