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Artists Presentations

Johan Bergström (SWE)

Johan Bergström (1978) with roots in Piteå, lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Bergström studied photography at the Institution of Photography, part of Gothenburg University in Sweden. Bergström works with photography as a tool, often using landscape as a base from which to convey different ideologies and pose questions. His work is built up from many layers that are comprised of both direct statements and suggestive undertones.

Bergström has exhibited in venues including the Centre for Photography in Stockholm, the Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu, Finland, and the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway. Bergström’s work is represented in collections such as Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.

For Transitions, Bergström presents the newly produced work Foldings and works from the project Pagan Postcards.

Foldings, 2018

Foldings is a photography series of deconstructed landscapes rendered through fabricated geographic layers. In the series, photographs of Icelandic scenery have been digitally processed and made into three-dimensional images, creating the illusion that the photographs are folded into shapes. These shapes either follow the existing terrain or create new terrains, but the subject itself remains fixed. Foldings visualizes an attempt to give classical landscape images a subjective topographic dimension, adding notions of both abstraction and expanded space.

Materials: Pigment print on acid-free cotton paper

Pagan Postcards, 2011

Pagan Postcards is a photography series that takes its point of departure from the Norwegian Black Metal cultural context. When the second wave of Black Metal grew in Norway in the early 90s it quickly became synonymous with church fires, satanic rituals, and on-stage brutality. The term ‘true Norwegian Black Metal’ became a collective name for bands such as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, Emperor, Enslaved and Thorns. However, in addition to misanthropic and anti-Christian messages, the music also provided lyrical space for a deep appreciation of nature, similarly to the Romantics of the 19th century. Here, an untainted landscape was used as a counter image to civilized, superficial, materialist and Christian society; nature was a symbol of an idealized past.

In Pagan Postcards, the varying landscape of Norway is pictured in a style inspired by Norwegian Romantic painters such as Johan Christian Dahl, Hans Gude and August Cappelen. These impressive vistas are accompanied by excerpts of song lyrics written by Norwegian Black Metal bands; texts that celebrate nature’s primitivism and amorality. Positioned in this way, the images articulate a revival of the natural Romantic movement while at the same time hint towards a potential forthcoming apocalypse.

Materials: Pigment print on acid-free cotton paper, lacquered steel, printed postcards

Ivan Galuzin (RUS/NOR)

Ivan Galuzin (1979) lives in Oslo and works from Norway and Russia. Galuzin studied at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway. In his work the manic and destructive is combined with the fragile and the beautiful through installation, painting, performance and text. Galuzin has repeatedly approached projects with an almost scientific process and uses abstraction as both a methodological approach and a tool. Recurring in Galuzin’s work is the subject of the human body, a topic for comprehensive and deconstructive examination.

Galuzin has exhibited in venues including Stavanger Art Museum in Norway, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Norway and Moscow Museum of Modern Art in Russia. As a curator, Galuzin has collaborated with institutions such as the Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromsø, Norway.

In Transitions Galuzin presents Referent, an earlier work that will now be exhibited for the first time.

Referent, 2009 - 2018

Referent is a series of abstract images that are suggestive of horizon lines. The work of the title is borrowed from a novel by Ray Bradbury, published in 1948, in which ’the referent’ is a foreign entity, an intellectual being that is freed from its physical body. Starting from an accidental chemical reaction, Galuzin underwent a meditative process to create monotonous primitive landscapes on the papers, with the occasional burst of movement. Without a clear and affirmed narrative, the works suggest imaginary surface layers of a distant planet. Referent is a multifaceted piece, aesthetically confined within the framework of a repetitive day journal yet open to multiple interpretations. Enclosed in itself the monograph records nothing but its own monotony, it is only the end of a story, a representation of a star that will also eventually die.

Materials: Paper, chloride

Carola Grahn (SÁPMI/SWE)

Carola Grahn (1982) is a South Sámi artist originally from Jokkmokk, now living and working in Malmö, Sweden. Grahn studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. Grahn works thematically and idea-based in projects that are often materialised through text, installation and sculpture. Grahn’s central interest lies in power structures, social constructs and self-image, primarily in relation to ethnicity and gender. Grahn’s upbringing is a constant point of departure for her practice, and her work frequently refers to Sámi world perspectives, the rural conditions and labour culture of northern Sweden.

Grahn has exhibited in venues such as the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon, Canada, London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre in the UK, and the Office for Contemporary Art Norway in Oslo, Norway. Grahn has published the novel Lo & Professorn and her work is represented in Public Art Agency Sweden’s collection.

