List of works with Love
Sara Bjarland (FIN)
Fejka, 2014 / 2022
Installation. Plastic plants, acrylic paint, Ikea shelves
In our everyday lives, the attempts to imitate nature are ubiquitous through elevated representations in various forms. Monumental landscape sceneries appear in social media, leafy window plants or garden shrubs are carefully pruned in order to protect privacy. Snapshots conveying vibrant greenery remind us of that which with perseverance and strength survives and challenges us.
Sara Bjarland’s critical gaze makes the work Fejka more than just another lifelike depiction. With a teasing irony, the yellow-brown leaves of the plastic plants in Bjarland’s work convey more realism than many other attempts to authentically reproduce nature. We bring in the wild power of nature into our homes, reinforce it with the filters of the mobile camera or reminisce about it, beautified from childhood – a human longing to be a part of something bigger which, in turn, may lead to insights about our own insignificance. Bjarland’s depictions of nature are the type we seldom wish to reproduce. In her work, time didn’t stop at a moment of perfection but on an occasion which reminds us of what comes after.
Sara Bjarland (FIN)
With nature as reference, everyday life and beauty mixes in the work by Sara Bjarland. By recycling worn and discarded materials from populated environments, Bjarland reflects on the consumer society we are surrounded by. The original purposes of objects are reformulated and comment on the generations of our time and their imprints on life.
In the work Blossom, Bjarland takes advantage of the transitions that are made visible in objects that linger between the recognizable and the unknown, between having had a function and suddenly having no value. As they unfold before our eyes, the materials are explored and provide new dimensions alongside the realization of an ongoing metamorphosis. A post-human world takes shape, filled with relics from a time that has passed and in some cases, has been given new life.
Céline Cléron (FRA)
Conseil de révision, 2017 / 2018
Installation. Wood, animal skulls.
Célin Cléron’s work Conseil de révision examines the relationship between humans and animals. Animal skulls along with wall-mounted measuring sticks, intended for French school children and draftees, create a visual expression that conveys both care and control. When the installation is shown in Sápmi, the work acquires an additional interpretation against the background of colonial abuse of the Sami people and their violated rights. Injustice, often committed with the shape of a measuring stick, examined, differentiated and oppressed generations of Sami. Even if now the measuring sticks have been replaced the colonization of Sápmi is ongoing despite the fact that it’s all too often said this is something of the past.
In Cléron’s work, man is positioned as part of nature. The animal skulls are fragments of a dreamlike bestiary and reminds us of humility in the face of nature in the presence of history. Art is not shown unaffected by its context and exists, like the Sami, not segregated from its surroundings but rather, side by side and in relation to that which it borders. The way we understand the artistic expressions we are faced with is influenced by context, place and personal experiences. In varying interpretations, new thoughts and conversations can take shape.
Benedikt Fischer (AUT)
Pearly whites, 2017 / 2018
Brooches. Shells, mother of pearl, sculpey, remanium.
The landscapes we are surrounded by are often depicted with wide brushstrokes and filled with powerful elements that subdue the surroundings. The magnificent is found not only in the overall picture but also in the details and dynamics between them. Benedikt Fischer’s work Pearly whites merges nature and culture through stories about human development. The installation, which consists of a series of jewelry, inevitably relates to the human body and its history. The slightly distorted and individual portraits of nature also work as representations of human characteristics and thus subjects in themselves.
Shells bring with them a historical perspective linked to humanity’s first traceable jewelry, a perspective which, together with the pun in the work’s title, is reminiscent of an ever-present ideal of beauty. Individual variations of the parts in the work, the grotesquely tooth-filled smiles, is also a contemporary commentary on biological diversity. With their twisted humorous expression, the characters display a somewhat vivid example of how environmental impact can distort natural selection. Simultaneously, each part is a small jewel reminiscent of a landscape with many different habitats, species and a great genetic variation.
Marit Følstad (NOR)
During her inaugural speech in the autumn of 2021, Sweden’s first female Prime Minister spoke with confidence about the future in terms of a green industrial revolution. Changing our way of relating to the earth’s resources is no longer a choice but a requirement. This revolution, which largely takes place in the northern parts of Sweden, will also have negative consequences. Construction of wind farms, establishing industrial facilities and the exploitation of land areas takes place at the expense of reindeer husbandry and the Sami culture. Many of the planned interventions in nature are difficult, if at all possible, to restore or compensate for. They take place on large areas of land, colonially described as uninhabited wasteland.
The shifts in Marit Følstad’s work REVOLUTION constitute a compressed narrative where the charged words light up in a loop without a pronounced beginning or end. We are faced with an eternal story of humanity’s repetitions; feelings of discouragement and determination. With an easy form of expression and play on words included in the work’s title, a movement between actions and counter-reactions is depicted. The work’s expression changes over time and, like the ongoing public debate, alternates between budding optimism and revolutionary devastation.
Carola Grahn (SÁPMI/SWE)
Sculpture. Plastic, fan.
