State visit to Croatia: Exhibitions at the Mimara Museum
It is a great pleasure for me to come here to the prestigious Mimara museum. I appreciate very much the museum’s hospitality and I am happy to be present at the twin Norwegian exhibitions Constructions and Paradigm. Over the next two weeks, the people of Zagreb and the Croatian art community will have the opportunity to discover and learn more about Norwegian contemporary decorative art and studio crafts.
Both exhibitions focus on very recent works. The two curators, who are highly respected and versatile artists in their own right, have included a number of well-established names, artists whose work can be seen in major museums and private collections not only in Norway, but also across Europe and in other parts of the world. Other participants are strong, emerging talents - young men and women who are about to start their international careers.
Internationally, applied arts and crafts are gaining ground. There is growing recognition that this is an important field of artistic expression. In Norway, the period since the 1970s has been a particularly exciting one. For our artists, the old traditions of craftsmanship and the materials at their disposal, represent a constant and welcome challenge. This has spurred the development of distinctive individual styles and works of originality, diversity and vitality.
Sometimes, a work of modern fine art may seem stern and introverted to the general public. For many, contemporary decorative art and studio craft will be more accessible. This may be because we spend our lives being surrounded by textiles, ceramics, glass and objects made of metal or wood.
This exhibition presents garments, vases, dishes, knives and handbags – the very things we, the public, have in our own homes and see, touch and use every day. The artists’ versions – well, rather interpretations – of these familiar objects may surprise us, even provoke us a little. But still, there is a feeling of recognition on our part; we are on common ground. These works of art and their creators can - and do speak to us directly. And that is what international cultural cooperation is all about: To create privileged meeting-places, where there is room for dialogue and sharing.
I would like to thank everyone in Croatia and Norway who have made this event possible; the curators, the participating artists, the Norwegian Association of Arts and Crafts, and, last but not least, the director and staff of the Mimara, who have so kindly welcomed us into their museum. Congratulations to you all. Thank you for your dedicated and hard work.
I hope that these exhibitions will have something to offer both to the general public and to the experts here in Croatia.
With these words, I have the pleasure of declaring the twin exhibitions Constructions and Paradigm open.