Norðrið / North
Listasafn Árnesinga, Hveragerði, Iceland
In the wake of global warming and excelling ecological changes, will our environments of today become a mere fleeting impression? The human imprint is permanently changing landscapes, savagely and irreversibly morphing our natural environments, and 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.
Nordic landscapes are being devastatingly altered by an unconcerned, self-absorbed human footprint. Once heralded for the unique beauty of its natural environments, the landscapes of the North are transforming at a rapid rate from the harsh effects of climate change. In response to these freshly emerging and turbulently changing landscapes, many artists are finding themselves compelled to focus on the fragility of nature and manifesting this perspective in their practices. New landscapes are being revealed already that have never been seen by the human eye, while others are inundated for an unforeseen future.
Norðrið focuses in on the Northern 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 here 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.