How to Visit the NordArt in 2023

The older I get, the faster time seems to go by. The advantage of time just flying by, however, is the fast return of annual events such as the wonderful art fair NordArt. Every year, this fantastic art event transforms the northern German provincial town of Büdelsdorf for a couple of months into a vibrant and exciting international art mecca. So come on, join me on my train ride into the boonies, and let me show you how to visit NordArt 2023.

Heads are rolling, literally, at the first, pebble-covered exhibition hall.
Spanish artist Samuel Salcedo casted them from iron and aluminum.

Büdelsdorf

Büdelsdorf is a townlet on the outskirts of Rendsburg which isn’t exactly a bright lights big city place, either. Actually, Rendsburg is located in Germany’s Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein on the train route from Hamburg to Copenhagen. To this date, you find traces of the city’s historical function as the southern border fortress of the Danish Empire in the quite charming old town. Büdelsdorf is located north of Rendsburg and can be reached by walking in about 20 minutes. However, there are also public buses.

Houses in Rendsburg
Traditional Nordic architecture in Rendsburg.

The iron foundry Carlshütte was founded in Büdelsdorf in 1827. It was the first industrial plant on the Jutland peninsula. This peninsula consists of the continental part of Denmark, most of the German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein, and even a part of Hamburg.

Art Machine in Rendsburg
Walking from Rendsburg’s train station to the venue, you discover the first amazing cultural projects: What an intriguing idea to buy art from a vending machine.

While in 1850, the foundry had almost 500 employees, by 1965, the staff quintupled to over 2500. Obviously, the Carlshütte dominated the region’s economy for the longest time. Yet, in 1997, they had to file for bankruptcy and close the plant down.

NordArt

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: As the iron foundry closed in 1997, Hans-Julius Ahlmann, Managing Partner of the internationally active ACO Group, acquired the grounds with its massive industrial halls and historic housing. He converted them into an outstanding venue for cultural projects. Hence, today, the Carlshütte is not only an impressive industrial monument. The industrial buildings and vast gardens also offer a distinctive setting for cultural events of all kinds.

Rolf Ohst Germany 124 Wedding 2022, Öl auf Leinwand | Oil on canvas
German artist Rolf Ohst was born in Lübeck. The painting Wedding is the least disturbing of his works on display.

I guess this explains how the provincial town of Büdelsdorf gained a venue where one of Europe’s most important art shows takes place every year.

Bego Riba Spain 137 Hibernation | Winterschlaf Dil on canvas 2020, Öl auf Leinwand | Oil on canvas
Hyperrealistic painting Hibernation by Bego Riba from Spain. She currently resides in Palma de Mallorca.

Although the NordArt is by far not as famous as other European art shows such as the Documenta in Kassel let alone the Biennale di Arte in Venice, it has found its spot in the art scene and is an internationally acknowledged event.

Dodit Artawan Indonesia 46 Street Visual series 2023, Farbmarker und Acryl auf Leinwand Paint marker and acrylic on canvas Dodit Artawan 46
Dodit Artawan lives and works on the Indonesian island of Bali. For his series Street Visual, he actually used felt markers to depict some crazily overloaded vehicles on canvas. According to my experience, quite a common sight in Bali.

The first NordArt took place back in 1999. There are three exhibition spaces on the grounds: The former factory building, the old carriage shed, and the spacious park. Over the years, most of the statues and installations in the sculpture park remained in their places. That’s understandable since they are mostly made of iron, stone, and marble. Hence, they are a bit heavy to be shuffled around on the garden’s 80,000 square meters.

Svitlana Galdetska Ukraine 74 Langeron from the series Ideal World
Langeron from the Ukrainian artist Svitlana Galdetska’s series Ideal World.
This year, there are artists from various former Soviet Republics on display.

The exhibitions at the coach house and the industrial hall, however, are showing a comprehensive selection of works by contemporary artists from all over the world. And although you won’t find always the works of some big art scene players here, you’ll get to see fresh, inspiring art.

Bobur Ismoilov Uzbekistan 87 Solistin
Bobur Ismoilov from Uzbekistan created the painting Soloist.

Special Features

Apart from the general curated exhibition, there are some featured extras: Every year, one particular country is the main focus and exhibits a choice of contemporary art. This tradition started in 2012 with contemporary art from China. Since then, very different countries such as Denmark, France, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Poland had the opportunity to put together a collection for their so-called country pavilion.