For Transitions Grahn presents new parts of the ongoing series Notes, a site-specific version of the work Sieidivárre, and Markerna, which is a work specially created for Konstmuseet i Norr.

Notes, 2017 - 2018

Notes is an ongoing series of fragmented narratives on reindeer skin and woollen cloth. The starting point for the work is the material itself and the concept is intuitively formulated from ruminations upon culture, society and everyday life. Using a straightforward, comprehensible voice, the work takes shape when encountered by the viewer. Notes is a suggestive series that instead of conveying a normative, pre-formulated history with clear instructions for interpretation through material choice and concept, provides a framework from which dialogue upon the friction between Western and Sámi world views can be continued.

Materials: Reindeer skin, broadcloth, sinew thread, tin thread, wooden frames

Sieidivárre – Luossavaara, 2016 - 2018

Sieidivárre - Loussavaara is a sculptural installation about loss and compensation. Can traditional knowledge of a changing landscape be preserved, and what is at stake if this knowledge falls into oblivion?

“The visible, physical mountains still rise in the visible landscape, but in many places, the invisible, sacred mountains as well as the invisible landscape have disappeared. The connection between the visible and invisible reality is no longer functioning. The narratives have to be told to maintain and confirm ideas about the world, and to give continuity to the knowledge and perception of the invisible reality”

-Marit Myrvoll, Gosa bássi várit leat jávkan? Where have all the sacred mountains gone?

Materials: Plastic, wood, fan, motor

Markerna, 2018

Markerna is a speech and a version of a Sámi ‘skáhppu’ that was developed in collaboration with duodji master Nils-Johan Labba. The speech is written by the artist and inspired by what is called ‘Acknowledgement of the Land’, or ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ – a concept and practice that originally comes from Australia with the aim to show respect for indigenous people. Grahn’s speech now serves as a verbal introduction to public events at Konstmuseet i Norr; drawing the visitor’s attention to the significance of the land that they are standing on. Markerna recognizes the historical magnitude of the site for both Sámi and Swedish people and looks towards a continued common future.

Materials: Speech, wood, reindeer horn

Pekka & Teija Isorättyä (FIN)

Pekka Isorättyä (1980) and Teija Isorättyä (1980), with roots in Tornio, Finland, live and work in Helsinki, Finland. They both studied at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Their work focusses upon the connections and dialogues between mankind, art and technology, and their surrounding environments. The Isorättyäs sculptural pieces are often formed from kinetics and electromagnetic technologies, and are made from organic, rejected or obsolete materials. These materials often have bodily references and explore the boundaries of what it means to be human or biodynamic, living or not living.

The Isorättyäs have exhibited in venues including Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland, OPEN ART Biennale in Örebro, Sweden and Ierimonti Gallery in New York, USA. The Isorättyäs are represented in collections including the Kiasma Finnish National Gallery and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation Art Collection in Finland.

For Transitions Teija and Pekka Isorättyä present their newly produced work Mechanic Wolf.

Mechanic Wolf, 2018

Mechanic Wolf is a sculptural installation that raises questions about the shifting balance between humans and the natural world. Mechanic Wolf becomes a symbol of the duality of human beings in the second machine age; where continuous development is required to keep up with the challenges of new technology. Both hated and admired, the Finnish wolf was formerly a powerful animal but no longer has its own place in the wild. The wolf’s territory is shrinking, and small populations are slowly dying as a result of in-breeding. In studying the background of the taxidermy wolf and carrying out a DNA analysis of it, the preserved and once-objectified animal is given back its lost family identity and the animal’s self-worth is preserved as part of a digital database. For a short time the wolf is brought back to life; sparking questions of how long life can be artificially preserved on Earth.

Materials: Taxidermy wolf, air compressor, microprocessor

Ingeborg Annie Lindahl (NOR)

Ingeborg Annie Lindahl (1981) lives and works in Harstad, Norway. Lindahl studied at Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Bergen National Academy of the Arts in Norway. Distinctive to Lindahl’s practice is a site-specific and large format method of working, using materials that themselves communicate with and contribute to the content of the work. Lindahl’s work is a form of artistic research that aims to highlight and manifest change, frequently commenting upon nature’s constant state of transformation and the construction of knowledge.

