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SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture at Harbourfront Centre

September 28, 2004

143 events
200 artists
21 organizations

TORONTO, April 28, 2004 – 143 individual events, over 200 artists, 21 participating organizations and 85 educational programmes for over 3,000 students – SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture, the most comprehensive exploration of current Danish culture ever mounted is set to begin this fall at Harbourfront Centre. Over 10 weeks, visitors will have an unparalleled opportunity to experience the visual arts, architecture, design, craft, music, literature, theatre, dance, food, film and lifestyle in a glorious celebration of everything Danish.

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.

“The scope of this programme is dauntingly ambitious,” said William J.S. Boyle, Chief Executive Officer, Harbourfront Centre, “but the wealth of fascinating opportunities provided by our Danish partners is tantalizing. With an international identity imbued with culture, Denmark is a fascinating example for Canada to explore. A special focus 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.”

14 different visual arts exhibitions showcase a rich palette of photography, painting, video installation, drawing, craft, architecture and design. Eight galleries and artist-run centres in Toronto combine with all of the exhibition spaces at Harbourfront Centre to present this panorama. A probing craft exhibition of more than 150 works by 30 current artists, assembled with the cooperation of Danish Crafts, examines the groundbreaking work of artists coming out of the renowned Danish craft tradition. An international conference on curating and writing about craft complements this dazzling and probing exhibition.

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 primarily focuses on future directions in the field. The exhibition will be shown simultaneously in Toronto and Copenhagen and will also represent Denmark at the same time at the prestigious 2004 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

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 Canadian cast and is one of the featured operas in the 2004/05 Canadian Opera Company season. The music section of the exposition includes programmes ranging from contemporary folk to world music, from Klüvers Big Band and the amazing learning experience the group provides for hundreds of school children, culminating in a public performance, to the world of electronica explored by curator DJ Katrine Ring. Harbourfront Centre is proud of this first-ever partnership with the Royal Conservatory of Music in the presentation of music programming.

Dance surfaces in SUPERDANISH with performances of the New Danish Dance Theatre set provocatively to the words and voices of the Beat Generation, and by celebrated choreographer/performer Kitt Johnson X-Act who imaginatively pairs circus acrobats with lemons in a playful work. Theatre highlights include the Det Lille Turnéteater production of Hamlet performed by two actors and two musicians (what exploration of Danish culture would be complete without a production about this most famous Danish Prince), and an exciting adaptation of Of Mice and Men called Lennie and George by Teatret Møllen.

Cinematheque Ontario returns as a 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. Through a series titled Danish For Beginners that includes films by Lars von Trier, Jørgen Leth, Søren Kragh-Jacobson and Ole Christian Madsen, the series proposes that this dichotomy may be too simplistic, that common themes like repression and delinquent or abusive parents unify the two schools.

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. Some of these Danish writers are being translated into English and published in Canada for the first time this fall. In a further nod to SUPERDANISH, Danish visual artist John Kørner has been commissioned to design the 25th Anniversary IFOA poster.

Awe-inspiring 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 begins this Fall at Harbourfront Centre and throughout Toronto. This ambitious and provocative venture will formally be opened by His Royal Highness, Prince Joachim of Denmark and Her Excellency, Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada on September 28, 2004. 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 will be available in June 2004. 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 Inc., Creekside Winery, Georg Jensen, Jensen Trade Inc., Westin Harbour Castle, 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., and from donors IC Companys Fashions Inc., Group 4 Securitas 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 or call Harbourfront Centre information at 416 973-4000.


Media contacts:
Bruce Hutchinson, 416-973-4677,
Bill Bobek, 416-973-4428,
Tonisha Robinson, 416-954-5102,
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