Sleep Walkers by Kadriye İnal at the NordArt 2023
Look, we are both wearing striped shirts! Sleep Walkers by Kadriye İnal.

In 2023, the focus country is Türkiye which fueled my expectations. Ever since I visited contemporary art museums in Istanbul, I hold modern Turkish art in very high esteem.

Mahmut Aydın Türkiye 1 Correlate 2023, Holz und Polyester I Wood and Polyester Mahmut Aydın
Installation Correlate by Mahmut Aydın.

I’d argue that contemporary Turkish artists are totally underrated, hence, I’m very happy the NordArt people brought at least 17 of them to Büdelsdorf. Among them is also Mahmut Aydın whom I remember from the show Proje4L that takes place at the Elgiz Museum in Istanbul. I’ve introduced this event in my post Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – the best-hidden gem of Istanbul.

Server Demirtaş Türkiye 4 Scream 2020, Silikon, Mechanik, Kleidung Silicon, mechanics, clothes Server Demirtaş 4
The sculpture Scream by Server Demirtaş is not only looking real, but it’s also moving as you can see below.

The Turkish pavilion at Carlshütte was curated by Kemal Tufan who is a famous sculptor himself.

Taner Yılmaz Türkiye 17 Unexpected Guest Unerwarteter Gast 2023, Öl auf Leinwand | Oil on canvas Taner Yılmaz 17
Apart from many impressive sculptures and installations, there are also paintings like Taner Yılmaz’s Unexpected Guest.

Antique Games

As I said, Poland was also a focus country, namely in 2022. Already then, the works of  Michał Jackowski, whose meaning is often only revealed at a second glance, caught my attention. And obviously not only mine, because this year, the artist was granted his own special exhibition space.

Fast Food by Michal Jackowski. How Visit Nordart 2023
His thought-provocing sculpture Fast Food was already part of the Polish pavilion in 2022.

Under the name Antique Games, curator Prof. Jan Wiktor Sienkiewicz set Jackowski’s quirky sculptures, which are based on ancient Roman and Greek statues, coherently in a classic temple.

How Visit Nordart 2023
Not every artist can pride himself to get his own temple.

Michał Jackowski lives and works in Białystok where he was born in 1978. In 2003, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In his marble and bronze sculpture, he combines ancient statues with elements of modern consumerism and pop culture in a surprising and often provocative way.

Michal Jackowski Poland 20 Narcissus 2017, Bronze, ed. 1/12
Michal Jackowski’s Narcissus

Liu Ruo Wang

Like every year, Chinese art is widely represented also in 2023. One of the most noteworthy artists is Liu Ruo Wang.

Wolves Coming
This year, the wolves are coming into the main hall. In the backdrop, Qin Feng’s painting Landscape of Civilization For Hou-Yi, consisting of eleven canvas panels.

Since his first appearance at the NordArt in 2016, visitors can admire his most outstanding installations consisting of cast iron sculptures like Wolves Coming, five giant troubadours singing an Ode to Art, 36 giant apes named Original Sin, or the crowd pacing around Mr. Pinocchio. In 2022, he won the prestigious NordArt Prize.

Wolves coming
The amazing thing about Liu Ruo Wang’s installations is that no two sculptures are the same. Mind you, Wolves Coming consists of 110 individual sculptures, after all! Yet, there are no two identical wolves.

Liu Ruo Wang was born in the Jia Xian mountain area of the Chinese Shaanxi province in 1977. Interestingly, this was one of the first areas where the Catholic missionaries arrived in China. As a matter of fact, the name Ruo Wang is the Chinese equivalent of the name Saint John.

Original Sin by Liu Ruo Wang.
Just four of a total of 36 gigantic apes which make up the installation Original Sin. Each of them is 3.5 meters tall, and no two are identical.

In 1996, Liu Ruo Wang began to study Fashion Design at the Xi’an Polytechnic University but dropped out just two years later to become a painter. Therefore, he attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing from 2002 to 2005.

Mr. Pinocchio by Liu Ruowang at the NordArt 2022
People in lockstep around Mr. Pinocchio.
Mr. Pinocchio by Liu Ruo Wang.
Liu Ruo Wang worked on the Mr. Pinnochio installation since 2019. Then, in 2022, the 36 life-size figures circling the 6-meter-tall Pinnochio were set up in the Carlshütte park.

