A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries Since 1975


The Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries Since 1975 is the final volume of the four-volume series of cultural histories of the avant-garde movements in the Nordic countries. This volume carries the avant-garde discussion forward to present-day avant-gardes, challenged by the globalisation of the entertainment industries and new interactive media such as the internet. The avant-garde can now be considered a tradition that has been made more widely available through the opening of archives, electronic documentation and new research, which has spurred both re-enactments, revisions and continuations of historical avant-garde practices, while new cultural contexts, political, technological and ecological conditions have called for new strategies.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Benedikt Hjartarson is Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland. He has published a number of articles, edited volumes and books on the European avant-garde. He is editor-in-chief of Brill’s Journal of Avant-Garde Studies.

Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam is associate professor of Art History at Aarhus University. She has published a monograph on Surrealist collage and articles on art, literature, gender studies and feminism.

Laura Luise Schultz is associate professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She has published articles and monographs on Gertrude Stein, theatre and performance and is an editor of the theatre journal Peripeti.

Tania Ørum is professor emerita at the University of Copenhagen. She has published monographs and articles on modernism and avant-garde and is General editor of the volumes of A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries, a subseries of Avant-Garde Critical Studies (Brill).

“A tour-de-force through 20th-century Nordic avant-garde and cultural history."


"[This] is a very focused volume, which, with the introduction and introductions to each individual section, educationally takes the reader by the hand through the various avant-garde activities documented. Add to this the fact that each individual article is well written, highly interesting and thought-provoking, and that each should lead to further study at various university levels (many deserving of their own PhD theses). [...] The editorial tour-de-force through 20th-century Nordic cultural history has also provided new perspectives on the second neo-avant-garde wave that cancels the dichotomy between center and periphery; instead it is shown that [...] the Nordic countries show power to constitute such centers in international cultural history.”
-Per Bäckström, Edda, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 62–66, 6 March 2023.

“En tour-de-force genom 1900-talets nordiska avantgarde- och kulturhistoria."


"[Detta] är en mycket fokuserad volym, som med introduktionen och inledningar till varje enskild sektion, på ett pedagogiskt vis för läsaren vid handen genom de olika avantgardeaktiviteter som dokumenteras. Lägger man till detta att varje enskild artikel är välskriven, högst intressant och tankeväckande, och att var och en borde leda till vidare studier på olika universitetsnivåer (mycket förtjänar egna doktorsavhandlingar). [...] Redaktionens tour-de-force genom 1900-talets nordiska kulturhistoria har dessutom gett nya perspektiv på den andra neoavantgardevåg som upphäver dikotomin mellan centrum och periferi; istället visas att [...] de nordiska länderna uppvisar kraft att utgöra sådana centrum i den internationella kulturhistorien.”
-Per Bäckström, Edda, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 62–66, 6 March 2023.

The Long Avant-Garde Tradition – Restaging, Resisting, Renewing
Tania Ørum and Laura Luise Schultz

Section 1: Paradigmatic Cases

Introduction to Section 1
Benedikt Hjartarson
Appropriating the Past to Examine the Present – On Matias Faldbakken as Media Artist
Anders Skare Malvik
Magma and Persona – Material Generativity in the Work of Björk Guðmundsdóttir
Holger Schulze
DOGMA 95 and The Idiots – A Renewal of Avant-Garde Realism in Film
Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen
Feminist Avant-Garde Film of the 1970s as Gender Politics – The Example of Tornerose, by Jytte Rex and Kirsten Justesen
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam
Such Stuff as We Are Made of – Kirsten Dehlholm, Billedstofteater and Hotel Pro Forma
Laura Luise Schultz
“An American Poet Only Writing in Finnish” – Leevi Lehto’s Seminal Role in Contemporary Finnish Poetry
Anna Helle and Martin Glaz Serup

Section 2: The Promises of Technology

Introduction to Section 2
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam
The Avant-Garde and the Computer Industry – Art and Technology Collaborations at Datasaab and IBM Sweden from the late 1960s to the 1990s
Anna Orrghen
Miracle Machines – The Creative and Democratic Promise of the Photocopier: Danish Xerography 1979–1995 in an Avant-Garde Perspective
Lise Skytte Jakobsen
Avant-Garde Anomalies and Transnational Trajectories – The Place and Time of Gunvor Nelson’s Collage Films of the 1980s
John Sundholm
Art for Aliens – On Goodiepal’s Xenophile Posthumanism
Jacob Wamberg
Erkki Kurenniemi – Life Is an Algorithm
Lars Bang Larsen
Life in a Code – Mikael Brygger’s “ NASDAQ 30.5.2010” as Found Poetry
Miikka Laihinen

Section 3: The Performative Turn

Introduction to Section 3
Laura Luise Schultz
She Splits Phallic Cucumbers with a Knife – The Norwegian Vienna Activist that Art History Forgot
Susanne Christensen
“Don’t Panic. Black, No Sugar is a New Way of Life!” – An Icelandic Street Theatre between Carnival and Disturbance
Magnús Þór Þorbergsson
Two Different Perspectives on the Avant-Garde in Finnish Dance in the 1980s – Reijo Kela and Sanna Kekäläinen
Aino Kukkonen
Hilarious Imperialists – Baktruppen’s Bad Family Photos from the World Tour
Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt
Jessie Kleemann between Orsoq and Turpentine
David Winfield Norman
Humour as an Avant-Garde Strategy in Three Generations of Feminist Art: Kirsten Justesen, Hanne Nielsen & Birgit Johnsen and Maja Malou Lyse
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam
Precarious Fiction and Precarious Spectatorship – The Artistic Practice of SIGNA as Theatrical Avant-Garde
Thomas Rosendal Nielsen

