An artist from Uzbekistan got in touch. I would like to show the photos at this year’s NordArt which are currently still on display in an exhibition in Moscow. Blocked, given the current circumstances. “We need to see if he gets them out in time,” says NordArt co-curator Inga Aru, jokingly adding, “Otherwise he’ll have to paint new ones.” she cigarettes and adds soberly: “We always have a plan B.”
The program of NordArt, one of the largest annual contemporary art exhibitions in Europe, is always set up in such a way that “most countries are already finished in February,” says Inga Aru. There are curators in the States who help them finish. 200 artists from all over the world will present their works from 4th June to 9th October at NordArt.
According to Gramm, Central Asia is strongly represented this time: a special project entitled “Between Spaces” in the ACO shed shows the contemporary works of 18 artists from Mongolia. “Things come from Ulan Bator”, says the chief curator – and in view of neighboring Russia: “We are still considering whether by land or by plane.”
Another focus in 2022 is China, diplomatic relations with Germany have existed for 50 years. “We will have interesting exhibitions again,” promises Gramm – from 13 artists who are still unknown to NordArt. Among them is a six-meter-high bronze Pinocchio, surrounded by 36 life-size human sculptures. Although the Carlshütte park is 80,000 square meters large, you have to see where there is room for it. A Chinese artist wants to show an installation with 200 to 1000 drones, reports Inga Aru, “I’m curious to see if it will work. Also because of the official approvals”.
Twelve meter high steel sculpture: “Creatures”
A twelve meter high steel sculpture is already towering in the park area. It is called “Creature” created by the Czech artist Jan Dostál. The rather martial-looking structure is vaguely reminiscent of the “Transformers” of the Autobots. You can well imagine that Dostál thought of them too, Inga Aru speculates looking at the imposing angular object.
The national focus of NordArt this year is Poland. 26 of the most successful Polish artists at home and abroad will exhibit in the national pavilion under the motto “Bez Granic” (“Without Borders”). “Last year we had Ukraine, so Poland was the obvious choice,” says Gramm. “The war in Ukraine moves us a lot, friendships with the artists there are still very fresh”. Whether it is Russian artists, apart from those living in other countries – this time also physically represented at NordArt, is still debatable.
About 3000 artists apply for NordArt every year. For Inga Aru, Wolfgang Gramm and a number of helpful experts in their respective countries, the art of the expert jury is picking the right ones. “You only know some of the artists,” explains Inga Aru, “the themes then develop on their own, you see the connecting milestones.” They are already considering what focus the country could be next year.
NordArt 2022: country focus on Poland
From 4 June to 9 October 2022, NordArt will present a jury of over 200 artists from all over the world. The national focus this year of one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in Europe is Poland – the motto is: “Bez Granic” (“Without Borders”).
The Pavilion of Poland is sponsored by Paweł Jaworski, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Hamburg. The curator is Prof. Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz. For the first time in the history of Polish contemporary art, the exhibition brings together renowned Polish artists from all over the world, both older and younger generations.
Under the title “So Fern – So Nah” works by renowned Chinese artists will be exhibited at NordArt 2022 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and China. A special Mongolia project titled “Between Spaces” can be seen as a special exhibit in the ACO coach house.
In the 22,000 square meter former Carlshütte iron foundry, all 23 life-size figures from Rembrandt’s famous painting “The Night Watch” are already available. Russian artists Alexander Taratynov and Mikhail Dronov christened their 2006 bronze ensemble “Nightwatch (after Rembrandt)”.
A few meters away, in the huge hall, a craftsman is welding the base plate of a steel sculpture by Peruvian Percy Zorilla – “Untitled” from 2002 looks like a bright red cloth, neatly folded. It is being set up for the exhibition in the park and Inga Aru’s steel sculpture “Muse of Industry” (2016) and a large wooden sculpture by Swiss sculptor Urs-Peter Twellmann created at the NordArt Symposium in 2018 are ready for further exteriors use. “About 100 sculptures will be exhibited outside,” says Inga Aru, “about a quarter are new. Everything is new in the room.”
“NordArt is deliberately apolitical,” says Wolfgang Gramm, “we just want to show art, not propaganda.” Art seeks answers to everything that moves and touches people, and people find answers in art.
NordArt 2022 (4 June – 9 October), opening hours: Tue – Sun 11 – 19, closed on Mondays; Vorwerksallee, 24782 Büdelsdorf, contact: Tel. And email@example.com, www.nordart.de