No matter how relentless the landscapes that surrounds us seem, they do not remain static. Nature is affected and changes. Resourceful land is exploited, new city silhouettes crops up and climate change colors previously barren landscapes softly yellow with plants that have never before bloomed between the rocks of the high mountains. Locations are given new meanings based on changing needs and reformulated references. This contributes to the urge to develop traditions, at times accelerated by environmental impacts.
In environments changing beyond our control, traditions and heritage from previous generations become invaluable. The distinction between maintaining and preserving traditional knowledge is depicted in Carola Grahn’s work Sieidevárri – a disarming expression in the form of a large-scale inflatable mountain. This sculptural installation, dealing with loss and compensation, questions whether the physical properties of nature can be changed without losing the invisible landscapes.
Carola Grahn (SÁPMI/SWE)
Sculpture. Printed textile, straps, snow thrower.
Elevated temperatures affect the conditions of nature and how we relate to it. The ongoing climate crisis affects everyone from reindeer herders who follow their reindeer through the shifts of the eight seasons to the temporary labour of the berry pickers. For many northerners, Carola Grahn’s work Väntan has a familiar expression in its form of a provisionally covered machine waiting for the next period of cold and snow. Here with the difference that in Grahn’s work there is a dystopian element of a wait without an obvious end.
The textile cover depicting the print of a nebula, a several light-year-old cloud of gas and space dust, is tied around a snow blower with an orange strap. Time and space together symbolize an infinite and unpredictable tomorrow. Grahn’s installation is a commentary on our present and uncertain future, veiled by more than just a transparent fabric.
Geir Tore Holm (SÁPMI/NOR)
Máilbmi (Speajal) / Världen (Spegel), 1999
Málbmi ((Điedut) / Världen (Information), 2001
Máilbmi (Gođđinstuollu) / Världen (Stickningsstolen), 1999
Analog photographs. Pigment ink on cotton paper.
Even the most breathtaking views become common after some time, a backdrop we no longer notice. In Geir Tore Holm’s photograph Máilbmi (Speajal), a magnificent landscape is almost impossible to view through the window, which is at the center of the photograph. Behind large-flowering plants and ruffled lace curtains, the sea and mountains shift into a blur. The series of photographs are depictions of a home and its intrincic values. For some no more than a place like any other, for others a temple adorned in abundance. Whether the home is a protection against a raging nature or a place for recovery, it reflects the inhabitant’s personality and relationship to the surrounding landscape.
In Holm’s work, everyday life and art are recurring themes based on Sami knowledge and ways of thinking. In documentary fragements of the parental home, snapshots ignite questions about identity and on whose terms the Sami way of life takes place. The human relationship to nature’s resources is depicted in different ways where nature is alternately included and excluded. There is a geographical clarity in the pictures as well as providing a glimpse of a generalised mentality in an older generation. Above all, care is portrayed in the seemingly unassuming.
Hanna Husberg (FIN)
In the Vast Ocean of Air, 2016
Installation. Neon, projection, sound.
Many of us have a relationship with indoor climate which was established during childhood. Perhaps via the labels of old electrical elements which in several languages made it clear they must not be covered. The importance of electricity were recently brought to the fore during a period of rising electricity prices. In her work In the Vast Ocean of Air, Hanna Husberg touches on climate control, currently in demand by our indoor environments.The installation consists of a video filmed in Svalbard, a location exploited for its natural resources since the 17th century, alongside five neon signs that shines by ionized neon and argon gas in the shape of symbols for heating, cooling, moisture control, air circulation and purification. In an attempt to initiate a mapping of the complex architecture of air, Husberg focuses on the materiality and dynamics of clouds.
The feeling of watching something that cannot be visually perceived is enhanced by the soundtrack composed by Claire Bosi. Alongside the neon signs, the work becomes a way to communicate that which we are unable to see and touch. In order to explore how air can be conveyed it is necessary to include historical circumstances and different methods of describing facts. Husberg’s work present alternative ways of perceiving, relating to and conceptualizing the air and the impact it has on our living environment.
Hanna Husberg (FIN)
The World Indoors, 2015
Installation. Plants, video.
Vegetation has been used throughout all ages and cultures as inspiration to beautify and adorn human existence. Within the duodjin, carefully engraved flowers are found on Sami utility knives. Floral ornaments are recurring in wooden churches and chapels in northern sparsely populated areas. The flora of indoor environments has changed and expanded by an industrially grown range of plants originating far away from our own geographical areas. Colonial and contemporary structures include heavily manipulated migration as well as biotechnology in order to optimize the conditions of the human habitat. During long periods of winter darkness, tropical plants from suburban malls and garden shops become part of everyday life.
With the installation The World Indoors Hanna Husberg takes us far away from the northern soil where we meet plants with distant origins and research intended for NASA. A combination of Areca palm, Snake plant and Chinese money plant create ideal air conditions for closed systems such as space stations and indoor environments. The number of plants in the exhibition has been adapted to the needs of two people, emphasized by two seats in front of the accompanying video. While surrounded by plants which are meant to purify the air, we are forced to relate to their impact on pollution and to how historical, cultural and political contexts determine whether it is possible to detect such invisible phenomena.
