A LONG TRADITION
Lofoten has inspired countless artists throughout history. One of the best known is the American author Edgar Allan Poe, who by 1841 had already written the book ‘A Descent into the Maelström’, which was inspired by the powerful Moskstraumen whirlpool off the coast of Lofotodden.
Nevertheless, it is the visual arts with which Lofoten is most strongly associated.
The story of visual arts in Lofoten's history can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age, with the 3,000-year-old cave paintings that can be seen in Revsvika. If we move closer to the present day, we can see that artists began to be attracted to Lofoten in earnest around the mid-1800s. It was around this time that wild, untouched and dramatic nature was discovered to be an interesting motif, and artists found this aplenty in Lofoten.
Painter Christian Krohg, once a leading figure in Norwegian art, visited Lofoten in 1896 and wrote:
“Difficult – difficult to paint this! To convey the height, grandeur and nature’s inexorable, merciless tranquillity and indifference. But it can be done and the task is great.”
A LIVING ART ENVIRONMENT
Many artists followed Krohg’s call, and many more have since followed these artists. What is special about Lofoten is that this long tradition lives on today, and that new generations of artists and artisans have constantly been making their way to the archipelago. It is said that Lofoten is one of the places in Norway with the highest number of artists per capita. A claim that is hard to deny.
Many artists have their own workshops, glass workshops, galleries and outlets which are open to the public. Lofoten also has a number of museums and displays with various profiles and changing exhibits. While at Gallery Lofoten, you can view art from Christian Krohg’s time, and the private Kaviar Factory gallery presents international contemporary art that you might otherwise encounter in leading galleries in the world’s metropolises.
The fact that Lofoten is also home to contemporary and exploratory art is also exemplified by the fact that the Lofoten international art festival is one of Norway's oldest and most important biennial art events. Lofoten is also home to five of the sculptures that form part of the Artscape Nordland project, an outdoor sculpture project encompassing 36 works of art produced by artists from 18 countries, exhibited across an area of 40,000 square kilometres.
Art has characterised Lofoten and Lofoten has characterised art, and this inter-relationship is set to continue into the future. To the delight and inspiration of artists, visitors and Lofoteners.