(Updated August 2018)
The NordArt is a very nice art event – of course, not to be compared to the documenta, let alone the Biennial in Venice. But yes, they show a great variety of international art and has been one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art in Europe. So I like it.
|Welcome to Büdelsdorf – home of international art….and international cuisine (note the ‘restaurant’ to the right)|
In 1827, the foundation of the iron foundry Carlshütte was the first industrial plant of the duchies Schleswig and Holstein; today the federal country of Schleswig-Holstein.
|After the long trip out here and an extended visit, one can enjoy a snack or some homemade pastry at the cozy ‘Alte Meierei’, the Old Dairy.|
As it was finally closed down in 1997, the huge premises with the foundries and the historic living and management quarters were acquired by Mr. Hans-Julius Ahlmann, an associate at the globally operating ACO group. He initiated the Kunstwerk – artwork – Carlshütte where now concerts, lectures, film screenings, theater plays, and, obviously, exhibitions are taking place.
Since 1999, every summer the NordArt takes place and became one of the largest European shows of contemporary art.
|Casey McKee Irrational Exuberance
This artist has been a great discovery at this year’s NordArt: Casey McKee comes from Phoenix/Arizona, but is living and working in Berlin. I really like the impression of his photo-based paintings and hope to get to see more of his work.
Every year, there is an open call. 3,000 artists from 105 countries from all over the world applied for the NordArt 2018.
The jury has chosen 200 artists that now have the chance to show their paintings, photographs, videos, installations, and sculptures at….Büdelsdorf; it doesn’t get old.
|Now, this is totally bizarre: At first glance a normal collection of butterflies,….|
If you think, wait a minute, isn’t this year as special on?, you are absolutely right: The NordArt celebrates its 20th anniversary; and I personally hope that there are many more to come.
Update: Beginning of August 2018, the NordArt released a very informative and inspiring video on the making of this mega event.
The Country Focus
The NordArt isn’t just a random exhibition. They have a very elaborated and inspiring concept: Apart from the ‘regular’ show, every year, they put the focus on a particular country.
This year’s Country Focus is on the Czech Republic.
|František Matoušek aka Francis de Nim Františka.
Painting his hyper-realistic portraits on torn denim gives them an unexpected appearance.
|Michal Gabriel Eye To Eye|
|Michal Gabriel Birth of Venus
(Photo: ⓒNordArt2018. Michal Gabriel)
However, Czech artists are widely introduced at the Kunstwerk Carlshütte, anyway. Besides the old factory buildings, there is a huge garden filled with truly outstanding sculptures and installations, and many of those are made by Czech sculptors.
|Permanent exhibition of sculptures at the very spacious gardens: Jiří Štaněk Divan|
Many of these masterpieces are at Büdelsdorf for good – although some ogres seem to shuffle them around a bit between summers.
|In 2016, Liu Ruo Wang’s iconic work Original Sin 2011 – 2013 was displayed as one of the center pieces on the big lawn of the Carlshütte’s park.|
|In 2017, Ruo Wang’s ape-men were looking up into the sky at the bus stop in front of the Carlshütte’s main entrance. I wonder how they put these iron cast sculptures there – assuming that they did not walk across the street by themselves.|
By the way, I really love to see some stuff from the previous year again along with all the new art they gather.
The Focus Artist
Besides the Country Focus, there also a Focus Artist – who by a pure incident, in 2018, happens to be a Czech sculptor; e. g. in 2017, the Country Focus was Denmark and the Focus Artist was Czech enfant terrible David Černý.
Anyway, this year’s Focus Artist is the sculptor Jan Koblasa who sadly passed away last year. The Kunstwerk Carlshütte honors this artist who was highly involved in the NordArt’s conceptualization, organization, and activities.
Jan Koblasa and his unique form of sculpture – raw and at the same time very tender – will be dearly missed.
|Lying in state: Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Stalin.
Jan Koblasa: The Demons of the 20th Century
|In the front La Traviata II, in the back Adam and Eve with the Snake|
|While at the special exhibition in Jan Koblasa’s honor only his wooden work is being shown, in the garden, there is a permanent iron cast exhibit called Wailing Wall|
The Chinese Connection
Another recurring segment is the presentation of Chinese artists – organized for years in cooperation with the Chinese embassy and some Chinese culture institutions.
This year, however, the Chinese participants are presenting rather…quirky to creepy artwork – especially XIANG Jing’s sculptures are pretty disturbing.
|Once more the macabre group – in front of an even more terrifying wallhanging by ZHANG Dali Man and Beast.|
|Yet another jolly bunch of ladies, depicted by LIU Fei Women & Guns No. 30|
If you are interested in visiting this outstanding show this summer and need more information, you’ll get all the relevant info here.
The Cheap and Comfortable Daytrip
You get to Rendsburg by train from Hamburg in less than 90 minutes, from Berlin in about 3,5 hours (via Hamburg). From the train station, it’s 15 minutes walk to the Kunstwerk Carlshütte.
Here’s a special tip for you Germany-travellers: For about 25 Euro you can travel an entire day by train within every federal country; but you are only allowed to take the regional trains, not IC or ICE. The best part is: each further person pays only 4 Euro, up to 5 persons can travel on one regional day ticket. Due to its central position, Hamburg is automatically included in three tickets (Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, and Lower Saxony (that includes also Bremen)). Büdelsdorf is in Schleswig-Holstein, and the day ticket for one person is 28 Euro.
If you like the idea of the NordArt, you might wanna check out last year’s post on the NordArt 2017.