NIFCA - Nordic Institute For Contemporary Art:

laboratory for art processes – production – theory

NIFCA is in many ways a unique institution in the Nordic countries today. NIFCA is a laboratory where we can experiment and develop new forms of exhibitions, curatorial practices, residencies and critical discourses together with players within visual culture.

Populism is a research-based project which serves as an example of how NIFCA may develop a deepened discourse around a phenomenon such as populism. The project has realized production of new artworks, a series of publications – The Populist a tabloid, The Populist Reader, where theorists from different fields reflect upon the many faces of populism(s) and The Populism Catalogue with fiction texts – as well as workshops and panel discussions. These are parts of a process that in different ways contribute to a multifaceted discussion that seek to tackle problems increasingly permeating both our communities and our institutions today.

Many people today avoid the uncomfortable questions, for instance populism touched upon earlier. In a society that more and more is defined by mass culture and an ever increasing pace NIFCA creates opportunities to define, discuss and develop forms for reflection around contemporary challenging questions. Populist tendencies are spreading on the Continent, as they do in the Nordic countries – both in the community in general and among the institutions that work to show and discuss the multi-faceted expressions of visual culture. Visual culture and its agents are among those who can help us to see the wider social context and to force us to reflect seriously on the society developing around us.

Our wish is for the discussion of populism to spread much further than the framework and geographical position of the exhibition project.

On behalf of NIFCA, I want to warmly thank the artists that have been deeply involved in developing new works that challenge our ways of thinking of populism(s), as well as, the advisory board that has been part of the discussions how to develop the project from the beginning on. And last but not least, thanks to all the collaborating institutions and agents without whose collaboration Populism would never reach its audiences.

Cecilia Gelin, director NIFCA Suomenlinna, February 2005

NIFCA, the Nordic Institute For Contemporary Art, is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the body responsible for cooperation between the governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

For more information on NIFCA and NIFCA´s activities visit