Lotte Fløe Christensen, Waiting to Cut, 2007.

Nordic Landscape Photography with a Connection to National Character

Olafur Eliasson, Islandsserien, 1996

A K Dolven, 1.15 AM South, 2003.

Jeanette Land Schou, Søvn #10, Amager Fælled, 2003.


Skovvej 100
+ 45 43 54 02 22
Nordic Moods –
Landscape Photography of Our Time

May 30-September 14, 2008

The Nordic self-knowledge is intimately connected with the Nordic landscapes. In national anthems and landscape paintings, rolling Danish hills, tall Norwegian mountains, dark Swedish forests and alluring deep Finnish lakes become images of national character traits.

However, the image of the national romantic landscape, as we know it from the landscape paintings and national anthems of the early nineteenth century, is only a section of reality.

This is evident in Arken’s exhibition Nordic Moods. For the exhibition shows a different section in which globalisation and modern lifestyles are present in the pictures. With about 65 photographs by 23 of Scandinavia’s best photographic artists, ARKEN’s summer exhibition explores the Nordic landscape.

Several artists in Nordic Moods work abroad more than in their homelands, and many were educated wholly or partly abroad. However, Arken has chosen to focus on the photographs that artists have taken of the landscapes of their homelands.

The purpose is to explore how modern depictions of landscapes reflect the self-understanding and mood in Scandinavia today when landscapes are altered and cultivated, and the perspective on them is changing and being influenced by still more impressions from without.

In Nordic Moods we still find the traditional view of a clear sky and beautiful perspectives. But there are also crossroads, clothes racks, traffic signs, plastic rubbish, abandoned fête grounds, train tracks and other traces of modern civilization which point beyond the issue of a Nordic landscape.

And which, even if they do not utterly change the image of the Nordic, do raise the question of what characterises the Nordic landscape and being human today in a globalised world.

The landscape photographs are about more than just the Nordic landscape as subject matter. Several artists employ landscape as context in exploring other, more existential issues, including the relationship between man and nature today. They demonstrate that landscape is not just something lying there. It is also something we look at in a certain way — or merely zoom through on our way to something else. Thus Arken’s exhibition also shows how contemporary artists offer new perspectives on a traditional perception of the landscape.

Martti Jaemsae, Untitled, 1994-2003.

Anna Strand, Making a Point, 2005.

Susanna Majuri, High Tide, 2006.