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The Weather Diaries at American Swedish Institute Explores Fashion, Culture and Identity in Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands

Ena with Eyes Shut, 2014, designer: Nikolaj Kristensen, © Cooper & Gorfer

Exhibition On View March 25-July 2, 2017

The Weather Diaries is an exhibition of striking, photographic artworks linked with one-of-a-kind gallery installations at the American Swedish Institute that probes the roots of  West Nordic fashion and explores the inescapable impact of nature and weather in developing a centuries deep cultural identity in Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.  The Weather Diaries features the mesmerizing creations of the artistic duo Cooper & Gorfer, who will be special guests with Icelandic artist/designer STEiNUNN, during the Friday, March 24, First Look—The Weather Diaries Preview Party.  The exhibition is on view Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, July 2, 2017. The ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis.  For more details, visit ASImn.org or call 612-871-4907.

The Weather Diaries continues ASI’s 2017 suite of programming inspired by Migration, Identity and Belonging and reflects the organization’s founding by Swedish immigrants and mission to be a gathering place for all people to share experiences around culture, migration, the environment and the arts.

Sarah Cooper, (U.S., 1974) and Nina Gorfer (Austria, 1979), who now live and work in Gothenburg, Sweden and Berlin, Germany, travelled throughout Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands on assignment from exhibition producer The Nordic House in Reykjavik.  Their resulting large-scale, painting-like pieces are constructed with advanced collage techniques that combine photographs of work by some of the most gifted artists and designers of the West Nordic region including STEiNUNN, Barbara I Gongini, Kría, Nikolaj Kristensen, GUĐRUN & GUĐRUN, Bibi Chemnitz, Jessie Kleemann, Mundi and JÖR by Guðmundur Jörundsson.  The accompanying installations display, among other items, a 55-pound beaded collar, knitted garments, tulle and feathers, bone fragments and full-sized mannequins in tailored suits. The Weather Diaries film, a short “behind the scenes” documentary, shot on location, will show in the exhibition, giving voice to the designers and capturing the visual allure of these three island nations.

Bruce Karstadt,  ASI President/CEO, commented, “We are privileged to host The Weather Diaries, a fascinating examination of the powerful influences nature and geography can have in shaping cultural identity as expressed in fashion and art. This is a phenomenon Minnesotans well understand.  As ASI continues its 2017 Migration, Identity and Belonging programming, we welcome the exhibition as an opportunity to spark meaningful dialogue about how exploring our roots can positively impact today’s local and global community.”

Cooper & Gorfer are photographers in origin, but they strive away from realistic representation and are known for their painterly aesthetics and poetic hybrid image collages. Their work often revolves around issues of cultural identity and the connections among people, story and place. Informed by comprehensive research travel and close collaborations, the duo carefully directs their productions, distorting proportions, shifting time and space, and using stylized poses as part of an enigmatic ensemble.  They describe their work in the context of art history’s Mannerists, Pre-Raphaelites or Surrealists, straining observable reality through a complex psychological filter of dreams, moods, fears and wounds, interpreting present-day identities by crossing genres from centuries of visual culture.

Another ASI 2017 Exhibition

Cows Can Dream – an Exhibition/Installation in ASI’s Youth & Family Gallery

Through October 29

ASI’s Youth & Family Gallery on the third floor of the Turnblad Mansion has been turned into an imaginative environment inspired by Cows Can Dream, a children’s book with illustrations by Swedish visual artist Maria Bajt and text by Jason Diakité (aka Swedish rap star Timbuktu). The Gallery brings to life the inner world of (Ms.) Sam the cow who dreams and wanders through Sweden’s Wanås Konst sculpture park. The book, on sale at the ASI Museum Store, and exhibition are an experiment in words encouraging discovery of creativity and what is art.

ASI MUSEUM HOURS:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, Noon–5 p.m.; closed Monday.

Museum Admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5  ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.                             

FIKA, ASI’s award winning café, is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  8:30 a.m. –5 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.  Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The ASI MUSEUM STORE is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. –8 p.m.  Sunday,  Noon-5 p.m.

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