Mats Stjernstedt to curate Nordic Pavilion 2017

Mats Stjernstedt. Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet.

Mats Stjernstedt will curate the joint exhibition of Finland, Norway and Sweden in the Nordic Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2017. The exhibition marks the rejuvenation of the Nordic collaboration between the three countries.

The commissioners of the art exhibitions in the Nordic Pavilion in Venice – Finland, Norway and Sweden – have agreed on the guidelines for their collaboration on the next three biennials. The art in the Nordic Pavilion will be presented as a joint project, where the three countries are represented on equal terms. As before, the countries will take turns as principal commissioner and manager of activities at the Nordic Pavilion as follows:

2017: Moderna Museet, Sweden
2019: Frame Visual Art Finland, Finland
2021: Office for Contemporary Art (OCA), Norway

Moderna Museet has thus appointed Mats Stjernstedt to curate the Nordic Pavilion in 2017. Stjernstedt is the artistic director of Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo since 2011. He has curated numerous exhibitions internationally over the years.

“We are excited to have Mats Stjernstedt as the curator for the Nordic Pavilion in 2017. He is known to highlight the essential and interesting aspects of our time and to be a genuinely outstanding curator with a vast knowledge of the contemporary art scene, especially in the Nordic region. We are also very happy to have a joint venture again with our neighbours Norway and Finland, and are looking forward to this true Nordic cooperation” says Ann-Sofi Noring, co-director of Moderna Museet and commissioner of the Nordic Pavilion in 2017.

“Being asked to assemble an exhibition for the Nordic Pavilion is an honour and a challenge. I appreciate being entrusted this assignment and look forward to combining my experience with research over the next few months. I also look forward to presenting interesting artists who are active in the Nordic countries, within the compelling framework of La Biennale di Venezia,” says Mats Stjernstedt.

About the commissioning 2017-2021:

“I am really delighted that Norway, Sweden and Finland are now restarting their collaboration in the Nordic Pavilion with the lead of Mats Stjernstedt. The joint exhibitions in one of the most closely followed pavilions of the Venice Biennale will offer fantastic opportunities both for the Nordic artists and the other art professionals involved in the project”, says Raija Koli, director of Frame Visual Art Finland.

“We are delighted to imagine the future possibilities that this new articulation of collaboration between the Nordic Pavilion partners harbours, and wish Mats Stjernstedt well in this inaugural edition. The history of Nordic collaborations has been a fruitful one, punctuated as all relationships are by challenges that demand a creative address. OCA looks forward to dynamic thinking regarding how this tradition can be renewed for the 21 st century addressing the new complexities of the region, the constant process of redefinition that they embody, and the novel relationship with the communities within and beyond the region that they entails.”, says OCA’s director Katya García-Antón.

About Mats Stjernstedt
Mats Stjernstedt, born in Gävle, Sweden in 1968, is currently the artistic director of Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway. He was the head of Index – the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm in 2001-2009. Stjernstedt studied art history at Lund University, Sweden, and has curated countless exhibitions and projects since the mid-1990s. Under his leadership, Kunstnernes Hus has presented artists such as Hans-Peter Feldmann, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, David Lamelas, Elise Storsveen & Jon Gundersen, Marianne Heier and Lars Laumann, (all exhibitions, co-curation Ida Kierulf) to name but a few. His international assignments include Harun Farocki: 7 Films (Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, 2013), Dora Garcia: I am a Judge (Kunsthalle Bern, 2010), Maria Lindberg. Run Like Hell (Turku Art Museum, 2009), and Annika Eriksson (Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale, Dakar, 2008). Stjernstedt has also been an art critic for Aftonbladet, ArtForum, Flash Art and Art + Text.

About the Nordic Pavilion
In 1958 Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn (1924–2009) won the competition to design the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennial. The building was completed in 1962 and has since been a space for collaboration between three nations – Sweden, Finland and Norway. Built on a plot between the pavilions of the United States and Denmark, it is situated in the Biennale grounds at Giardini in Venice. For the last three biennials of 2011, 2013 and 2015, a format was developed which involved the solo commissioning by each country of a project. For the period 2017-2021 the agreement entailing that all three countries are represented on equal terms, will be resumed.