Iceland is home to some of the most creative people in the world, making its art culture rich and engaging. The new Norðrið (North) exhibition at the LÁ Art Museum in South Iceland is no exception. Curated by Daría Sól Andrews, this show features work from Icelandic, Finnish and Swedish artists that questions the human imprint on natural landscapes.
The exhibition asks the question: “In the wake of global warming and excelling ecological changes, will our environments of today become a mere fleeting impression?” It considers the ways in which our human imprint savagely and irreversibly morphs our natural environments. It goes on to point out that nowhere is this more evident than in the Arctic; from the retreat of glaciers to the most rapid rise in temperatures anywhere in the world, the countries bordering the Arctic are experiencing especially radical shifts.
The Norðrið exhibition focuses on the Northern Nordic countries and their adapting environments, exploring the ways in which changes in nature are influencing and informing artists’ expressions and ideas, through a lens of climate change in a Scandinavian climate, specifically. In order to make sense of these rapid shifts in the northern landscape, the selected artists affirm instability and change as a necessary part of nature. As the effects of climate change in the North bring with it an uncertainty towards the future of our known landscapes, these six artists reimagine the place and the function of the human, using their artistic practices to come to terms with change and reinvention within nature.
Arngunnur Ýr, Erna Skúladóttir, Ulrika Sparre, Pétur Thomsen, Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir, and Nestori Syrjala present a blend of expressions, ranging from critical documentation to poetic invocations. How can we reconnect back to the non-human and communicate in relation to nature, connect back to the landscapes and environments that the invasive human is ripping apart, and explore a nature that is not simply ‘other than man’? We take nature, the mountain to be the constant, unchanging, solid – a consistent marker of our environment in memory, but these works acknowledge the reality of its fleeting nature. The result becomes a thing of beauty, fragile, yet strong, and a way to rise anew. They offer a unique concept of landscape, land art, and environmentalism, suggesting new creations and fantastical environments, whilst simultaneously acknowledging the dissolve of our present ones. These artists gently draw us back to nature, dirt, land, earth, the elements, allowing us to focus on its beauty rather than the overweighting anthropocentrism. They remove the human and bring us back to our earthly roots by unapologetically bringing us face to face with the harsh reality of the state of nature.
To learn more about this fascinating exhibit, visit the LÁ Art Museum here: https://listasafnarnesinga.is/la-art-museum/la-art-museum_english/exhibitions/north/
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