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Harbourfront Centre delivers
SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture

Opens September 28, 2004 at Harbourfront Centre’s The Power Plant and York Quay Gallery

143 events

200 artists

13 artistic disciplines

21 cultural organizations

Information: 416-973-4000

TORONTO, September 23, 2004 – SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture, the most comprehensive exploration of current Danish culture ever mounted is set for its formal opening at Harbourfront Centre next Tuesday, September 28, 2004. Her excellency The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and His Royal Highness Prince Joachim of Denmark, together with Harbourfront Centre Chief Executive Officer William J.S. Boyle and special guests, will open SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture with a special 3:30 p.m. preview tour of the exhibitions in York Quay Centre and The Power Plant. Invited guests will join in an celebratory opening ceremony and address at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre at 5:00 p.m.. The public is invited to a free exhibition tour beginning at 7 p.m. that evening.

Dignitaries, royalty and members of the artistic community are slated to take part in the launch of this ambitious and thought-provoking10-week, multi-disciplinary festival. This engaging and all-encompassing festival features Canadian premieres in architectural design, visual art, craft design, photography, film, family theatre, music, opera, literature and contemporary dance, along with KulturHavn (Culture Harbour), a family weekend festival featuring Danish culture and lifestyle.

“We have collaborated intensely with our Danish and Canadian partners to create an oasis of contemporary Danish arts and culture in Canada and North America” said William J.S. Boyle, Chief Executive Officer, Harbourfront Centre. “This highly dynamic and accessible showcase provides a fascinating opportunity for the public and artists alike to explore the global perspective of Danish thought and creativity. An integral element of SUPERDANISH will examine the Danish approach to children and culture. Denmark has a remarkably mature and sophisticated way of integrating children into society and culture which could provide a model for Canada to emulate. We have discovered that the resonances between Danish and Canadian cultures are significant and will spark many exciting revelations and exchanges.”

Working with The Danish Arts Agency, Danish Crafts, The Danish Film Institute, the Danish Architecture Centre and the Royal Danish Embassy, Harbourfront Centre has initiated an extensive series of exhibitions, presentations, performances, concerts, readings, lectures and conferences, to take place across its 10-acre site and at participating organizations across the city.

Harbourfront Centre and The Danish Architecture Centre have engaged Toronto’s Bruce Mau Design to curate a major exhibition for The Power Plant that reflects on the half-century of Danish Modernism which has guided design and architecture.

Too Perfect: Seven New Denmarks pays homage to this weighty tradition but looks at a new approach to return Danish design to a leading position on the international scene. The Danish Architecture Centre asked Bruce Mau to work with PLOT and a team of Danish architects. Together they have developed seven propositions that push us to the edge of our social imagination.

Since 1993, the three core members of the Copenhagen-based artists’ collective SUPERFLEX have developed a complex practice that brings together art, design, and commerce to explore the nature of globalization through ongoing collaborative projects. SUPERFLEX joins activism with provocation to reinterpret the role of artists in society and to question the nature of contemporary spectatorship. At the core of their practice is the development of what they call “tools" that enable productivity, communication, and access. The Power Plant is collaborating with SUPERFLEX to mount a new project this September to coincide with SUPERDANISH.

The stage shines in SUPERDANISH beginning October 5th with Danish theatrical productions. Theatre highlights include the Det Lille Turnéteater production of Hamlet (what exploration of Danish culture would be complete without a production about this most famous Danish Prince) performed by two actors and two musicians, and an exciting adaptation of Of Mice and Men called Lennie and George by Teatret Møllen. Teatret V. Hans Rønne presents the clown tradition with Ditto and Teater Rio Rose presents a clever montage on diversity, mystery and the craziness of life with Take Ten Things. For the younger set, See Me is a wonderful and quirky non-verbal tragicomedy in the clown tradition for children and parents alike that runs though the KulturHaven (Thanksgiving) weekend festival.

Music highlights range from the contemporary folk mix of Phønix, Instinkt and Haugaard & Høirup, to the world music of Aida Nadeem, Lelo Nika and Kasper Søeborg. Klüvers Big Band offers an amazing learning experience, as the group provides for hundreds of school children, culminating in a public performance at both the Royal Conservatory and at the public weekend festival KulturHavn at Harbourfront Centre. The world of electronica is explored by curator DJ Katrine Ring through a series of DJ performances at Revival. Three nights of Denmark deckmasters which includes DJ Static, Tony M and Morten Trust mix it up with top Toronto talent at Revival Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 8, 2004. TRIO on the 29th features Denmark DJs Katrine Ring, Tony M and Toronto's Denise Benson collectively creating a three DJ set journey through the many rooms of House and the many moods of jazzatronica. TRIO also embodies the Danish concept of DJ as social designer with the on-site creation of a large canvas oil painting by Toronto artist Rebecca Di Leo and with an interactive Danish furniture exhibit featuring legendary Fritz Hansen Swan sofas and chairs - originally created by designer Arne Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen in the 1950's.

STUFF – Ingenuity and Critique is a probing craft exhibition in the York Quay Gallery of more than 150 works by 30 current artists, organized by Danish Crafts and Harbourfront Centre. STUFF examines the groundbreaking work of artists coming out of the renowned Danish craft tradition. The works selected for this exhibition explore a refinement of expression. Master Classes, informative talks and symposiums take place October 1–3 covering Curatorial Practice and Critical Writing with international, Danish and Canadian experts in the field. For Registration call 416-973-4963.

