Antti Laitinen, Broken Landscape 2017, Fargetrykk / Diasec. Courtesy: AKO Kunststiftelse / Tangen-samlingen

Between the Trees. AKO Curatorial Award 2017


The exhibition Between the Trees presents works by 16 nordic artists, all part of the collection of AKO Kunst- stiftelse / The Tangen Collection. The exhibition is curated by Harry Dougall, winner of the AKO Curatorial Award 2017.

” This exhibition, which explores how trees have continued to act as an intellectual and creative impulse, brings together a diverse selection of works by 16 Nordic artists. Trees have long played a symbolic role for people in all cultures, and they continue to play a vital role in cultural identity in the Nordic region.
As potent symbols in Nordic folklore and myth, forests often represent the meeting place between nature and human activity, acting as sites of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. This tension in the wooded landscape – as known yet unknown – is present in works throughout the exhibition and alludes to the seen and often unseen activity that takes place between the trees.
The works on display explore the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in. By placing ourselves as viewers in the gap between reality and fantasy, we are encouraged to reflect on the way in which our own relationship with the landscape is formed. ”

– Harry Dougall

In December 2017 Harry Dougall won the Annual AKO Curatorial Award of NOK 25,000 for his imaginary exhibition Between the Trees. The award is a result of a collaboration between The Courtauld Institute of Art in London and AKO Foundation / Nicolai Tangen and is intended to promote and strengthen the development of curatorial education. Using a database of Nordic art from the extensive Tangen Collection, graduates of The Courtauld’s MA programme “Curating the Art Museum” were invited to curate an exhibition in a fictive space in Kunstsilo (‘the Art Silo’) – a new art museum to be built in Kristiansand. In their submissions the contestants focused on a wide range of themes and periods. The jury was impressed with the submissions high standard, but particularly with Harry Dougall’s original and provocative approach to the landscape theme, also his intelligent and broad selection of works in diverse materials across the collection.

The submissions were judged by Martin Caiger- Smith, head of the curatorial study programme, Dr. Barnaby Wright, deputy director of The Courtauld Gallery, and Nicolai Tangen. Sørlandets Kunstmuseum was so enthusiastic when seeing the winning imaginary exhibition that it has decided to make room in the museum for the exhibition Between the Trees this very summer.

Harry Dougall (b. 1993) graduated from The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA curating programme in 2017. He has worked on a number of exhibitions at institutions including the Barbican, Tate Britain and The Courtauld Gallery. Last year he won the first AKO Curatorial Award for his proposal Between the Trees which has subsequently culminated in the present exhibition. He currently works as an independent curator and is co- director of PUBLIC: Gallery & Studio; an exhibition space specialising in solo shows by emerging artists.

The exhibition features works by the following artists: Sidsel Westbø (Norway, b. 1943), Per Bak Jensen (Denmark, b. 1949), Antti Laitinen (Finland, b. 1975), Preben Holst (Norway, b. 1974), Kjell Torriset (Norway, b. 1950), Tore Hansen (Norway, b. 1949), Dag Alveng (Norway, b. 1953), Axel Salto (Denmark, 1889–1961), Roj Friberg (Sweden, b. 1934), Reidar Aulie (Norway, 1904–1977), Anna-Eva Bergman (Norway, 1909–1987), Paul René Gaugin (Norway, 1911–1976), Henrik Finne (Norway, 1898–1992), Erik Thommesen (Denmark, 1916–2008), Jakob Weidemann (Norway, 1923–2001) and Per Berntsen (Norway, b. 1953).