North Atlantic Pavilion15. Sep - 25. Nov 12 / ended Liverpool Biennial
City States, Ex Royal Mail Sorting Office, Copperas Hill, Liverpool. 10am-5pm
New work from leading lights in Icelandic, Greenlandic and Faroese art
The inaugural North Atlantic Pavilion brings together artists from Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands as part of City States at this year’s Liverpool Biennial. It features new works from artists Sigurdur Gudjónsson (Iceland), Hanni Bjartalíd (Faroe Islands) and Jessie Kleemann (Greenland).
The exhibition showcases installations, performance and moving image works by artists from countries in the North Atlantic. Their work challenges and dissects the tensions that exist in embracing a strong national and regional identity – focusing especially on work that questions the received notions and surface appearances of what ‘hospitality’ means.
The geographical region explored in the pavilion represents a unique interaction of diverse localised cultures spread over a vast area that all at one time in recent history, has been officiated over and represented to the outside world by the Danish Flag.
The North Atlantic Pavilion asks how, in a world being transformed by the digital era, nationalism and regional identity remain constructs of mythical narratives implemented on specific artifacts: artifacts that will be exposed to further acts of territorial negotiation in the context of Liverpool Biennial 2012.
Sigurdur Gudjónsson premieres a new video work, Prelude. The film draws the viewer into a sound-space and visual world in which repetition and rhythm create an atmosphere referring to cultural background and mental state.
Hanni Bjartalíð makes wood objects from recycled material and waste wood. These three dimensional sculptures (of miniature houses) provoke associations with childhood and are shrouded in silence and mystery. Although the artist’s work often features intimate, small-scale objects, Bjartalíð is building a specially commissioned large-scale work for this exhibition.
Jessie Kleemann bases new installations and performance on the importance of seal blubber to Greenlandic culture and its duality of aggression and aesthetics. The exhibition also features a recent video work, and a live performance by the artist at the exhibition preview. Kleemann uses shamanistic rituals as a mode of expression through performance. Inuit traditions and beliefs in spiritual beings are given new life on stage. She performs in elegant silk robes and recklessly dances with blubber and meat, creating a unique expression that harnesses the unique polarities between materials and that is simultaneously repulsive and captivating.
Sigurdur Gudjónsson (b. 1975) is a visual artist from Iceland, working primarily with video and photography for his installations. He is a member of the death metal band Cranium, and studied at the Academy of fine arts in Vienna and the Iceland Academy of the Arts. With equal attention to music and image in his atmospheric films, Sigurdur’s work exudes mysticism, desolation, the grotesque and the bleak, and reflects a tangle of emotions that are universal and timeless.
Hanni Bjartalíð (b. 1968) is a major innovator in Faroese art. He is probably the only Faroese artist making sustainable work. Originally a painter, he has been compared to the Italian Arte Povera artists by using found materials close at hand. Bjartalíð recycles his canvases to such an extent that they are almost always heavy with paint, even the small paintings. He currently lives in Finland.
Jessie Kleemann (b. 1959, Upernavik, Greenland) lives and works in Copenhagen. She works with performance art, paint and is also a poet. During performances Jessie works with traditional and contemporary Inuit themes, mixing video/film and music, poetry and dance. Kleemann has appeared in numerous international exhibition spaces, in remote villages in Greenland, and is a regular guest-wolf of the international performance art group The Wolf in the Winter.
This event is curated By NICE (Nordic Intercultural Creative Events) and Curated Place. The North Atlantic Pavilion is supported by the Nordic Cultural Fund and the Kulturkontakt Norden Culture and Art Programme.
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