the wanas foundation

posted October 16, 2009

The Wanås Foundation is a non-profit art foundation located in the south of Sweden on an estate consisting of a medieval castle, an organic farm, and a sculpture park.

Maya Lin, WanŒs

Since 1987, the Park holds a constantly growing number of permanent works by internationally renowned contemporary artists. The focus is on sculpture and installations, most of which are made by the artists specifically for the Wanås Foundation. In 2005, the renovated Stable from 1759 was inaugurated as a temporary exhibition space. A catalogue is published for every exhibition.

The first exhibition, under the auspices of the Foundation, took place in 1996 when eight American artists participated. The program of the Wanås Foundation changed in 2001, to focus on fewer artists and more demanding projects. In 2002 only three artists were invited, Ann Hamilton, Charlotte Gyllenhammar and Jenny Holzer, each one producing a large-scale permanent installation. In 2004, the Wanås Foundation invited only one artist, Maya Lin, producing the Foundation’s largest project ever, the earth drawing 11 Minute Line. In 2006 eight American artists were invited to produce new work for the exhibition Insight Out, an updated version of the 1996 exhibition mentioned above. The 20th anniversary exhibition in 2007 included the monumental sculpture Maman by Louise Bourgeois as well as works by Fernando Sánchez Castillo and Jan Svenungsson.

The permanent collection of the Wanås Foundation holds over 40 outdoor installations and sculptures including Wanås by Per Kirkeby (1994), Impostor by Roxy Paine (1999), Cow Chapel by Kari Cavén (1993), Two Different Anamorphic Surfaces by Dan Graham (2000), A House for Edwin Denby by Robert Wilson (2000), and Wanås Wall by Jenny Holzer (2002). The indoor installations include Vertigo by Charlotte Gyllenhammar (2002), lignum by Ann Hamilton (2002) and Graf Spee by Jan Håfström in collaboration with Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Juan Pedro Fabra (2007).

Seminars are taking place at Wanås on a regular basis, including Risks of Maturing – Visions and Choices in 2003 (catalogue with cd-rom), Louise Bourgeois in 2007 (book), and Contemporary Memorials in 2008. The Foundation also publishes books such as Art at Wanås (2001) describing the collection and each artist’s working process, and Ann Hamilton lignum (2005), focusing on the artist’s long-term installation in the Wanås Barn.