OpenArt biennale 18th June - 10th September Search


About OpenART

An energy field outside the traditional norms

Good art can inspire, delight, provoke, revolt or startle. The brain grows when it faces chal­lenges. In an overall perspec­tive, art has an impor­tant role in social devel­op­ment, resisting the dark forces and super­fi­cial, mate­rial values. Art gives thoughts, stim­u­lates the entre­pre­neurial spirit, builds sustain­ability and encour­ages consid­er­a­tion.
At OpenART, we create an energy field outside the tradi­tional norms of elitist art. Here, the ambi­tion is high and ideas are bold.Our work field stretches from Sweden and Europe to the entire world. We find inspi­ra­tion in our inter­na­tional outreach and we learn to break patterns and raise the bar with every edition we orga­nize.
For many, OpenART is a delightful expe­ri­ence. The partic­i­pating artists acknowl­edge that they will be profes­sion­ally treated and that they have an oppor­tu­nity to develop them­selves in an inter­na­tional art arena that has become a magnet for art aficionados and tourists. The artists and the people in Örebro become ambas­sadors that spread the word with pride.

OpenART is a collab­o­ra­tion between the private and the public sector. The attrac­tive­ness of our bien­nial results from our courage to strive for inno­va­tion and high quality. There­fore, it is always art and content that are the best voice for OpenART.

Lars Jonnson
Chief Curator



A dynamic triangle of culture in the biennale 2017

In the summer of 2017, Örebro, Sweden will once again be transformed into an urban art venue. For the sixth time, OpenArt Biennale will open up the city space for a public and increasingly popular contemporary art exhibition. Over the course of three months the city centre transforms into a gigantic but unpretentious gallery that attracts not just attention in Sweden but also a growing interest abroad.

The variety of possible experiences has led to the number of visitors increasing for each year that OpenART Biennale has been held. The exhibition is a visually charged zone with a multitude of encounters and unexpected events – flooding the city with energy as it becomes an accessible urban art venue.

OpenART Biennale 2017 will focus on the countries of Japan and Colombia, drawing energy from the exciting meeting between Asia’s thoughtful wisdom and Latin America’s colourful vitality. The triangle of Japanese, Swedish and Colombian cultures helps us let go of what we take for granted so that we can achieve something bigger. From an art perspective, Japan is a contemporary superpower. It is a country with a long history of weaving tradition with renewal to create constantly surprising expressions, but also a country curiously exploring the frontier of the future.

Colombia is a country that is trying to heal its wounds after a half-century-long and violent inner conflict. Its president has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his and his colleagues’ work in creating a lasting and necessary peace accord. With this peace, the ground has been cleared for a cultural and intellectual renaissance, where the visual arts are playing, and can continue to play, an important healing role.

As part of OpenART’s special focus for 2017, Japan and Colombia take a leading role in the exhibition where quality and ideas charge the urban space and the city centre with artworks that are thought-provoking, beautiful and astonishing. Between 18 June to 10 September 2017 OpenART Biennale will come into full bloom in Örebro’s city centre with more than 100 artworks from countries worldwide.

Stefan Nilsson
Editor & Journalist







Number of artists: 102

At the fifth edition of OpenART, a special focus is on contem­po­rary Chinese art. A unique cura­to­rial collab­o­ra­tion between inde­pen­dent art curator Feng Boyi and OpenART Director Lars Jonnson sees thir­teen contem­po­rary artists from China preparing artworks for unprece­dented exhi­bi­tions, symbol­i­cally enti­tled “Encounter” and “No Holds Barred”. Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing and Song Dong are among the partic­i­pants.

OpenART 2015 has received a record interest, with 450 artists from more than 70 coun­tries sending in appli­ca­tions. In 2015, OpenART show­cases some 130 artworks, created by 72 artists from 19 coun­tries. The artworks will be exhib­ited on more than 70 venues across city center.






Number of artists: 66

Following a new political decision, OpenART became an organization of its own in 2013. It has since functioned as an independent project within the Municipality of Örebro. The event is realized in close cooperation with the city art gallery, Örebro County Museum, Konstfrämjandet Berglangen and private companies. Benefiting from great support from partners, OpenART developed diverse projects meant to actively involve a wider audience in a dialogue with art. Besides guided tours, projects for children and young people, as well as programs for artists in all stages of their careers have taken place under OpenART. Two such projects are OpenART Kids and OpenART Academy. In 2013, OpenART established itself as the biggest public art biennial in Scandinavia, featuring more than 100 works by 90 artists from all over the world, OpenART Kids, OpenART Academy, guided tours and special night tours, as well as special summer events. Almost all OpenART activities are free of charge




Number of artists: 66

At its third edition in 2011, OpenART made headlines in the international media, after a gigantic bunny was dropped in Örebro’s central square, its tail against the sculpture of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, one of Sweden’s greatest national heroes.

Florentijn Hofman’s “Big Yellow Rabbit” became an icon, loved by many and condemned by some due to its location. The love for the city’s big rabbit went as far as determining a group of people to campaign for saving it from dismantlement.

The campaign to save the rabbit did not succeed. Mats Nilsson explained in an interview with The Telegraph that “we are not interested in having the rabbit reduced to a commercial gimmick.”

After a successful 2011, Mats Nilsson received Örebro Sparbanks’ culture scholarship for his involvement in the exhibition.






Number of artists: 98

In 2009, the confirmation that OpenART was becoming
international came once the artist selection process begun.
Applications from many parts of the world came pouring in.
Örebro was taking its first step on the world’s cultural map as
an exciting art platform.







Number of artists: 115

It all started in 2008, when two rebel hearts and devoted art freaks decided to give people an alternative art space, one that would be experienced not only physically; a space that people would acknowledge, relive and recollect; a space that would remain in the collective conscience and that would be sacredly kept at the heart of the public. Art for everybody, in the city center – this was the idea that sparked a long-term collaboration and friendship between Mats Nilsson, then Head of the city’s art gallery and Lars Jonsson, a recently Örebro-relocated artist.
“After 10 years in Dusseldorf, which has a long tradition in arts, I’d moved back to Örebro in 2006. Life as an artist in smaller towns can be challenging. I was fortunate to have met Mats shortly after I came back to Sweden. It took us about 10 minutes and a coffee to become friends”, says Lars Jonnson. Mats and Lars started working together at the art gallery in 2007. That year, the gallery received a new policy directive to display art in unconventional places. “And then it struck us. Lars and I both wanted to the same thing – an exciting project that would put cutting-edge art on display in public locations in Örebro”, says Mats.

As a result, OpenART started in the summer of 2008. The first edition featured 71 artists, mostly from Scandinavia, whose works were exhibited anywhere from hidden corners downtown Örebro to shop windows, on rooftops or on the surface of river Svartån. It became popular among the people in no time. A surprise came already in 2008, when OpenART was awarded the “Surprise of the Year” award (Årets överraskning) at Örebrogalan.



”Public art creates powerful encounters” Lars Jonnson