Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Slippery Terrain at the Nordic House Reykjavik

May 7th - May 29th 2011

Nina Lassila
Diana Storåsen
Johanna Willenfelt
Thora Gunnarsdottir
Elín Anna Þórisdóttir
Juliana España Keller

Nature and natural vision tends to be dreamlike and romanticized in art. The interplay of light and color that ignites impressions within the viewer. The personification of nature as the nurturing woman who tends to her creations and is therefore dubbed "the mother". But is there romance in Mother Nature? In Iceland her face is more often that of an angry woman, thundering on with noise and destruction in her wake, a woman which should not be angered or defied in any way. There is nothing romantic about natural catastrophes and their influence on our surroundings. Destruction and death. Nor has mankind shown much romance or kindness in it's dealings with Nature. Mankind wants to tame the land, cultivate and use it and cares little or nothing about how it affects the Earth, let alone it's other inhabitants, the animals.

This is exactly what has been done to the wetland reserve in Vatnsmýri. It has been encroached upon from every direction and has now reached a critical state. The contract between The Nordic House, City of Reykjavík and The University of Iceland entails a plan which will improve the condition of the area and make life a bit easier for it's inhabitants. When the contract was signed, Reykjavík's mayor, Jón Gnarr, called it a small step for mankind but a huge step for the ducks.

Nature and our surroundings is the root of our image and through it we sense ourselves. Our attitude towards it is based on our background, upbringing and the habits we have learned from our ancestors. The Reykjavík pond area is impregnated with the cultural image of the citizens. We see it more as a place for the family to feed the ducks and a postcard image of the past than a wild area. The pond as a cultural thing and the pond as a natural habitat have different needs. The latter is in a crisis and the contract is meant to meet it's needs while the first, in it's present state, preserves the cultural heritage in our minds. But those needs do not cancel out one another.

The role of the artist is to explore, research, experience and ask about the significant issue. He should capture the influence of his surroundings and then impose in his art, thereby giving the viewer a change to see the subject from as many perspectives as possible and at the same time broadening his own. A modern artist's vision of nature has changed from being solely romantic to including the problems of man cohabiting with Nature as well.

It is from this context the Slippery Terrain artists tackle the task of observing the wetland reserve in Vatnsmýri, the Reykjavík Pond and in general, peoples attitude towards nature, animal life and the never ending search for Mother Nature.

The show opens on the day of Vatnsmýri, May 7th, 2011