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What is Special about Art from the Nordic Countries?  

Well, our experience at Arrière-Garde is that the character of the Nordic countries is not only a natural consequence of the climatic features and the extremes of its longitude, but that it also results from the complexity and intricacy of diametrical opposites, from underlying contradictions, ideals of gender equality, liberalism, and social welfare as global models, and from an ever-growing ambition to put a dent in the Universe.

Protractedly darkened, severely introspective, and absurdly gelid over the long winters, yet idyllically proliferating with flora and fauna, and overwhelmingly exploding with human energy and libido over the mesmerizingly bright summers. This is what to expect whilst living or travelling to Sweden, Norway, Danmark, Finland or Iceland…but what to expect from this geographical area in terms of gallery hopping or exploring what is on show in museums?

Well, our experience at Arrière-Garde is that the character of the Nordic countries is not only a natural consequence of the climatic features and the extremes of its longitude, but that it also results from the complexity and intricacy of diametrical opposites, from underlying contradictions, ideals of gender equality, liberalism, and social welfare as global models, and from an ever-growing ambition to put a dent in the Universe.  We have worked in the region for over half a decade, and we have been involved with curatorial projects there, meeting many artists and other representatives of the artworld there.







Most recently, we have also discovered the unique work of Finnish contemporary artist Leena Mertanen. And the art of Leena Mertanen is the quintessential expression of the Nordic character: unforgiving in its dark side, strong in its humour, temperamental in its emotions, intricate in its way of exploring human nature, complex in its rendering of personality and personas, primal in its depiction of our drives and desires, sharp whilst it unveils the social domain to the extent of blatantly exposing its most repressed and unspoken corners. Indeed, Mertanen’s art is the embodiment of the radical cultural hybridity that takes shape through the Nordic reality, climate, societal rationale, and ethical configuration. 


Her works come frequently in imposing and majestic large scale and are in several art collections worldwide since her debut solo exhibition in 2005, when she graduated from the Savolinna School of Art and Music in Finland.  

 


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