Photography by Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff.

Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff, Hey Buster! What Do You Know About Desire, 1995 © Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff. Reproduction photo: Prallan Allsten/Moderna Museet

The Nordic Miracle

The Nordic Art Scene in the 1990s

19.11 2021


Meet a few of the people who were at the hub of the art world in the 1990s. Welcome to a symposium relating to the exhibition “Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff – Alternative Secrecy”. Discover and take a closer look at the creative explosion and the artistic styles of the 1990s. What happened on the art scene in those years – and why?

In the early 1990s, a new generation of artists emerged in the Nordic countries. Rooted in postmodernist ideas, they created art with entirely new themes and expressions – and many of the artists were women. The impact was immense, and the period has later been described by the Swiss curator and art critic Hans Ulrich Obrist as a “Nordic miracle”.

Meet two of the artists who gained prominence on this new art scene: Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff, currently featured at Moderna Museet in the exhibition “Alternative Secrecy”, and Elina Brotherus, who is represented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki.

The keynote speaker is Jonas Ekeberg, who describes the events of this seminal decade in his book “Postnordisk – Den nordiske kunstscenens vekst og fall 1976 – 2016” (2019).

About the participants

Elina Brotherus

Elina Brotherus is an artist who lives and works in Helsinki, Finland, and Avallon, France. She has an MA degree in Photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki and an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Helsinki. She started exhibiting internationally in 1997. Brotherus is represented in several collections, including those of Centre Pompidou, Paris, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and Maxxi, Rome. She has been awarded prestigious prizes such as Carte Blanche PMU (2017) and the Finnish State Prize for Photography (2008).

Jonas Ekeberg

Jonas Ekeberg originally studied art. He has been a writer, critic and curator for three decades. In 2009–2013 and 2015–2020, he was the chief editor of the digital journal Kunstkritikk, and was previously the editor of the journals Hyperfoto, Siksi and Billedkunst. In 2000, Ekeberg was the curator of Momentum – the Nordic Biennial for Contemporary Art, and founded Oslo Kunsthall the same year. In 2002–2004, he was the curator of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA). In 2004–2009, he was the director of Preus Museum – Norwegian National Museum of Photography. Artistic director of Fotografihuset until 2020. Currently specialist of visual art at the Norwegian Arts Council.

Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff

Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff made her artistic debut in the early 1990s. She studied at the Academy of Photography at Konstfack in Stockholm from 1991 to 1994 and at the Royal Institute of Art, Stocholm. She represented Sweden at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1999. From the early 2000s she has been an adjunct professor of photography at Fotohögskolan and subsequently at HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design at Gothenburg University.

John Peter Nilsson

John Peter Nilsson is the communicative museum strategist at Moderna Museet. In 2012–2016, he was the director of Moderna Museet Malmö. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of NU: The Nordic Art Review (1999–2002) and Siksi: The Nordic Art Review (1996–99). In 1986–2016, he was an art critic for Aftonbladet and a freelance curator, including for the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and the Nordic art exhibitions in Athens, Sienna, Vienna and Duisburg. He has curated numerous exhibitions at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Malmö, including Andy Warhol 1968 and Nils Dardel and the Modern Age.

Anna Tellgren

Anna Tellgren, PhD, is curator of photography at Moderna Museet. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including Lars Tunbjörk Vinter/Hem (2007) and Moderna Museet Nu: Inta Ruka (2008), Written in Light – Early Photography (2017), and is the curator of Annika Elisabeth von Hausswolff – Alternative Secrecy (2021). Her exhibition Francesca Woodman. On Being an Angel (2005) has toured internationally. Tellgren is also head of research at Moderna Museet and was the editor of The History Book. Moderna Museet 1958–2008 (2008) and is the associate editor of Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History.