Liu Ruo Wang’s work, which mostly consists of humongous sculptural installations, made him internationally famous. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen Wolves Coming for the first time at the Biennale di Arte in Venice back in 2015. Later, I met them again in Florence and finally here in Büdelsdorf.

To Be A Muse

A third featured art project is the series To Be A Muse by Lilya Corneli. Corneli was born in the Armenian capital Yerevan in 1978. She now lives in Hamburg.

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Physalis, 1912 Tobeamuse, Autumn Self-Portrait, 2021
Based on Egon Schiele’s Self-Portrait with Physalis from 1912, Lilya Corneli was posing in her Autumn Self-Portrait in 2021.

It was a stay in Vienna that inspired her to interpret famous paintings and revive them by featuring models of flesh and blood. In the arrangement, she gets amazingly close to the original, yet, she replaces the historical costumes with modern garments and leaves room for an intriguing play with unexpected accessories. Howsoever, the artist transforms real people into much-admired muses.

Girl With A Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer,
Everyone will immediately recognize the world-famous Girl With A Pearl Earring by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer.

It’s so much fun to discover from which painting Lilya Corneli took her inspiration. They are actually impressively well-composed. Nevertheless, if there should be a piece that you haven’t seen before, next to the display is a chart where you can compare Lilya’s version to the original.

Plan Your Visit

Opening Hours And Tickets

In 2023, the NordArt takes place from June 3 to October 8. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday between 11 a. m. and 7 p. m.

Exhibition Hall of the NordArt. How Visit Nordart 2023
The former industrial plant offers enough space even for the largest installation.

The general admission is 18.50 €uros on weekdays and 21 €uros on weekends. There is also a ticket for 30 €uros which grants access on two consecutive days – no matter if you are visiting during the week or on a weekend. Also, there are discounts for students and families as well as season tickets so you better check out their website. There you can also buy your tickets online.

How to Get to Rendsburg and Büdelsdorf

The most convenient way to get to Rendsburg is by train. You get there for instance from Hamburg in less than 90 minutes, from Lübeck in 2 hours, and from Berlin – via Hamburg – in about 3,5 hours. Then, it’s a 20-minute walk from the train station to the Kunstwerk Carlshütte. Alternatively, you can also catch a bus.

Train station in Rendsburg.
With the Germany Ticket, you can travel on regional trains for one month for a flat rate of only 49 €uros.

Here’s a special tip for you Germany travellers: For about 25 €uros, you can travel an entire day by train within every federal state. However, you are only allowed to take regional trains, not IC or ICE. The best part is: each further person pays only 3 to 6 €uros. Up to 5 people can travel on one regional day ticket. The basic fare as well as the supplement per person vary from federal state to federal state.

Due to its central position, Hamburg is automatically included in tickets for Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, and Lower Saxony which includes also Bremen.

Büdelsdorf is in Schleswig-Holstein, and the day ticket for one person is 29 €uros. Additional fellow travellers pay 5 €uros per person.

The Germany-Ticket for 49 €uro

Following the fantastic 9 €uro ticket that allowed nationwide travel for an entire month from June to August 2022, there now is the 49 €uro ticket. For good.

With the 49 €uros ticket, you can travel basically the entire country by regional trains. Those train numbers begin with RE, MET, etc. But remember, it is not valid in interregional trains such as the Intercity (IC) or Intercity-Express (ICE). However, you can also use regular buses, trams, subways, and suburban trains as well as regional express trains everywhere in Germany.

While the 49 €uro ticket is valid throughout the country, it is not linked to German citizenship. It can also be purchased by non-residents. Although it is an annual subscription, it can be canceled on a monthly basis.

So if you are planning on taking regional trains in Germany as well as intercity public transportation, the Germany Ticket might be your best option.

Just for the record: There is also a Flixbus going to Rendsburg, however, it’s not a valid alternative. It takes as long as the train but is less comfortable and just a couple of €uros cheaper.

Some Extra Tips

After having been to several NordArt editions, I’m happy to share some tips that will make your visit even smoother and more enjoyable:

Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes

There are a couple of reasons why you should refrain from wearing fancy heels. Firstly, you’ll probably have to walk around 20 minutes from the train station in Rendsburg to the venue. Although there is bus #10. However, as it’s not going very often, you’ll possibly even save time by walking.

Schloßplatz in Rendsburg
I guess this picture of Rendsburg’s Schloßplatz proves that wearing heels is inadequate.

