Lofoten International Art Festival

LIAF 2019

LIAF 2019 takes its inspiration from the multitude of inhabitants, materials, struggles, and processes that reside and take place within the extremely wide intertidal zone surrounding the Lofoten islands. Cyclical, turbulent, ruthless, and beautiful, LIAF opens up four conversations in dialogue with this environment, to observe the space diminishing and expanding, and following its liminal ebbs and flows.

This intertidal zone is home to continual arrivals and departures, of disappearances and the reappeared. On the threshold of the land and the ocean, this intertidal zone exposes flotsam and scattered detritus, and it contains some of earth’s hardiest and most ancient plants and animals - organisms that are subject to the unpredictable forces of the weather, living things that routinely endure extreme fluctuations in temperature, salinity, oxygen levels, light, and space. Among them creeps the starfish - with an eye on each arm, a witness to several events at once.

LIAF is being realised along the shorelines of both the Western and Eastern regions of the Lofoten archipelago. Since October 2018, the biennale has been initiating a set of collaborations with several artists who will embark on a long-term engagement with the islands. The curatorial ‘arms’ of LIAF are both guiding and guided by these places, and by artistic ideas and processes, as the artists embed their respective work in the local settings. These engagements will shape a wider exhibition and public programme, running from 30 August until 29 September 2019.

LIAF is composed of five arms: ‘From the horse’s mouth’ is the arm that considers resilience, community, messages, and communication from human and other-than-human perspectives. ‘Thinking tide, sensing scale‘, draws attention to (natural) phenomena and the apparatus through which events are sensed and measured. ‘Splash, stress & elasticity’ is the arm that considers the high tides of human and non-human migration, seasonal tourism, competition, space, and cycles. ‘Maths, matter & body’ observes the relationships and tensions between the human body, solid matter, algorithms, gravity, and statistics. The fifth, unnamed arm, is dedicated to the unspecified.

The curatorial team of LIAF 2019 (Hilde Methi, Neal Cahoon, Karolin Tampere, and Torill Østby Haaland) are interested in the dynamic movements of the curatorial ‘arms’ as processes of continual revision and responsive re-conceptualisation, as directions that frame and shift focus, and as methodologies that foster energy, proximity, and poetics throughout the whole of the festival. The ‘artists-in-residence’ format - as part of, and in spite of the art biennale context - considers how this approach can provoke new affinities, knowledge, and empowering encounters that are invested in local agencies and place, and that connect to otherwise unreachable (local) communities, companions, and collaborators.


More to be announced


LIAF presents works by international artists in a local and site-specific context and seeks to be an open, experimental and including meeting place for artists, audience and locals.

Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF) was first initiated in 1991, as a local art exhibition with a broad range of expressions and with a regional profile. From 1999, the festival was given an international profile changing the name to Lofoten International Art Festival, and since 2009, the festival has been run by The North Norwegian Art Center (NNKS) and LIAF’s artistic advisory board.

LIAF presents works by international artists in a local and site-specific context and seeks to be an open, experimental and including meeting place for artists, audience and locals. LIAF acknowledges the complexity of place and seeks to be a discursive, engaged and social platform for different positions creating dialogue between the local and global. The prospect of developing and discovering new knowledge and understanding through art is the core of the festival. LIAF is not connected to a permanent location or space, but is invented anew every time by infiltrating and moving into already existing structures: Everything from a garage, a library, a shed, a bunker, a fish drying rack, a private house, a shop or an old warehouse. New curators also develop the festival every time, with diverse backgrounds, ideas and practices and in different ways bringing the familiar and unfamiliar together. By insisting on this open and experimental approach, we believe LIAF can be a place for exchange and involvement on multitude levels, every time revealing new things about our world and ourselves.

LIAF has taken place eight times since 1999 presenting artists like Gillian Wearing, Lawrence Weiner, AK Dolven, Ken Lum, Olafur Eliasson, Mari Slaattelid, Elmgren & Dragseth, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Pipilotti Rist, Geir Tore Holm, Eija Liisa Athila, Jesper Just, Amar Kanwar, Tori Wrånes, Michel Auder, Kjersti Andvig, John Giorno, Lene Berg, Lindsay Seers, David Horvitz, Mahmoud Khaled, HC Gilje, Karl Larsson, Shilpa Gupta, István Csácány, Lisa Tan and many more.

LIAF curators have been Tor Inge Kveum, Per Gunnar Tverbakk, Vibeke Sjøvoll, Gry Ulrichsen, Göran Christenson, Maaretta Jaukkuri, Taru Elfving, Richard Borgström, Helga-Marie Nordby, Thora Dolven Balke, Linn Pedersen, Anne Szefer Karlsen, Bassam El Baroni, Eva González-Sancho, Arne Skaug Olsen, Matt Packer, Milena Hoegsberg and Heidi Ballet.

Advisory board

The artistic advisory board of LIAF consists of six members. The board is responsible for the festival’s artistic profile, it’s development and for appointing the festival’s curators. Members of the current board are:

  • Helga-Marie Nordby (chair)
  • Svein Ingvoll Pedersen (director NNKS)
  • Sabrina van der Ley
  • Ina Otzko
  • Hanne Hammer Stien
  • Kjetil Berge


Mailing Address
Lofoten International Art Festival
P.O. box 285
N-8301 Svolvaer

Visiting Address
North Norwegian Art Centre
(NNKS : Nordnorsk kunstnersenter)
Svolvaer Town Square

400 89 595

Svein Ingvoll Pedersen
Director NNKS

Helga-Marie Nordby
Chair LIAF Artistic Advisory Board

Berte T. Ynnesdal

Kristin Risan
Head of Education

Kari Petronella Finstad
Press & Communications

© 2018-2019 LIAF