Dance surfaces in SUPERDANISH with the October 12-16 performances of the New Danish Dance Theatre’s Shadowland and Graffiti, both set provocatively to the words and voices of the Beat Generation. From October 27-30, celebrated choreographer/performer Kitt Johnson X-Act imaginatively pairs circus acrobats with lemons in a playful work entitled The Lemonkeepers, which explores the humour of her physical language. Johnson herself performs in the dark, enigmatic solo, Stigma.

Danish contemporary literature is largely unknown to North American audiences. A concentration of no less than eight current writers, part of the International Festival of Authors in October, 2004, will help rectify this situation. As part of IFOA, the eight leading contemporary Danish authors include Suzanne Brøgger, Jakob Ejersbo, Ulrikka S. Gernes, Katrine Marie Guldager, Benn Q. Holm, Niels Lyngsø, Henrik Nordbrandt and Per Helge Sørensen. In a further nod to SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture, Danish visual artist John Kørner has been commissioned to design the 25th Anniversary IFOA poster. IFOA runs October 20–30, 2004.

14 different visual arts exhibitions showcase a rich palette of photography, painting, video installation, drawing, craft, architecture and design. Danish DirectorySeptember 28th– December 23rd at York Quay Centre features eight window installations in Case Studies – Harbourfront Centre's unique exhibition space in York Quay Centre – is an introduction and Directory to SUPERDANISH city-wide partnering galleries, offering larger exhibitions of these artists' works. Eight galleries and artist-run centres in Toronto combine with all of the exhibition spaces at Harbourfront Centre to present this panorama. Additional one-of-a-kind exhibitions and uniquely Danish events in and around York Quay Centre focus on the ongoing Danish tradition of design being integrated into all aspects of everyday life including Centre Bar and EXPO TORONTO: Dreams On Wheels. Photography exhibitions taking place at Harbourfront Centre and elsewhere in the city illustrate the firm placement of Danes as innovators in contemporary photojournalism.

KulturHavn (Culture Harbour) October 8-11, taking place in and around the Harbourfront Centre site, celebrates the world of Danish culture through family-friendly events, activities, performances and exhibits highlighting family and future-friendly ideas. Inspired by day-to-day life in Denmark and our own city, KulturHavn (pronounced kool-tour-hown) presents a hands-on, interactive, thought-provoking, bicycle-riding, food-tasting, show-watching, craft-making, LEGO™ building, holiday long weekend full of activities exploring contemporary Danish life. Most of the elements of SUPERDANISH will be integrated into the weekend of activities including special film screened in Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre and lots of Danish food and demos including an Iron Chef competition between Denmark and Canada. With the Danish Film Institute's Centre for Children and Youth Film. a film programme for youth is a highlight of the weekend.

Cinematheque Ontario and Harbourfront Centre partner in a penetrating look at Danish film. Recent critical thought frequently splits contemporary Danish film into two camps – before and after Dogme. The Danish For Beginners series, which include films by Lars von Trier, Jørgen Leth - of which there is a special focus -, Søren Kragh-Jacobson and Ole Christian Madsen, proposes that this dichotomy may be too simplistic and that common themes like repression and delinquent or abusive parents unify the two schools.

As part of SUPERDANISH, The Canadian Opera Company presents the North American premiere of Poul Ruders’ remarkable opera, The Handmaid’s Tale based on Margaret Atwood’s chilling novel. The Royal Danish Opera production features a primarily Canadian cast and is one of the featured operas in the 2004/05 Canadian Opera Company season.

Significant to the team of Harbourfront Centre artistic programmers is the innovative way in which Danes engage and involve children from a very young age in all types of cultural activities. This aspect of Danish life has great resonance for Ontarians at a time when arts education has eroded to such a low level. The Danes’ sophisticated approach to child and youth culture and arts education is a major thread running through SUPERDANISH in all of the artistic disciplines.

SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture programmes, performance runs and exhibitions are of various durations and most are concentrated within a 10-week time frame; some exhibitions continue through December. A complete schedule with times and performance prices are available online at: www.harbourfrontcentre.com/superdanish.

SUPERDANISH is made possible through the generous assistance of the Danish Arts Agency and Council, Danish Architecture Centre, Danish Crafts, Danish Film Institute – all institutions under the Ministry of Culture in Denmark, The Royal Danish Embassy, Maersk Sealand, Creekside Winery, Georg Jensen, Silkeborg, Westin Harbour Castle, Labatt Breweries of Canada, Lego, Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council. Thanks for support from patrons Danfoss Inc., Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., Vestas-Canadian Wind Tec, Ltd., Arla Foods Inc., The Danish Canadian Chamber of Commerce and from donors IC Companys Fashions Inc., Group 4 Falck (Canada) Ltd., Bang & Olufsen North America, Hartman Canada, Diemaco, Net Electric Limited and Ecco Shoes Canada Inc.

For up-to-date information please refer to the website at www.harbourfrontcentre.com/superdanish or call Harbourfront Centre information at
416 973-4000.

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Media contacts:
Bruce Hutchinson, 416-973-4677, bhutchinson@harbourfrontcentre.com
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428, wbobek@harbourfrontcentre.com
Shane Gerard, 416-973-4655, sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
Literary: Amy Holmes, 416-973-4395, aholmes@harbourfrontcentre.com
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