On view beginning October 12 at Scandinavia House in New York City, Cutting Edges: Nordic Concrete Art from the Erling Neby Collection presents concrete art from the Nordic countries in a collection never before seen in the U.S. Curated by Karin Hellandsjø, Director Emeritus of the Henie Onstad Art Centre, this exhibition presents over 30 key works from major artists in painting, drawing, and sculpture.
The exhibition will open with a special evening reception on Thursday, October 10 from 6-8 PM. Norwegian collector Erling Neby and curator Karin Hellandsjø will discuss the works in the exhibition and the background behind this distinctive, experimental period in Nordic art.
A practice that was developed before and after World War II, and devised to avoid ambiguity in the word ‘abstract,’ concrete art is characterized by combinations of simple geometric elements to create autonomous visual realities. The term “concrete art” was first used in 1929 by Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. Internationally recognized artists such as Victor Vasarely, Max Bill, Burgoyne Diller, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Josef Albers became exponents of the practice, which attracted the attention of Nordic artists visiting the Geometric and Concrete art scene centered around the Galerie Denise René in Paris.
Much like their contemporaries in the U.S. and Paris, these Nordic artists became interested in creating artworks both social and universal, using pure form and color based on mathematical principles. International exhibitions of concrete art also travelled to the Nordic capitals in the early years, leading to a dynamic, influential interaction that has since continued up until this day. Artists in this exhibition include Olle Bærtling, Lars Erik Falk and Lars Englund (Sweden); Richard Mortensen and Robert Jacobsen (Denmark); Kristján Guðmundsson (Iceland); Gunnar S. Gundersen, Arne Malmedal, Kristin Nordhøy, Aase Texmon Rygh and Bjørn Ransve (Norway); and Lars-Gunnar Nordström, Sam Vanni, Paul Osipow and Matti Kujasalo (Finland). Works by these artists are distinguished by their use of bright colors and geometric edges.
Erling Neby began collecting works by concrete artists in the early 1970s. Since then, he has built up a substantial and extraordinary collection of concrete art in paintings, sculpture and graphics, by both Nordic and international artists. Works from his collection have been exhibited internationally since the early 1990s at museums including the Centre Pompidou and the Whitney Museum.
Cutting Edges will be accompanied by a range of programming, including art workshops for all ages.
Scandinavia House is at 58 Park Avenue, New York, NY. For more information: scandinaviahouse.org