|UMEDALEN SKULPTUR SINCE 1994|
Umedalen Skulptur is one of Europe's most prominent sculpture parks, located in Umeå, in the Umedalen area. Umedalen was built in the 1930s as a mental hospital area, but was phased out and sold by Västerbotten County Council in 1987 to real estate company Balticgruppen.
Balticgruppen chose to transform and develop the old health care institution to a modern and attractive area for living and working. As part of its ambition to change the connotation of the area's charged name - leading many Swedes to think of mental illness - Baltic created the art project Umedalen Skulptur in collaboration with Galleri Andersson/Sandström; the gallery to be responsible for the artistic content and Balticgruppen for funding the project.
The first exhibition was held in the summer of 1994 and became a huge success, which meant a continued series of summer exhibitions each year until the millennium. From the year 2000, Umedalen Skulptur was turned into a biennale, and is since held every second year.
Over the years, almost two hundred prominent Swedish and international artists have exhibited their work in the park of the former hospital area. Balticgruppen has bought many of the sculptures, to be added to the park's permanent collection. This means that there is now an impressive collection in the park, consisting of thirty-five permanent works by Miroslaw Balka, Louise Bourgeois, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Clay Ketter to name a few.
Another unique point is the fact that it is an entirely privately funded initiative, that it is open and accessible to everyone around the clock, all year long and free of charge.
Umedalen Skulptur has received considerable attention and numerous awards. These include:
Magazines of Sweden Best European art event in Sweden in 2000,
Another attraction worth mentioning is the garden created by Ulf Nordfjell, in connection with IKSU Spa, Sweden's only cultural spa. The garden opened in the spring of 2003 and is unique in its kind. Here, the country's foremost landscape architect has created a garden based on the conditions that are given by the northern geographical location.
At Bistro le Garage in the sculpture park, visitors can enjoy lunch, dinner or coffee all made from organic, often local ingredients.