From 1st July 2020, you will be able to start your visit to Nordiska museet via a new entrance! As well as the main entrance, you can now enter the museum via the ‘Two Directions’. It is located in the newly-opened backyard. Finnish artist Outi Pieski designed the entrance, which takes inspiration from objects in the museum’s Sami collections. ‘Two Directions’ gives an important part of Nordic and Sami culture permanent visibility in the museum building.
Nordiska museet and Sweden’s Public Art Agency commissioned ‘Two Directions/Guokte Bálga’. The artwork is part of the building and made up of several parts in and around the new western entrance. Two of these can be found along the protruding glass section of the entrance building and along the beams, in different patterns made of weathering steel. The patterns create a play of light and shadow, which alters with the time of day and the changing of the seasons.
A decorative tradition where every individual element is its own word
“The old Sami decorative tradition is a language in which every individual element is its own word. Together we are putting together an ornate story of Sami philosophy, cosmology and life. The artwork reflects the museum’s collections, which include objects from several different Sami regions. The wall’s decoration draws inspiration from the southern Sami decorative ribbons. In addition, their diagonal structure is an expression of flexibility and community. Meanwhile, the vertical/horizontal structure stands for stability”, says Outi Pieski.
The pattern design for Two Directions takes inspiration from a decorated spoon made of elk antler. Within Sami culture, the spoon is a very personal item. The carvings signs and patterns on the spoon bear cultural heritage and identity, as well as magic and mythology.
“Two Directions is a conscious, contemporary addition to our iconic museum building, which is decorated extensively with sculptures and engravings which represent Nordic history and mythology. Therefore, for us it is important that we carry out any updates to the museum building in a cautious, contemporary and respectful way. With her artwork, Outi Pieski brings Nordic cultural heritage to the fore. It will help to broadens attitudes and perspectives”, says Sanne Houby-Nielsen, Director of Nordiska museet.
The Curator of Sweden’s Public Art Agency, Peter Hagdahl, echoes these sentiments. He says, “In ‘Two Directions’, Outi Pieski combines her experience and knowledge of the Sami culture in a deeply idiosyncratic and poetic way”.
Accessibility in the long term
The new entrance is located on the museum’s ground floor. It is an important part of the museum’s long-term work to improve the museum’s accessibility. By creating a new way into the museum, new areas are open for new learning experiences. The architect Lone-Pia Bach designed the building’s extension. As you make your way further through the entrance, you can see the newly-acquired film ‘Birds in the Earth’ by the Finnish artist Marja Helander.
Two Directions increases the visibility of Nordic and Sami culture (10.2)
The new entrance is an important part of Nordiska museet’s accessibility work (11.3)