Then, if you have time to explore the historic center of Rendsburg, you’ll have to walk on cobblestones. And finally, keep in mind that the venue is an old industrial building with time-worn uneven floors and simple iron stairs.

Bring some picnic and water

This is actually optional since there is a small charming café on the premises. However, It won’t surprise you that they are not exactly cheap. As a matter of fact, the prices aren’t even the main reason for bringing at least water with you.

The café is really very small and chances are that you won’t find a free spot to enjoy some refreshments. However, coming from Rendsburg, you’ll pass a supermarket where you can stock up on drinks’n’snacks.

The café Alte Meierei is open from Tuesday to Sunday from noon until 6 p. m. On weekends, there is also a cafeteria at the Alte Technikum open from 11 a. m. till 5 p. m.

Visit also the Cast Iron Art Museum

Across the street from the NordArt is the so-called Eisenkunstguss Museum, a museum showing a vast collection of cast iron works. After extensive remodeling, the museum was reopened in 2016. A media guide navigates visitors through the exhibition which has many interactive features as well as hands-on stations.

Crown Prince Christian VIII of Denmark and Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, formed after busts by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen
Crown Prince Christian VIII of Denmark and Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, formed after busts by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

The Eisenkunstguss Museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday between noon and 5 p. m. You can visit it for free with your NordArt ticket. Otherwise, the general admission is 5 €uros.

Make Time for a Stroll Through Rendsburg and the Sculpture Park

Rendsburg is not that big, yet, a stroll through the center is quite enjoyable.

Rendsburg's streets are lined with houses some of which were built in 1541.
Rendsburg’s streets are lined with houses some of which were built in 1541.

You’ll get to see lots of traditional North German architecture and if you still have capacities to relish more art, there is the serene Hans Heinemann Park with 26 intriguing sculptures from different art epochs.

Sculpture Park in Rendsburg
Rendsburg’s lush sculpture park. In the small pond a big fish.

The park was laid out in the 1950s and 1960s and is named after Hans Heinemann, a local painter, patron, and founder of the cultural association.

In Retrospect

If this post inspired you to look back at past NordArt events, here are my posts from 2017, 2018, and from 2022.

LIU Ruowang 刘若望 18 Wenji Yang - Asking up 2011, Bronze at the NordArt 2023
Running into an old friend: The sculpture Wenji Yang – Asking Up by Chinese superstar Liu Ruo Wang was created back in 2011 and has settled down in Büdelsdorf a couple of years ago.

Map

On this map, you get an idea of how to get to the NordArt and also of what else to see in Rendsburg. Clicking on the slider symbol at the top left or the full-screen icon at the top right will display the whole map including the legend.

Pinnable Pictures

If you choose to pin this post, please use one of these pictures:

Did You Enjoy This Post? Then You Might Like Also These About More Art And Art Events:

Disclaimer: NordArt granted me free entrance to write about this year’s edition. Howsoever, all opinions in this post are mine and were by no means influenced by my cooperation partner.

11 Replies to “How to Visit the NordArt in 2023”

  1. I love your description of NordArt. And it isn’t that expensive! I would really love to see the sculpture Scream in person. The other pièces are also ´noteworthy.

  2. This looks like a fun trip. I love exploring cities and art. The sculptures and paintings are all great pieces! And that is neat that there was an art vending machine. I could enjoy exploring the rest of the city too.

  3. You have done a great job of describing the history and significance of the exhibition, as well as the beauty and diversity of the artworks. Your photos are gorgeous and capture the essence of the exhibition. Thank you for this awesome and informative post!

  4. This sounds like a neat art museum. I like the different settings for the exhibits, and there is such a diverse range of artwork. Looks like a really cool place to explore.

  5. I love how you like to travel for art. And always know the perfect timing to visit when something exciting is on. But it is easier when it is an annual art festival like NordArt you can plan for. I must admit I can’t imagine buying art from a vending machine! I love the variety in the subjects for the art exhibits. And interesting to have the focus on Türkiye this year.

  6. Apart from the fact that I’ve never heard about this wonderful art fair called NordArt, I’m very ignorant of this area too!
    MMM one day I will have time to see all these things!🙏🙏🙏 ✌ ✌ ✌

    1. No, you’re by no means ignorant – I mean, who has ever heard of Büdelsdorf of all places?! But the event is truly fantastic!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *