New Nordic Contemporary Art

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January 10. ­ March 1. 2003

Opening Friday January 10. 2003 at 7 pm

Sparwasser HQ
Offensive für zeitgenössische Kunst und Kommunikation
Torstrasse 161, Berlin Mitte
Bergstüb'l PROJEKTE
Veteranenstrasse 25, Berlin Mitte

Opening hours Wed-Fri 4 pm ­ 7 pm, Sat 2 pm - 6 pm


Curators TALK: Khaled D. Ramadan meets the audience on February 14.
His paper for the talk


Simone Aaberg Kærn
Jouko Lehtola
Melek Mazici
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
Khaled D. Ramadan
Amel Ibrahimovic

Stine Høholt and Khaled D. Ramadan

Initiated and produced by NIFCA, Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art,
in collaboration with Vejle Kunstmuseum (DK).


The following texts can be found on the NIFCA homepage - Stine Høholt: "Introduction"/ Tomas Ivan Träskman: "Exile on Main Street"/ Malene Vest Hansen: "Nordic Horizontalism: Politicized Positions on Everyday Life".

A catalogue of the Clockwise exhibition has been published;
To order please contact NIFCA



"Artists as humorous and melancholy ethnographers."

The humorous and melancholic works in the CLOCKWISE exhibition (opening on January 10. 2003) examine life style politics and shed light on different attitudes toward mobility, internationalisation and new subcultural communities, which arise as traditional and cultural ties becomes more lax. The seven contemporary artists featured in the exhibition target anthropological and sociological issues rather than aesthetics and form. The works constitute an ethnographic mapping of the cultural field. The artists reflect cultural shifts related to identity, place and social environments, including the art world.

We live in a time of constantly changing identity stories. The British sociologist Anthony Giddens has called the phenomenon life style politics. The single individual creates his or her own identity, confronted with an ever-growing number of choices on all levels, from those of profession and sexuality to styles of dressing, music and eating. And for some, this includes the voluntary or enforced choice of country and culture. Some are vagabonds, others tourists, the majority something in between, as stated by the sociologist Zygmund Bauman, who in his own life experienced an enforced relocation.

The works in the exhibition contemplate cultural self-understanding. As the efforts of melancholy ethnographers alternating cool detachment with socially oriented engagement. Above all, the works in CLOCKWISE recognize how individuals, time and again, are forced to navigate according to their own experiences.

"The hunt for an identity has become the main source of social meaning. This hunt is as pervasive as the technological and economical shift which has taken place recently. The hunt for an identity whether collective or individual, earned or constructed, takes up more and more of our time," as art critique Tomas Ivan Träskman writes in the exhibition catalogue.

The artists use a range of different media, including installation, photography, video and drawing. They engage and invest depth of heart in our mutual social and existential reality in 2002 - and ask the same of us.




For Simone Aaberg Kærn (b. 1969) "the personal is political." In the documentary video Taraneh Aims for the Stars, we meet a woman from "real life": Taraneh (Akram Monfared Arya) from Stockholm, who is running in the national election as a representative for the social democratic party. Her path has been long and winding, staring in Iran where - as a mother of five - she became the first-ever woman pilot in Iran. It is a documentary about a unique individual who, due to drastic political change, has had to make radical choices concerning her personal life.
Colonel (b. 1961) works with mappings of the worlds of art and culture. In his work the subject matter, whether an art institution or the Danish nation, is treated as anthropological site. He deals with "the ordinary Dane" and specific cultural areas that he maps out with a focus on intolerance, misguided kindness and hypocrisy. Humour and irony are central ingredients in his works. Colonel's practice gathers inspiration from ethnography, anthropology, journalism and cultural theory.

In Amel Ibrahimovic (b. 1977) drawings the nationstate mindset and commercial and media-exposed soccer culture meet the art world. The drawings represent well-known artists and gallery owners in different "team lineups" or "idol portraits". Almost like an outside cultural anthropologist observing an isolated ethnic grouping, Ibrahimovic lays bare the largely predictable maps of the contemporary art world. He is concerned with how and why art reaches its audience. His mapping is both critical of institutions and existential.

Photographer Jouko Lehtola's (b. 1963) series Marked Skin presents some of Finland's most heavily tattooed people. The desire expressed in piercing and tattooing culture, to arrive at new forms of "authentic identity", surfaces in a world that is anything but authentic and homogeneous, in which traditional points of identification are under threat.

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (b. 1970) examines the local/global shifts in the life of everyday women. In her video Seeing Pilar she filmed her grandmother in the Philippines. The two women - the photographed and the photographing - are seen in contrast. Two generations of the same family, but from different parts of the world, with different attitudes to religious rituals and tradition. The work contrasts scenes of personal family history with an "ethnographic" point of view.

The life and memories of Melek Mazici (b. 1964) are closely connected to her work. Though, they tell us a more universal story too. For the exhibition "Clockwise" she created an installation of three dresses and three water basins, reflecting the dresses. Melek Mazici: Red, Black and White.
Melek Mazici says: Everybody has his own story, has his own memories and emotions. I am not sure how my life is related to the landscapes, the shoes and the flowers described in my work. The same is the case for the colors and forms, which I use. I just know that my life and memories are closely connected to the themes of my art, and that they tell an even bigger story, that connects us all.

Khaled D. Ramadan (b. 1964): NO-UN, 2002. Property of USA.S, 2002.
For the exhibition Khaled D. Ramadan created two politically charged works, consisting of UN-helmets and yellow life jackets, as we know them from airplanes. Ramadan's works challenges our usual conception of security, effectivity and functionality. They make us question the psychological and symbolic mechanisms of our experience - of safety when in the air; - of security when protected by an international organization like UN, which, for most people, represents and guarantees global stability.


For more information contact:
Marita Muukkonen,
tel. +358 (0)9 68 64 31 08 / +358 (0)4 05 04 01 12
Sparwasser HQ
Lise Nellemann,
tel. +49 30 21 80 30 01 / +49 17 96 70 58 59