Exhibition of Nordic Artists

NEIGE LILAS-A5 INVIT-RECTOSnow: it is on the grounds of this motif, easily connected in the continental imagination to the Scandinavian countries, that the Cultural Center Jean Cocteau in Les Lilas organizes with curator Ásdís Ólafsdóttir, in collaboration with ARTnord, an exhibition of four Icelandic, Finnish and Norwegian artists. Because it evokes for everyone the isolation of the great expands, the harsh winter and because it seems to ensure a cultural authenticity, guarantee of tradition and of protection in an open and unstable world, the snow theme is « speaking », « imaginative ». This exhibition – a reflection of more sensitive than conceptual artistic concerns – aims however to overcome these patterns of folklore which, though not extinguished, however, must enlist realities less likely to be spread by tourist brochures or international pages of the mainstream media.

Thus, the Norwegian photographer Rune Guneriussen accumulates objects produced by man in the nature; Icelandic photographer Pétur Thomsen documents the devastation caused by the construction of a dam in the area of Kárahnjúkar; Finnish visual artist Marja Helander recalls her Sami origins and the inadequacy of traditional cultures with the imperatives of « modern » life; and Icelandic painter Harpa Árnadóttir, whose material work of pigments on the canvas (Crack paintings) absorbs the mind of the viewer in immense white spaces, reminiscent of the ambitions of the Sublime.

NEIGE LILAS CAT copieDetached from a return to a mythical past (a trend observed in the Nordic countries since the early Middle Ages), the selected works are part of a reflexive dimension of contemporary art. This is sometimes related with ancestral traditions (Marja Helander), with an enveloping and almost divinized nature (Pétur Thomsen, Harpa Árnadóttir), or imbued with a kind of animism (Rune Guneriussen). This omnipresence of nature in contemporary considerations – visible in the work of many Nordic artists – takes on particular resonance in the context of a fragile nature and limited resources, such as the Europeans are beginning to consider it.

Simon Psaltopoulos

Centre Culturel Jean Cocteau, Les Lilas (France), 14 January – 12 March 2016