CPR 2017: The Baltic Sea
// Tallinn, Stockholm, Oslo, Malmö, Copenhagen
// September 24 - October 18, 2017


Four capitals connected by salt deprived cold seas. On the one hand a geographic area that could be described as a corner of Europe, and on the other hand a region with a history of political and cultural extremes. Today, wealthy, less remote and with more crossbred cultures, Scandinavian and Baltic countries are in no way exempt from the global changes and conflicts of our time. Our hope is that curatorial residents will be equipped with unique knowledge about this scarcely populated region where one can be surrounded by forest but also gaze far into the distance. We hope to share both the endless woods and an archipelago where the sun has a protean relation to the skyline. We will primarily travel by boat and train. This will also allow us to visit the two major Nordic biennales, Momentum in Moss, Norway and GIBCA in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as the young contemporary art biennial Photomonth in Tallinn.

While Estonia is one of Europe’s greenest countries, it also has the continent’s highest number of startups per capita, the most successful and well-known being Skype.  Linguistically the Estonian language is closely related to Finnish, as they both belong to the same Finno-Ugric language group.  Yet historical events in the 20th century have more closely tied Estonia to its southern neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, who also lost their freedom to Russia in the 1940s, regained their independence in the 1990s, and joined the European Union in the 2000s.
Tallinn has three major art institutions focused on contemporary art, as well as several nonprofit art spaces, initiatives, and galleries, which all help to create a compact but extremely vibrant art scene.  Tallinn’s central position is supported by the Estonian Academy of Arts, which is currently in the process of building a new home in the northern part of the city.  Because several of the major initiatives in the Estonian contemporary art world have been grassroots efforts for decades, the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC) has taken the initiative to fundraise for the construction of a shared work and programming space for key contemporary art organizations, festivals, and biennials in Estonia.  The proposed venue in an old submarine factory on the Tallinn waterfront will open in 2019.

The political history and culture of the Scandinavian countries have many similarities, but Sweden often stands out in global estimations as one of the least conservative and religious countries in the world with the highest levels of tolerance and self-expression.  With some high profile names in the history of curating such as Pontus Hultén and Maria Lind the Swedish art scene is highly international. Curators of CPR will be introduced to influential art centres and a plethora of artistic practices, some of which address feminism, identity and others that work between art and science. We will see how the possibilities to produce art are linked to the political system and participants will become acquainted with the impact of cultural policies on artists, institutions and other artistic agents. 

Norway has strong historical links to Sweden and Denmark, all speaking very similar language and having belonged to joint and separate territories throughout the centuries. Norway became independent in 1905 and difference to Sweden it was occupied during the Second World War. Today Norway is a non-EU country and one of the wealthiest nations in the world since oil deposits was found in the late 60’s. Appreciated for it’s spectacular nature Norway is the home of the world’s larges population of Sami, indigenous people likewise populating Northern Sweden, Finland and Russia. Oslo has a vibrant artist-run and also international art scene and in recent years seen a massive transformation with spectacular architecture like Snøhetta´s opera house.

The Nordic Biennal of Contemporary Art Momentum
Besides visiting the Capital Oslo the curators will also be invited to the small city Moss, one hour south of the capital hosting the International Nordic biennial of contemporary art, Momentum. The 9th edition is curated by 5 Nordic curators and brings up the theme of alienation.

Gothenburg International Biennale of Contemporary Art
Curated by Nav Haq, GIBCA 2017 looks to address complex questions on the status of secularity today.

Öresund is a strait that forms the Swedish - Danish border and separates the Danish Island Sjælland from Skåne, the most southern region of Sweden. Since 2000 the Öresund Bridge connects the cities Copenhagen and Malmö, forming a joint labour market and possibilities for exchange. During our visit the curators of CPR will meet some of the most prominent art institutions and artists on both sides of the strait and learn how these to cities exists in proximity to each other and to the rest of the European continent.

Copenhagen -the capital of Denmark is the smallest of the Nordic countries- has also been nicknamed the capital of Scandinavia, battling with Stockholm for the touristic titling. The city is placed centrally in short proximity to other Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Norway, but also Island, Faroe Island. The country consists of a peninsula, Jutland surround by no less than 443 named islands.
Denmark is known for being a socially progressive culture as Denmark was the first country to introduce gay marriages and legalize pornography. The culture is very focused on equality both in term of the law and the social class systems. Denmark has a rich intellectual and artistic heritage. Today the art scene is characterized by new ambitions and international experiments from the city’s ‘kunsthalles’ and the artists run scene in parallel to the ironic and international status Louisiana Museum of Modern art. The visit to Copenhagen will include visits to non-art institutions to look at how the curatorial be embedded in historical sites and collections. The visit will also cover the artists run scene, where the independent curating takes place and look at ways in which this scene has flourished over time via self-organization.

Curators-in-Residence will explore how the ideas that shape contemporary art practices today are formed and produced in this region before they move to larger cities for presentation and distribution. In concluding the program, Copenhagen will serve to evaluate its particular aesthetics and traditions in respect to the different visited cities. By choosing to finish in Denmark, a country with an egalitarian society and a political system well organized, CPR The Baltic Sea will attempt to evaluate how the visual arts are perceived in each of the visited cities, searching for traditional aesthetics that are transferred into contemporary art practices and modern expressions. It is a wide-ranging itinerary, with the objective of following an overview of different places of production around this Nordic Region.