Lindahl has exhibited in venues including the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, USA, the 2nd SEA Triennale at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta and Trafo Kunsthall in Asker, Norway. Lindahl has initiated the project Ut i min hage in Harstad, Norway, and works as a curator and consultant for KORO Public Art Norway.

In Transitions Lindahl presents her newly produced work Iron Ore Line.

Iron Ore Line, 2018

Iron Ore Line is a site-specific large format drawing that is a part of the series Drawing from Nature, an ongoing artistic research project about the human need to map out the world and an in-depth study of how people value permanency. Iron Ore Line is based on an exploration of Kiruna’s local history, and a personal experience of the city’s development. The drawings are made with chalk, a physical residue of landscape. Through this material choice the drawings become a comment upon human perception of time; our own physical existences will eventually too become mineral, a layer of chalk in the Earth’s crust.

Materials: Chalk

Project supported by Troms fylke

Bolatta Silis-Høegh (GRL/LAT/DNK)

Bolatta Silis-Høegh (1981) lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and works between Greenland, Denmark and Sweden. Silis-Høegh studied at Aarhus Art Academy in Denmark. Recurring in her work is a questioning of what defines culture, history and development, often through focussing upon the seemingly dynamic identity of her homeland Greenland. Through utilizing a wide variety of materials and forms, the artistic process is the primary focus in Silis-Høeghs work.

Silis-Høegh has exhibited in venues such as Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nuuk Art Museum in Greenland and in the Danish Pavillion at the Venice Biennale, Italy. Her childrens book Aima Shuhs! was nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature prize in 2016, and she is represented in the Greenland National Museum collection.

In Transitions Silis-Høegh presents her newly produced work Dance and paintings from earlier periods of her artistic practice.

Dance, 2018

Dance is a large-scale textile work in three parts, that subtly comments upon mankind’s relentless and ongoing impact on nature. Using a material made of plastic, the work itself becomes a reflection upon pollution, climate change, greed, consumption and a successive exploitation of our natural environment. The work seems to hang peacefully but slowly unravels with every passing movement. Dance is a work that invites the viewer to experience the volatile motions of landscape.

Materials: Polyester fabric

Winter Storm, 2015

Winter Storm is a work from the series S T O R M that depict inner landscapes that move between foggy still images, bare portraits and winter storms. The series explores the boundaries between people and nature, and the viewer is confronted with personal raw material from their own mental landscape.

Materials: Acrylic on canvas

Capturing my Storm, 2017

Capturing my Storm is a work that encapsulates Silis-Høegh’s physical working process in which she approaches the canvas in a bodily way, creating three dimensional images through active and energetic brush strokes. The work subtly portrays the artist’s impression of nature as both vulnerable and incredibly powerful.

Material: Oil on canvas

Summer night, 2017

In Summer night the artist depicts the calm darkness of night in a peaceful landscape where the moonlight creates dynamic contrast. The piece conveys Silis-Høegh’s sensitive artistic approach, and uses a limited, monochromatic colour palette that over the years has become increasingly visible in her work.

Materials: Oil on canvas

Erna Elínbjörg Skúladóttir (ISL)

Erna Elínbjörg Skúladóttir (1983) lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland. Skúladóttir studied at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway. Through observing the human manipulation of landscape, architecture and natural materials, Skúladóttir explores the relationship between real and constructed environments. Her work is driven by a careful selection of materials and an examination of their different phases and shifts. The tensions that arise between these different materials, their relation and reliance upon one another and the frequencies of natural ground movements are recurring themes in Skúladóttir’s work.

Skúladóttir has exhibited in venues including Uppsala Art Museum in Sweden, Céramique Carougeois International Biennial in Genève, Switzerland and Bergen Kunsthall in Norway.

For Transitions Erna Elínbjörg Skúladóttir has newly produced the sitespecific work Illusion of stability.

Illusion of stability, 2018

Illusion of stability is a site-specific sculptural installation that takes its starting point from the visible signs of tension in the areas around Kiruna’s city centre. Cracks in the ground are a consequence of the ongoing mining in the city, and Illusion of stability materalises these cracks through a meticulous casting process. In their inverted form, the city’s fractures are documented and extended along the walls of the newly opened museum; like miniatures of mountain ranges or a continuation of the artificial mountain landscape that has been built around the mine. The cracks may represent a current situation, but they also become a reflection of both the history and future of Kiruna. The apparent solid stability of the ground is depicted in this tactile installation, which at the same time exposes fragility and poses questions on the value of the non-material.

Materials: Latex sculpture, mineral fragments, oil paint