‘The Nordic Pavilion’ featured in City States, a new initiative that was part of Liverpool Biennial 2010. Co-curated by Curated Place Nordic Development Director Ingi Thor Jonsson, the exhibition was represented by Nordic artists including Knut Åsdam (Norway), Søren Thilo Funder (Denmark), Hrafnhildur Arnardottir AKA ‘Shoplifter’ (Iceland), Hrafnkell Sigurðsson (Iceland), Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir (Faroe Islands), Kalle Brolin (Sweden), and Johanna Lecklin (Finland).
Over one million people visited Liverpool during the Biennial and an estimated 14,000 came to the Nordic Pavilion.
The Nordic Pavilion played an important part in forging partnerships between Nordic and international organisations including NICE Festival, Finnish Institute London, Liverpool Biennial, Trolley Gallery, Faroese Ministry, Centre of Icelandic Art, Danish Arts Council, and the Nordic Embassies in London.
The exhibition was an opportunity for Nordic artists who had not exhibited in England previously, to extend their networks and encourage local and national audiences to learn about contemporary Nordic culture and artists from Nordic regions.
Encompassing the Liverpool Biennial 2010 theme ‘Touched’ the selected artists found inspiration from urban and wild landscapes, social environments, identities, rhythms in movement and fetish commodities. The exhibition took the viewer though an exploration of imaginative geographies, ritualised ways of living, everyday experiences of the city and stark environments of materials and objects.
Norwegian born artist Knut Åsdam investigated patterns of behaviour, with a particular focus on theories of disorder and social pathologies that are impacted upon by urban environments and architecture. Corresponding to the notion of Urbanism, artist Søren Thilo Funder (Denmark) drew influences from the city environments with sociological references to dystopian societies, Sci-Fi and counter-culture. His film Council of Citizens (2010) presented a local council where residents engaged in tightly orchestrated ritualized dance.
Hrafnhildur Arnardottir AKA ‘Shoplifter’ (Iceland) is well known for her collaborative work with the singer and actress Björk who has often worn her hair sculptures. She explored the use and symbolic nature of hair in a new work Gloria, Study for an Opera. Her obsession has evolved into an exploration of human hair’s significance to visual and material culture. Another Icelandic artist also featured was Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, with his film 7×7 (2008). The work emerged out of man’s relationship with nature and industrialised landscapes.
Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir (Faroe Islands) exhibited their film Magma (2010), shot on super 8; the film explored the contrast between minimalist movement and the overwhelming and extreme landscape of the Faroe Islands.
In his films and installations Kalle Brolin (Sweden) instigated staged situations that created tension between truth and fiction, reality and invention, history and present day situations. The Story Café Project by Johanna Lecklin (Finland) had been delivered in 11 locations and 7 countries to date. Visitors recorded their own stories, which were dramatised and sensationalised to create new narratives in the gallery space.