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"Crossing Borders" opens at Stockholm's Arlanda airport
Thron Ullberg, Noomi Rapace, actor, 2010.

STOCKHOLM.- Nationalmuseum’s exhibition Crossing Borders presents a collection of contemporary photographic portraits. The exhibition opens at Stockholm Arlanda Airport 19 March and is part of a joint project with Swedavia to put art and design on show at airports in Sweden. The portraits on view have all been acquired to the Swedish National Portrait Gallery.

An airport is where people who travel across borders meet. In the exhibition 22 portraits of Swedes who work or have become known famous outside Sweden is on view. They are musicians, writers, diplomats, businessmen, athletes, inventors, actors and researchers. Their work takes them away from Sweden and also across borders that are not only geographic. It may involve breaking a world swimming record or changing our views of global social changes. For Nationalmuseum this exhibition involves crossing a border. Its art will be on display in a venue it has never previously visited.

Several generations of photographers are represented from Hans Gedda and Denise Grünstein to Sanna Sjöswärd and Magnus Laupa. They seek different forms of expression and inspiration from both advertising and fashion photography, as well as film and video. Sometimes this adds to the theatrical quality. The portraits are deliberately staged. At the same time there are examples of intimacy and distance, close-ups and formal poses. Thomas Wågström’s portrait of the biochemist and inventor Petra Wadström was commissioned for this exhibition but the others have been produced in other contexts. They have all been acquired to the Swedish National Portrait Gallery that Nationalmuseum administer.

The Swedish National Portrait Gallery is the oldest of its kind in the world and has been housed at Gripsholm Castle since 1822. The ever-growing collection comprises almost 5,000 portraits. From the outset, the intention has been to feature subjects who have made valuable contributions to Sweden – the same as the idea behind the Crossing Borders exhibition. For many years, this concept was synonymous with the establishment, consisting mainly of elderly gentlemen. In more recent times, the collection has broadened its selection to include representatives of widely diverse sections of Swedish society. With the portraits from Crossing Borders some of the great figures of our time have joined the collection – Swedes who currently enjoy at least the same degree of international fame as Carl von Linné and August Strindberg did in their day.

The exhibition is part of a joint project between Nationalmuseum and Swedavia to put art and design on show at airports in Sweden. Exhibiting at Arlanda Airport, which last year handled almost 21 million passengers, gives Nationalmuseum the opportunity to reach a wider, more international audience. The joint project will continue in the autumn at Umeå Airport with a design exhibition.

The exhibition Crossing Borders is on show in Terminal 5 at Arlanda, gate F26-68, from March 19 to August 3, 2014. Those traveling from Terminal 5 who have passed security control can see the exhibition. A 3D digital model is available at An app has been produced for the exhibition that serves as an audio guide, and contains pictures, audio files and texts.

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