The sixth-annual Nordic Biennial is coming up on June 18 in Moss, Norway. But don’t worry if you can’t be there. The theme, ‘Imagine Being Here Now’, stretches time as far as it will go.
The Biennial will showcase over 80 artists from Iceland, Norway, Sweden and beyond. Icelander (and occasional GV contributor) Markús Þór Andrésson—one of the Biennial’s five curators—explains it’s a venture that will have roving art projects, including some that won’t be revealed until 2051.
What can we expect to see at this year’s Nordic Biennial?
The sixth Momentum Biennial is an international project curated by five Nordic curators. It will take place in and around Moss in Norway, but there will also be an itinerant performance event travelling around the Nordic capitals. You may expect to get an excellent chance to consider what it is to actually see art, given that the exhibition revolves around the notion of the experience of art in a specific time and place. ‘Imagine Being Here Now’ invites the viewer to fulfil his or her part of the deal that art and artists try to make with their audience that they see actively.
Some projects challenge this by presenting works that are scarcely visible; they may take time to be realised and require the imagination of the viewer to become real. We are collaborating with The Long Now Foundation (www.longnow.org), an institute invested in slowing down the momentary experience and thinking within a time frame of 10.000 years. This focus lends the exhibition project as a whole a dimension, within which we hope to bring forward the concerns of today’s art with the passivity of a fleeting moment-to-moment culture.
There are five curators involved for this edition. Is this your first time participating?
Yes, this is the first time for all of us to be involved with Momentum. In recent years, there have been two curators for the biennial, one from within the Nordic scene and a person that comes from a different background. Now, the idea was to break up that routine by asking five insiders to do the job, and of course the first decision we took collectively was to make it an international project. We invited around fifty people from around the world. Still, we have a high percentage of Nordic artists simply because this is where we have based our work and research in the past.
Are you responsible for curating all the Icelandic art?
The process of bringing together the eighty artists has been very intense, as you can imagine, with five people working together. We have all contributed names and works to the table, and as we mutually know the Nordic scene. We have all crossed lines in terms of one curator lobbying for an artist from someone else’s country. At the end of the day we collaboratively chose the group so that it would make sense as a whole, not in terms of each curator selecting ten artists. Perhaps it may have ended up like that, but at least it wasn’t intentional. We then somehow organically came to terms with who is responsible for which artist and in case of the Icelandic participants I can say that I am not responsible for all of them.
Give us one project in which we can look forward to.
The Icelandic artist Magnús Logi Kristinsson will be organising a performance tour with the well-known Finnish artist Roi Vaara. They will invite artists to join them and local artists to take part in this with them and do a tour, like a rock and roll group, from one place to the next. Except we don’t quite know where and when. They will pop up in art institutions or in public spaces in the Nordic countries sometimes in the fall, before the Biennial ends in the beginning of October. I am very excited to see how this project develops, if I manage to be at the right place at the right time. I also wonder if I will be around in fifty years to see the works that have been included in this show but placed in a time capsule so the works will not be known to the public until 2051. You can look forward to that, too, and imagine being there then.