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Nationalmuseum opens Slow Art exhibition

The Nationalmuseum in Sweden presents Slow Art, an exhibition on view 0 May 2012–20 January 2013.

Few people remain unmoved by an artwork that demonstrates superb craftsmanship. The care that goes into producing the work and the persistence of the artist are a source of fascination to many.

Bowl Snow Owl, Jane Reumert, 1996

In the old days, fine craftsmanship was much sought after in the art world. Since the late 20th century, however, craft skills have no longer been so highly valued. The ability to practise a trade or a technique is not something that can be learned from books – it is a skill earned by stubbornly persisting through many long hours of constant setbacks and mishaps. In an age like the present, in which consumers and the media incessantly demand the very latest version of everything, it can be hard to make the case for artistic creativity that takes a lot of time and a lot of trouble.

More recently, however, our high-speed culture has come under fire for its downsides. Voices have been raised in support of the need to slow down. Concepts such as Slow Food (the opposite of fast food), Slow Travel, Slow Media and Slow Mail have been introduced. What the various Slow movements have in common is that their supporters advocate a more gently paced lifestyle, rather than a constant battle with the clock. There is also an ecological aspect to the Slow ethos, which is very much in tune with the goal of sustainable development.

With the concept of Slow Art, Nationalmuseum is celebrating a contemporary movement in art and fine craft where technique, materials and the work process are considered especially important.

The exhibition will focus on contemporary fine craft but will also offer some glimpses of the past. Visitors will be shown over 30 pieces from Nationalmuseum’s collections: a mix of silver, textile, glass and ceramic artifacts, all of them unique and crafted with care. Inherent in the slow process of creation is respect for the audience – the kind of respect that is often lacking in our society dominated by mass production and mass consumption.

Södra Blasieholmshamnen

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