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Nordic Sensibilities: A Guide to the Top Arts Events in Autumn 2013
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Nordic Sensibilities: A Guide to the Top Arts Events in Autumn 2013

Picture of Bethan Morgan
Updated: 9 February 2017
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland are revered for their dramatic landscapes, ancient histories and elegantly minimalist designs. Pioneering Scandinavian design since the mid-20th century, these Nordic countries continue to be leaders in the fields of art, design, film, music and literature. This autumn and winter visitors can enjoy ten cultural events set against the backdrop of lava fields, waterfalls and historic cities.

Music | ULTIMA Oslo Contemporary Music Festival

Oslo, Norway: 5 – 14 September 2013

A designated cultural hub since 2006, ULTIMA is a festival that fuses contemporary music with art to create happenings found in bars, shops, museums, schools, shops or larger venues across Oslo. The festival, now over twenty years old, has been pivotal in helping to shape Norway’s artistic identity. Placing an emphasis on experimental troupes of music, 2013’s line-up includes events such as ‘Adventura Botanica’, a combination of dance, sculpture, moving art and noise poetry based on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Art | Nuart festival 2013

Oslo, Norway: 7 September – 20 October 2013

Nuart is an independent festival established in 2001 which promotes and explores contemporary street and urban art. Both emerging and established artists gather to engage and experiment with artistic practices such as graffiti, comic culture, stencil art and situationism. The festival not only transforms Stavanger’s cityscape, but successfully integrates these artforms into the public realm whilst highlighting their accessible nature and artistic capabilities, dynamisms and possibilities. This annual event is a feast for the eyes and, as one of Europe’s leading art events, it is constantly pushing and provoking the restraints found in traditional presentations of urban art.

Design | Helsinki Design Week

Helsinki, Finland,: 12 – 22 September 2013

Helsinki’s top annual event, Helsinki Design Week 2013 takes the theme of ‘Action!’. As the title suggests, the event is not only a showcase for innovative design, but encourages visitors to partake in the design process. Throughout the week design events will be hosted across Helsinki, providing visitors with a cross-section of the incredible impact design has on individual lives. Events taking place cover a range of disciplines including industrial and traditional design, fashion, music and communication.

Art | Høstutstillingen

Oslo, Norway: 14 September – 13 October 2013

Høstutstillingen, or The National Exhibition of the Visual Arts, has been running annually since 1882 and boasts a history full of controversy. Known as the largest contemporary art event in Norway, Høstutstillingen originated from the desire to veer away from the institution, and it continues to support emerging artists by exhibiting works in disciplines such as painting, graphics, sculpture, drawing, and more recently performance, sound art, photography and film. The broad array of media, combined with the vast numbers of artists involved, ensures Høstutstillingen is a leader in the field of contemporary art, and a must-see event this autumn.

Music | Copenhagen Blues Festival

Copenhagen, Denmark: 25 – 29 September 2013

In its 13th year, the Copenhagen Blues Festival is once again hosting five days of festivities to celebrate the musical genre of blues. Each day is packed with acts ranging from established international blues musicians to local talent. Altogether, the 57 concerts comprising the festival perfectly delve into traditional and modern forms of blues to capture its expressive nature. Musicians performing this year include the likes of internationally acclaimed Jimmy Burns, Australian duo Fingerprint and Danish favourites Knudsen & Boyson.

Film | Reykjavík International Film Festival

Reykjavík, Iceland: 26 September – 6 October 2013

Iceland’s film festival Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) is an annual event which screens over 100 films originating from 40 countries. RIFF will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2013 by showcasing a variety of drama and non-fiction films. A major attraction of the film festival is its overlap with disciplines such as music and photography, embodied in RIFF’s Ciné-Concert, where live music is performed to silent films. The programme of unique events also includes Swim-in Cinema, for which the audience takes a soak in the pool whilst enjoying a classic film. RIFF not only presents breakthrough films from established and emerging film talent, but provides an alternative and fun way to experience cinema.

Art | Affordable Art Fair Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden: 3 – 6 October 2013

The Affordable Art Fair, founded in 1996 in Battersea, London, now resides in over ten cities including Milan, Singapore and Stockholm. Growing from humble beginnings, this art fair is now one of the leading global events, and this year’s Affordable Art Fair Stockholm will exhibit works from over 70 Swedish and international galleries. The fair showcases works from emerging to established artists, with all pieces being sold for under SEK45,000. Paintings, prints, photography and sculpture can all be found at the fair and, with the assigned budget, buyers can rest assured they will be paying an honest amount for their artistic purchase.

Culture | Night of Culture

Copenhagen, Denmark: 11 October 2013

Copenhagen bursts to life on October 11th when over 500 events are held across the city for one special evening of culture and entertainment. As museums, theatres, musical venues, churches and libraries open their doors, visitors come in droves to experience a fusion of art, music, theatre and interactive activities suitable for children and adults. The Night of Culture programme includes SHOWTIME, a presentation experimenting with the parameters of visual art, performance and music (Overgarden 20.00 – 23.00).

Music | Iceland Airwaves

Reykjavík, Iceland: 30 October – 3 November 2013

Internationally renowned Iceland Airwaves sees tourists flock to this trendy music festival during the latter part of the year. With past acts including Björk, Sigur Rós and The Flaming Lips, the festival is a mixing point of famed musicians with underground bands, with the 2013 line-up including AlunaGeorge and Gold Panda. Situated in the picturesque town of Reykjavík, the outstanding beauty of waterfalls and lava fields secures Iceland Airwaves as one of the world’s most visually spectacular and unique music festivals.

Film | Stockholm International Film Festival

Stockholm, Sweden: 6 -17 November 2013

Upon noticing the severe lack of a cinematic presence within Stockholm, three film enthusiasts set up Stockholm International Film Festival back in 1990. Now pioneering film on an international level, its year round programme includes outdoor screenings during the summer months and a film festival in November. Over the past two decades the festival has showcased over 3000 films, featuring both established international pictures and local, emerging directors. The festival’s programme includes screenings as well as seminars and meet and greets with actors and filmmakers.

By Bethan Morgan