True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada @ the Gardiner Museum

October 13, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Produced by the Gardiner Museum and curated by Rachel Gotlieb and Michael Prokopow

Exhibition design by Andrew Jones Design / Graphic design by q30 design inc.

This landmark exhibition explores more
than seven decades of Nordic aesthetic influence in Canadian design.
Examining the ways that modern Scandinavian design was introduced to
Canada and how its aesthetic principles and material forms were adopted
and adapted by Canadian artisans and designers, True Nordic will present a comprehensive, critical survey of Canadian furniture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and glassware. 

Scandinavian design initially reached
Canada’s elite consumers and style-makers via museum and gallery
exhibitions, showrooms, small retail shops and articles and
advertisements in popular decorator magazines. However, it was the
dynamic influx of émigré craftspeople from Scandinavia who both affirmed
and vernacularized the aesthetic in Canada and who shaped profoundly
the country’s design and craft movement from the 1930s onward. What was
broadly known as “Danish modern” became synonymous with ideas about good
design, and “comfortable and gracious living.” Capitalizing on the
market opportunities presented, Canadian manufacturers added
Scandinavian design to their conservative repertoire of colonial and
historicist offerings and called these lines, Helsinki, Stanvanger,
Scanda and so on. The culminating section of the exhibition will ask why
Scandinavian and Nordic aesthetics continue to resonate with so many
contemporary Canadian designers and artisans at work today.

Featured artisans include: Carl Poul
Petersen, Ernst and Alma  Lorenzen, Janis Kravis, John Stene, Karen
Bulow, Kjeld and Erica Deichmann, Lotte Bostlund, Thor Hansen, Rudolph
Renzius,  Sigrun Bulow-Hube, Ruth Gowdy McKinley, Niels Bendtsen, Sean
Place, Mjolk, Stephanie Forsythe, and Todd MacAllen. 
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