Calm before the Storm. Art from the Wadden Sea
Art from the Wadden Sea on display at Ribe Kunstmuseum
The dream of distant horizons and a sublime sense of infinity characterises the ocean in general and the Wadden Sea in particular. Here we can both see and feel the constant alternation between ebb and flow. The cycles of life take over: birth and death, the changing seasons, migrating birds, burgeoning vitality.
Out there, where the coastline is negotiated on a daily basis, artists have set up their easels since the mid-19th century.
Both those who were fascinated by the view, and those who came in search of ‘the natives’ of Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands, the kind of authentic people modern life seemed to have made an endangered species.
Since 2014 the entire Wadden Sea from Ho Bay In Denmark to Den Helder in the Netherlands has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and in 2020 the Danish part of the Wadden Sea celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a national park. After almost two centuries of artistic activity in the area, artists still come here.
Many artists plant romantic ideas in the heads of their viewers: that the world comes into being before our eyes as we walk across the pools and sandbanks of the ebbing landscape in our imagination. We might spot a flock of birds in the distance, but solitude seems to be the Wadden Sea’s strongest suit in the eyes of contemporary artists. And it is here we feel the continuation of a tradition created by the first artists’ arrival in this distant realm. It was here they found the authenticity of local, traditional life. Perhaps today nature and a Wadden Sea artist can help us find our own authenticity.
The exhibition shows impressions and atmospheres from the Wadden Sea – from the 19th Century and to now, including artists from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Works on display has generously been lent to the exhibition by Fanø Kunstmuseum, Museum Belvedere, Heerenveen.
Trine Søndergaard is participating in the exhibition with her work Strude #17.
Trine Søndergaard, Strude #17, 2007-2010