Per Isak Juuso (SÁPMI/SWE)
Trädgårdsälg and Sopälg, 2017
Sculptures. Animal skulls, rakes, brooms.
Man’s desire to be part of a larger landscape and the desire to simultaneously dominate nature is a constant feature of life. Nature has always been a place for survival and relaxation and the boundaries are sometimes difficult to distinguish, not least through the increasingly common longing for a self-sufficient way of life. During the autumn, the strong presence of hunting culture in the northern parts of the country is noticeable. This is when office environments and mobile phones are replaced by hunting lodges, muzzleloaders and coffeepans for weeks on end.
The ways in which hunting trophies are incorporated into our home environments have changed along with their meanings. Ranging from manifestations of strength alongside conquested carcasses to show financial prosperity, they are now found as second-hand items and as details for interior decoration in plastic. Per Isak Juuso’s work Trädgårdsälg and Sopälg elicit a playful expression of the traditional masculinity of hunting trophies. The significant antlers are replaced by straws from brooms and plastic spikes from rakes in strong colors to emphasize that nature is not ours to own. The works are reminiscent of what is at risk of getting lost and the synthetic renditions we are left with when nature’s resources are consumed at a faster pace than there is time to rehabilitate.
Paula Lehtonen (FIN)
Video installation. Projection, sound.
We are repeatedly drawn to that which is familiar, whether destructive amorous relationships or the choice of coffee flavor. This behavioral pattern isn’t neccesarily enriching but still, something collectively human can be found in this conduct. The unknown and divergent may at first be experienced as unpleasant, at times even threatening. Often this is a vigilant reaction rather than signaling a genuine danger and may in turn be deployed to manipulate in order to seize power. Desiring a way of life based on conservative values in a sovereign state is a growing scenario in Swedish politics as well as in other Nordic countries.
In her work Wolfman, Paula Lehtonen depicts exclusion and the everyday struggle of discriminated groups who holds a weaker position in society. Lehtonen’s main character, a man-animal hybrid, makes reference to popular culture – an anti-hero who fights against everyday challenges in order to survive. In contrast to nature, the city is portrayed as a harsh environment enhanced by the specially composed soundscape by Rasmus Hedlund. The artwork merges discussions in Finland concerning the wild wolves with the experiences of asylum seekers. With its twisted documentary expression, these issues are dehumanized and reveal with painful clarity a situation where people are valued differently in the public debate. Wolfman’s appearance differ from the native population and as such, is by latent hatred of “the others” excluded from society. We witness this recurring story in and outside of Sápmi – repetitions that paradoxically perpetuate and confirm perceptions of the world while simultaneously tearing it apart, affecting people across generations.
Elina Waage Mikalsen (SÁPMI/NOR)
Rođu Govkkit / Glenner i Vier, 2020
Invisible landscapes that emerge through stories and traditional knowledge help us to stay in contact with the land we live on and the resources we have to relate to. Should these fall into oblivion we risk loosing the connection with what exists outside of physical and visual existence. Elina Waage Mikalsen let the person taking part in the work Rođu Govkkit / Glenner in Vier be accompanied on a journey into the underworld, through the forest and into the body. Through its voice and site-specific sound recordings, Waage Mikalsen explores the relationship between what is above the earth’s surface and that which hides beneath it.
The non-worldly joins new technology in a conceptual soundscape that constitutes an alternative and nearly sacred depiction of nature outside time and space. Initially a tentative examination of how thought and sound can be used. The yoke which in its expression move outside of a Western narrative, mixed with ways of composing music and then brought together with sound recordings from the ground become parts of the work. Physical excavations in the ground along with cavities in our memories become portals to other worlds. Meditative repetitions creates an ambiguous feeling around the recognizable and the unknown. Everyday sounds transitions into more difficult soundscapes to create a surreal space which simultaneously stay close to nature where human presence constantly remind us of its own presence.
Anja Örn (SWE)
Sculptures. Patinated bronze.
Depending on who depicts a landscape, the aspects given value and priority may vary. From different perspectives, nature is portrayed in selected ways to illustrate each agenda. Regardless of whether it is a polluting industry looking to greenwash, the tourism industry trying to attract visitors to exciting experiences or environmental activists who urges the reversal of a harmful development. In addition to current descriptions that speaks to our values, memories from childhood often contribute to our personal relationship with nature. The uninhibited play, which does not take into account whether a landscape is real or not, takes place in the imagination and is gradually replaced by accepted knowledge – childhood memories change and the ways we relate to them alter over time.
In Organisms, Anja Örn reflects on the conditions of earth and on the ability of nature to draw attention to our own mortality. Based on a story by a parent about the importance of symbiosis between flora and fauna, Örn’s work provides weight to what may otherwise be easily overlooked. The scale of the work allow us to come closer to details which creates a physical presence and awareness of that which we do not always notice. The size and choice of material tells us something about the land we live on and about the importance of small creatures for a functioning whole. In the form of magnificently cast earthworms, bronze becomes a tribute to parts of life that we otherwise take for granted and thereby shift our own significance in relation to nature.