3.10. 2020 - 10.1. 2021

Calm before the Storm. Art from the Wadden Sea

Art from the Wadden Sea on display at Ribe Kunstmuseum

Albert Gottschalk, "Skibbroen i Ribe", 1887-1891. Ribe Kunstmuseum
Albert Gottschalk, "Skibbroen i Ribe", 1887-1891. 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.

Kaneli and Smit, Sæ-earm (Estuary), 2016. Museum Belvédère
Kaneli and Smit, Sæ-earm (Estuary), 2016. Museum Belvédère

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.