Session 7

Anne Gregersen / Postdoc, University of Copenhagen and J.F. Willumsens Museum
Kristian Handberg / University of Copenhagen and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Michael Kjær / Postdoc, University of Copenhagen and Vejle Kunstmuseum


Futures from the Past? Nordic Exhibition Histories


These years we witness an increasing interest in exhibition history. As an object of research and even re-enactment, the exhibition can be seen as a prism comprising various elements, e.g. the work of art, the curatorial presentation and the institutional and sociocultural context. The exhibition often marks the first point of contact between art(work) and audience. Particularly during the second half of the 20th century it has been constructed and understood as an art(ificial) event in itself and has often become a spectacular showroom and laboratory for the present, expressing the contemporary condition and creating models for the future.

While exhibition histories flourish as an international trend, there is still a lack of research concerning Nordic exhibitions and how they influenced and shaped the understanding of the past as well as the contemporary. Which exhibitions stand out as important today and how do we methodologically go about inscribing these in the exhibition history(ies) of the Northern countries?

Papers can consider questions such as:

  • How have exhibitions in the Nordic countries been performing national identities, contributed to the celebrated Scandinavian modern(ism) or participated in forming alternative models such as the New Institutionalism?
  • How has exhibition making in the Nordic countries interacted with an international scene?
  • Who have been the main figures and key institutions in Nordic exhibition making since the late 19th century?
  • What “futures from the past” might appear when developing an exhibition history of the Nordic countries?