NordArt - The Brittle Charm of the North meets Cosmopolitanism

NordArt 2019 in the Kunstwerk Carlshütte: From the 1st of June to 13th of October, 2019. This year, the exhibition in the far North invites you to take a closer look at France. Beyond that, you will also get to meet 5 sculpture network members among the exhibitors.

What would the world be without images, music, or film, oriented solely towards the beneficial? NordArt gives a very concrete answer: "We would rob ourselves of an essential root of our lives. Nowhere else are fantasy and creativity so at home as in art. Nowhere else do we succeed better in leaving our everyday perspective and reflecting on ourselves." NordArt, which has been held in the former iron foundry, Kunstwerk Carlshütte, since 1999 and is one of the largest annual exhibitions of contemporary art in Europe. It is annually regarded as an entire work of art by chief curator Wolfgang Gramm. The exhibition offers a comprehensive panorama with more than 200 selected artists from all over the world showing their paintings, photographs, videos, sculptures, and installations. Since 2011, the Orchestra Academy of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (SHMF) has also been home to the Kunstwerk Carlshütte. NordArt and the music festival are not only good neighbours who both cultivate the worldwide network of artists, they also promote the crossover of visual arts and music. Since 2015, the concerts have taken place in the middle of NordArt. Poetry is also considered a permanent feature of the program. This ensures variety at all times.

NordArt 2019 DENG Guoyuan (China) "Noah's Garden II"
DENG Guoyuan (China) "Noah's Garden II" (detail)

"Sometimes one colour and a certain brushstroke are enough and worlds open up".

These sudden moments of recognizing and grasping other perspectives are what NortArt wishes for its 21st edition. This year's in-depth look is at France. In collaboration with curator Jérôme Cotinet-Aphaize, the national pavilion under the title "Some of Us" is dedicated to French artists. This includes artists who were born between the late 1960s and early 1990s as well as those who have made a name for themselves in our neighbouring country and beyond in recent years.
The exhibition will examine the development across a generation of women to illuminate commonalities, and observe what is perhaps a typical French or Western perspective. The patron of the national pavilion is H.E. Anne-Marie Descôtes, Ambassador of the French Republic. The ACO Wagenremise focuses on the North German realists and thus sets an important regional focus. In the Autumn of 1989, when the political landscape of Europe began to move, Nikolaus Störtenbecker initiated a circle of artists to explore painting and drawing while placing themselves directly in front of the object, thereby sending out a very special signal.
This year, NordArt offers new highlights from China. After the Spectacular Apes by Liu Ruowang and The Phoenixes by Xu Bing, visitors can look forward to Noah's Garden by Deng Guoyuan and Babylonian by Xi Jianjun. Mongolian contemporary artists, to whom NordArt gave a large stage in 2015 and 2016, will once again show a selection of their works. Feeding on animistic rock art, Buddhist iconography, traditional painting, socialist realism, and Western abstraction, the works grow together into a new and very individual style.

NordArt 2019 David Černý (Czech Republic) "QUO VADIS" 1990
David Černý (Czech Republic) "QUO VADIS" 1990

sculpture network present again this year

This year, 5 sculpture network members are among the exhibiting artists.

Dorsten Diekmann (born 1960/Germany): One of the main themes of Diekmann’s work is movement. The stone is worked in such a way that the statics and weight of the material seem to be suspended. The polished surfaces create a connection to the surroundings. Changing light and weather conditions are reflected. Through the sculpture, a direct contact to elementary elements becomes possible, perhaps also a return to one's own origin.

Rainer Fest (born 1953/Germany): In the field of tension of contemporary art expressions, his sculptures mark a very individual position. The position is developed more from personal life experience than from a reference to art history or even an orientation on the market. The central concept around which Rainer Fests art revolves is connection. This theme runs through his entire sculptures. He works with the irreconcilable and searches for spaces between opposites.

Peter Lundberg (born 1961/USA): His large, seemingly organic concrete works are poured into the earth. Therefore, they resemble the subconscious - as complex structures and beyond a judgement between beautiful and ugly, good or bad. They grow out of the earth, stretch into the sky, and embody pure emotion.

Jörg Plickat (born 1954/Germany): Plickat is one of the most internationally recognised German sculptors. After 1985, his initially figuratively influenced art was transformed into an abstract-cubic formal language, behind which the human figure is often recognizable. Since 2000, corten steel has became the materiality of his sculptures as well as some of them in bronze.

NordArt 2019: Jörg Plickat (Germany) "Move – Wheel of Time",
Jörg Plickat (Germany) "Move – Wheel of Time",
Corten steel, H: 480 cm & "Gate of silence", marble


Urs-P. Twellmann (born 1959/Switzerland): Wood in all its forms is the starting point for Urs Twellmann's objects, installations, and interventions. The examination of the material, the exploration of its properties and possibilities as well as the field of tension between chaos and order are at the centre of the creative process. At this centre, the artist breaks, splits, saws, and analyses the woods in order to finally bring them into new arrangements and contexts.

A Former Iron Foundry as an Exhibition Venue

The iron production plant "Carlshütte" in Büdelsdorf, located on the Kiel Canal directly North of Rendsburg, was founded in 1827 and was the first industrial company on the Jutland peninsula at that time. Johannes Ahlmann, who had been selling the products of "Carlshütte" in Scandinavia since 1840, took over the commercial management in 1883. For a long time, the iron foundry dominated the economic life of the town. In 1946 Josef-Severin Ahlmann (1924-2006) founded his company ACO on the grounds of the "Carlshütte", which manufactures concrete construction elements and windows as well as the first drainage channels in the 1960s. In the 1970s, ACO continued to grow internationally with its innovative polymer concrete linear drainage system. Since the 1980s, the family business has been managed by Hans-Julius Ahlmann, who has since promoted growth, diversification, and internationalisation. The former iron foundry was shut down in 1997 and has served as an exhibition venue since 1999. The venue not only represents an impressive industrial monument, but also offers an unusual ambience for cultural events of all kinds with its enormous hall aisles, the restored ACO Wagenremise, and the spacious park area. Today, Kunst in der Carlshütte gGmbH is a non-profit cultural initiative of the internationally active ACO Group and the cities of Büdelsdorf and Rendsburg.


Nord Art 2019: Jan Dostál (Czech Republic) "Rounded"
Jan Dostál (Czech Republic) "Rounded", steel, 600 x 600 x 140 cm


NordArt 2019
1 June - 13 October 2019
Tu – Su: 11.00 - 19.00
24782 Büdelsdorf


Authour: Claudia Thiel

Claudia Thiel is an art historian and likes to pose her questions to the subject area in a journalistic style.



Cover picture: XI Jianjun (China) "Babylonian", wood, H: 750 cm. ZHANG Dali (China) "AK-47", acrylic on canvas

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