Section 4: Intervention and Institutional Critique

Introduction to Section 4
Laura Luise Schultz
The Skinnebach Effect – Towards a Poetic Institutional Critique
Mathies G. Aarhus
The Stunt Poets – A Literary Avant-Garde in the Neo-Liberal Age of Mass Media
Wenche Larsen
We Are a Song the Band Doesn’t Play – Systematic Systemic Critique in Contemporary Swedish Poetry
Elisabeth Friis
The Sámi Museum in Karasjok – A Story of Resistance
Hanna Horsberg Hansen
S.L.Á.T.U.R. – The Obtrusive Composers’ Collective
Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir
The Guerrilla Paradigm or “Feminist-Avant-Garde” – Towards an Alternative Feminist Canon
Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir

Section 5: Venues

Introduction to Section 5
Benedikt Hjartarson
J.O. Mallander and the Nordic Neo-Avant-Garde
Sami Sjöberg
Was ist der Fall? What is the Case? Mr. Klein’s Last Moments (P)reconstructed by Mail
Peter van der Meijden
Toward a Kinetic Icelandic Culture – Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Suðurgata 7 and Experimental Film in Iceland
Benedikt Hjartarson
Look Back, Dig Out, Mix Up, Think Forward – The Archival Activism of OEI
Thomas Hvid Kromann
The Bergensbrag Generation – The Rise of Independent Literary Platforms in Norway, 2000–2005
Susanne Christensen
Investigative Infrastructures – Nordic Small Presses of the Twenty-First Century
Ana Stanićević
Locality and Literary Intervention – Ida Börjel’s Skåneradio
Marianne Ølholm
Danish Children’s and Youth Television from an Avant-Garde Perspective
Christa Lykke Christensen
The Ultima Festival in Oslo – Institutionalising the Avant-Garde?
Astrid Kvalbein

Section 6: Subcultures

Introduction to Section 6
Laura Luise Schultz
The Copenhagen Punk Years – Art with No Future?
Marie Arleth Skov
The Performance Group Værst’s Nine Performance Videos for Sort Sol’s Album Flow My Firetear
Magnus Kaslov
Beyond the Borders – Elgaland-Vargaland and the Association for Temporary Art
Håkan Nilsson
The Happy Antagonist – Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki’s Underground Super-8 Films
Tytti Rantanen
Immigrant Film Co-Operatives in Sweden – The Most Typical Avant-Garde
Lars Gustaf Andersson and John Sundholm
Specialists in Revolt – The Surrealist Group of Stockholm
Kristoffer Noheden
“To Be Fully Subconscious” – On the Medúsa Group
Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir
Home to Hell – Tóroddur Poulsen
Kinna Poulsen
A “Cow-Napping” in Context: From the Scribble Board to Zero Tolerance – (Sub)Cultural Interventions in the Public Realms of Stockholm, 1968–2004
Jacob Kimvall
“… because enmity and admiration go hand in hand” – Guy Maddin’s Tales from the Gimli Hospital
Kjartan Már Ómarsson

Section 7: Postmodernism and Re-Enactments

Introduction to Section 7
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam
Postmodern Avant-Garde in Theory and in Poetry in Finland at the End of the Twentieth Century
Harri Veivo
Avant-Garde vs. “Avant-Garde” – Danish Artists of the 1980s as Successors to and Rebels against the 1960s Avant-Garde
Kamma Overgaard Hansen
Traces of Avant-Garde Strategies in Danish Poetry of the 1980s
Marianne Ølholm
Cecilie Løveid – Postmodern Recycling of the Avant-Garde
Wenche Larsen
French Feminist Theory and Surrealism in Karin Moe’s Kjønnskrift (Sextext)
Gerd Karin Omdal
“New. Fantastic. Different” – Mariaana Jäntti’s Amorfiaana (1986) and Monika Fagerholm’s Diva (1998) as Finnish Feminist Avant-Garde Prose Fiction
Kaisa Kurikka
The Arctic Mongrel – Pia Arke’s Ethno-Aesthetics as Post-Colonial Avant-Gardism
Mette Sandbye

Section 8: The End of the Avant-Garde?

Introduction to Section 8
Tania Ørum
Superflex and the End of Art
Solveig Gade
A BIGamist Bricoleur – The Postmodern Avant-Gardism of Bjarke Ingels
Kasper Lægring
Avant-Garde Design in Denmark – Four Cases Concerning Furniture
Peter Brix Søndergaard
Avant-Garde and Post-Colonial? – How to Square the Circle in a Nordic Country with a Colonial Past
Anne Ring Petersen
Constructing an Avant-Garde Canon in the Twenty-First Century – On the Icelandic Poetry Group Nýhil
Benedikt Hjartarson
Precarious Life – Nielsen’s Search for a Life beyond Identity
Laura Luise Schultz
A Contemporary Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries? Subversion or Subvention
Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen

All interested in avant-garde movements in all the arts in the 20th century, particularly in the Nordic countries.
  • Collapse
  • Expand