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Johan Bergström, Foldings IV, 2018 © Johan Bergström

Transitions is an exhibition that examines the changing definition of landscape as both motif and concept.

The idea of starting an art museum in Kiruna initially emerged from an artistic tradition that developed alongside the city; a localised art history that is famously characterised by a romantic nationalist style of landscape painting. In Transitions, the participating artists instead approach landscape as a concept that is possible to be seen from social, economic and political ideologies. The exhibition represents a variety of artistic approaches and perspectives through newly produced and revised works, demonstrating the multiplicity of elements that constitute landscape and define our existence within it.

Depictions of landscape are prevalent throughout art history and are naturally reflective of time and context. Romanticism’s idealised illustrations and reproductions of divine landscape, often as a form of early societal critique, and today’s edited digital background images of impressive vistas that awaken unrealistic expectations of how nature should be are clear examples. Though originally based on the authentic, these artificial images simply gratify utopian desires; an illustration of life outside of the frame.

Through a compulsion to imitate and celebrate authentic landscape we surround ourselves with grass, plants, trees and water features in controlled and confined spaces. With a curious and critical eye, art surpasses simple representation and landscape can be portrayed as something more than merely a rural, interior or urban backdrop from which other more important stories are able to take place. In Transitions, the motif of landscape is scrutinised and given new dimensions through a wide range of artistic perspectives and material choices; making space for metaphors, illustrations and commentaries upon our postmodern, industrial world.