Contemporary Arts and Crafts from Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Connecting is the name of a travelling exhibition that is planned together with the art and craft associations of Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and it’s partner regions in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. 40 artists will present their newest artistic oeuvre together in the five countries. They will engage in an intensive dialogue on both artistic formal languages and concepts of arts and crafts in the different countries. Through our cordial planning and development of the project the artists establish sustainable connections around the Baltic Sea, both personally and professionally. That kind of project process is explored for the first time in our regions on the arts and crafts field and makes our project unique in many ways.
Initiative and Partnership
Connecting is founded on the idea of international cooperation on the fields of art exchange, cultural administration, funding and artists direct involvement. Our project is an additional event to other international ones which often are initiated by museums or other established institutions.
A group of professional artists from the art and craft association, Berufsverband Kunsthandwerk, in Schleswig-Holstein/Germany initiated the project in 2006 by organising and producing a series of 8 bilateral partnership exhibitions. The earlier and the coming exhibitions are arranged in cooperation with the national and regional Arts and Crafts associations. Those associations have their origin in the last century’s growing self-confidence of the arts and crafts artists in the field of union politics and artistic exchanges. It was of great importance that the artists themselves defined their place in the art field, to distinguish themselves from fine art on one hand and from crafts enterprise on the other hand. The national and regional associations have since the end of the last century developed to become an important actor on the field of artistic exchanges through meetings, artist in residence programs, lectures and exhibitions.
All exhibitions were and are arranged in the context of the Schleswig-Holstein Cultural Partnership Cooperation and have been supported and founded by the Chancellery of Schleswig-Holstein, the cooperating regions, the Consulates, the regional Arts and Crafts associations and regional sponsors. All exhibits have been shown both in Schleswig-Holstein and the corresponding regions. Further informations you will find under: www.balticartsandcrafts.com
Our project is based on the German initiative from arts and crafts makers from the region of Schleswig Holstein and has been developed since 2006. The first exhibition, in 2006, was an exchange with the partnership region Ostrobothnia in Finland and their association Konsti. Exhibition was shown in Taidehall in Seinäjoki and in the Library of the State of Schleswig-Holstein gallery in Kiel. In 2007 a similar exchange was organised with the Eastern Norway County Network (ENCN) in Norway and the exhibition was shown in the Gallery Mercury at the Chamber of Commerce (IHK) in Kiel and in the Gallery Hausmika in Oslo. 2008 to 2010 an exchange with Skane region in Sweden and with the southern Danish region was organized, both were shown in the Library of the State of Schleswig-Holstein gallery in Kiel and will respectively be shown in Haderslev Kunstforening, Denmark and in Hovdala Slott, Sweden.
A natural continuation of these successful exchanges is to produce a joint exhibition, which will tour in all the participating countries. The exhibition has the theme and title `Connecting´ symbolising the ongoing networking of professional artists in this project. The exhibition will be inaugurated in February 2011 at the museum Museumsberg, Flensburg. The exhibition will then travel to Akershus Kunstsenter, Lillestrøm, Norway, to the Pohjanmaan Museum in Vaasa, Finland, going on to Augustiania/ Augustenborg, Denmark. The very last station will be in Landskrona Konsthall, Sweden.
Nordic/ European Dimensions
The Nordic countries are internationally often understood as one unique area – politically, mentally and artistically. The geographical area around the Baltic Sea is also often seen as an established cooperating area through a well-developed transportation network for people and objects on the seaway.
This geographical area and the arts and crafts artists own integration are the basis for our project Connecting. In this way the Nordic dimension of the project is quite obvious:
− Four Nordic countries are cooperating with their German partner region in the field of art. A Nordic-German exhibition will be organized, with participants of northern Europe and will be show in all five countries with special events in each country aside.
− The national project groups suggest national participants and the central project leaders coordinate organization, the catalogue, the exhibition design and the events in all countries.
But there is more to this project than singly reflecting this more geographical interaction, even though it is important to the art field. We aim at showing the exhibition in all participating countries. This itself will assure regional engagement and it also will give us the opportunity to settle different agendas in accordance to the Nordic countries different ways of art production and distribution/presentation.
The arts and crafts scenes are quite small in each participating region, but the quality of the art is high. Normally will arts and crafts makers through their education and their personal development gain knowledge about some distinguished countries artistic background and highlights. And they make personal contacts, which develop during the years. Often they nevertheless lack the knowledge about how to establish a lasting network passing the national borders and the borders of their own artistic category. It is also difficult to find dedicated partners from outside the maker’s own circle to cultivate the exchange of knowledge, of material, aesthetics and exhibitions.
An other aspect of our cooperation is the inclusion of less central regions in several of the Nordic countries. The exhibitions and events might be an incitement to other artists to settle other places than in the capital and nevertheless to be integrated in art projects of international dimension.
Through working together over the borders we have also gained more mutual understanding for the arts and crafts situation in the Nordic and Northern-German area. Artists have enlarged their knowledge about what other countries expect of artists and how arts and crafts are perceived in the whole art field. The cultural workers have also established a Nordic and Northern-German network for exhibition exchanges to exist in the future.
We have invited politicians, art cultural workers and artists together with sponsors to cooperate through this project. It is of importance that the Nordic partnership (political and administrative) representatives now realize art as an important way of connecting our countries in addition to the commercial interests. That’s quite unique in time of financial crisis.
The project Connecting aims at connecting on the geographical, the art political, the artistic, the personal and the theoretical level. The Nordic dimension of this project is integrated in all aspects of the project.
Connecting combines networking, lectures, artist meetings and a travelling exhibition. This project gives us a great chance to initiate a sustainable network for artists around the Baltic Sea. The artists who have participated in the bilateral exhibitions are ardent about meeting other colleagues, new markets and other professional contacts. Due to hard work and the establishment of personal professional relationships when organising the bi-national shows, we have created possibilities for artists to extend their enterprise over the national borders and are on the road to reaching our goal.
Cornelia Patz-Nahm – Schleswig-Holstein / Germany
Co-exhibition coordinator and project leader, Paper Artist
Rep. Berufsverband Kunsthandwerk – Craft Association for Schleswig–Holstein Region
Martina Kaufmann – Norway
Co-exhibition coordinator and project leader
Eastern Norway County Network (ENCN)
Hanne Bay Lührssen
Susanne Juliette Koch
Margrethe Loe Elde
John K. Raustein
Inga Vestergaard Sørensen
Irina My Lindqvist
Sara Nyberg Wallner