Heads Up: In a Swedish Park, Art Co-Stars With Nature

§ August 12th, 2012 § Filed under Uncategorized § Tagged , , Comments Off on Heads Up: In a Swedish Park, Art Co-Stars With Nature

AMID a thicket of beech trees and moss-covered stones, I spied a giant red ball wedged high in the branches of a tree. A few yards away, there was another ball stuck in a tree — similar to the way a basketball occasionally gets lodged between a rim and the backboard. Farther along the path, there was yet another. This was no ordinary forest.

The bright red spheres, part of a work called “Double Dribble” by the Swedish artist Anne Thulin, were part of my introduction to the 1.5-square-mile sculpture park Wanas in southern Sweden.

Wanas (pronounced vah-NOS) is a rural estate and arts foundation with more than 50 permanent outdoor artworks in a wooded park, plus large-scale installations and temporary exhibitions in former farm buildings. Despite its location in the countryside of Ostra Goinge, a sparsely populated region 65 miles northeast of Malmo, this unusual arts destination attracted nearly 80,000 visitors last year. In addition to the art, the estate is also home to a handsome 16th-century step-gabled castle called Wanas Slott, a working organic dairy farm, and a cafe. (You can guess where the cafe gets its milk.)

This year is the 25th anniversary of art at Wanas (46-44-660-71), which is being celebrated with a roster of lectures, tours and special programs.

Since 1987, when Marika Wachtmeister, the founder, invited 25 artists to exhibit at this sprawling countryside property, Wanas has been augmenting its collection of outdoor artworks that are conceived and created by artists on site, often with the help of local craftsmen. By now, more than 200 artists, including Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic and Roxy Paine, have visited Wanas and contributed works.

“Every year we make new pieces, new productions,” said Elisabeth Millqvist, Wanas’s artistic director, who, with her husband, Mattias Givell, assumed direction of Wanas’ arts foundation last year. This year, the couple unveiled two new commissioned outdoor works, five temporary exhibitions and a Wanas-inspired children’s book.

On a recent visit, Ms. Millqvist and I toured the wooded park, pausing to examine a few of the 200-plus hand-carved inscriptions along a moss-and-lichen-covered stone wall (Jenny Holzer’s “Wanas Wall”), one of many works that are subtly camouflaged by nature.

“Nature makes everything quite romantic,” Ms. Millqvist said.

Other works, however, are starkly incongruous with the sylvan setting, like a jumble of boldly colored rectangular blocks (Jacob Dahlgren’s “Primary Structure”) jutting at right angles from each other, an ersatz jungle gym deep in the forest.

Although the outdoor sculpture park is open to visitors year-round, the cafe and Wanas’s indoor exhibition spaces are open only from late May through October. During this abbreviated season, visitors can experience a haunting five-floor art installation by Ann Hamilton in the estate’s old barn and see this year’s temporary exhibitions in the art gallery (a former stable). The latter site includes a new room for video works and a retrospective including scented works from Sissel Tolaas, an artist whose medium is aroma.

But the strongest draw remains Wanas’s leafy park, where nature is the gallery and discovering an artwork is often a magical experience interrupted only by the crunch of the forest floor underfoot. Few signs mark the wooded trails; instead visitors receive a map and are encouraged to explore.

“People will get a little bit lost,” Ms. Millqvist said, “but I think that’s a good thing.”

Editor: From Sweden it’s not at all very far to Germany. Spend time and check out Berlin. Some claim it will be currently the capital in The eu that has probably the most vivid art location. To better see the Berlin, take a tour by having an skilled partner. An advice coming from us: For a Reichstag Führung, they are the perfect companies in Berlin.

Source: http://travel.nytimes.com