This exhibition stems from the surrounding darkness. It starts from the feeling that the world is crumbling in our hands, while a strong wind blows the last of its remains even further. We cannot see the ever-growing threat of ecological destruction, just as we cannot see the potential new directions and life forms rising from the ruins of the old world.
Can’t See is divided into four chapters, which will provide a glimpse into spaces and times that are not usually perceived by the human eye: from the depths of the sea and layers beneath the soil to the debris of the past and visions of the future. The stories are told from a range of perspectives, from hybrid birds to bacteria, sea creatures, an ancient tree or the ever blasting wind, aiming to present different ways of seeing and experiencing the world that detach from the numerous perspectives we are accustomed to. The moment in time is not fixed, allowing us to travel deep into the mythical past or imagine futures yet to come.
This chapter opens its doors to the ground level. It’s an earthy, bubbling, crumbling surface, where an attentive observer might discover life in its various forms. Often not noticeable or known to people, life in the soil has its own cycles and rules. The soil level at Kling & Bang is as ruined as it is blossoming, it is both the apocalypse and the start of the new. The human-created garden has collapsed and is seeking its final destruction. New life forms are emerging inside a decaying tree trunk. Weird creatures crawl around the space, and yet to be seen landscapes mesmerise us with their stunning views.
Alma Heikkilä (b. 1984) lives and works in Helsinki. She is a founding member of Mustarinda, a multidisciplinary collective located in the oldgrowth forests of northern Finland, that hosts residencies at the intersection between art and ecology. Heikkilä is fascinated by the collective activities of soil creatures, from nematodes to fungi, spores to mycelium.
Antti Laitinen (b. 1975) lives and works in Somero, Finland. He uses photography, sculpture, video, performance, installation, and conceptual objects as his media. He draws inspiration from his everyday environment by deconstructing it – collecting, cutting, bending, digging, and rearranging.
Bjarki Bragason (b. 1983) lives and works in Reykjavík. His practice investigates how human and geological time scales intersect. In his recent work, Bjarki has focussed on individual trees and how they bear witness to the history which unfolds around and on them.
Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir (b. 1955) lives and works in Reykjavík. During her work as an artist over four decades, she has become known for her intense working methods and the unusual combination of sand and glass, turning these materials into mysterious organic figures. Her works often have a strong connection with historical events and an even stronger connection with nature and the land.
Elo Järv (full name Elo-Reet Järv, b. 1939, d. 2018) was an Estonian artist who worked primarily with leather. As leather is a sensitive material, having once been alive, she uses it to depict textures of nature and the play of light on the mounds of its surface. None of the surfaces are smooth and flat; they are covered in the incessant undulating movement of different textures and reliefs.
Guðrún Nielsen (b. 1914, d. 2000) has become known for her wood carvings, which can be found in many places both in and outside Iceland. They were inspired by carvings she saw in Denmark which made her want to try the technique. Her works can be classified into three groups: Wood carvings, stone works made from small found stones that come together to make a whole, and lastly works made from roots that have been altered slightly.
Gústav Geir Bollason (b. 1966) is an artist and filmmaker who lives in the north of Iceland, in the small coastal village of Hjalteyri, where he manages the local art space “Verksmiðjan á Hjalteyri”. Bollason’s artistic practice is primarily a response to the landscape and the life it harbours. Creating drawings, found-object sculptures, animations, videos, and films, he often combines these media in installations that give rise to fictional extensions of reality.
Kärt Ojavee (b. 1982) is an artist and designer who combines new technologies with traditional craft. Her approach to textiles is conceptual, exploring their historical meaning and possibilities for future development.
Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (b. 1978) was born in Guatemala City. Working in drawing, performance, sculpture, and video, Ramírez-Figueroa explores the entanglement of history and form through the lens of his own displacement during and following Guatemala’s civil war of 1960– 96. Borrowing from the languages of folklore, science fiction, and theatre, he reframes historical events and protagonists.
In her work artist Ólöf Nordal deals with Icelandic history and the collective memory of a nation in a critical and analytical way. Her artistic research has been focused on the self-identity of a nation in postcolonial times, the origin and the reflection of national motifs in the present, and the fragment as a mirror into the past. The politics of presentation of animal specimens as well as the fascination with the monstrous are at play in Nordal’s photographs and sculptures. Her work continues to explore the folkloric traditions surrounding Icelandic nature as well as those scientific practices that, in their seeking to preserve and display nature, also fictionalize it.
Pakui Hardware is the artistic duo formed by Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda. One of their preferred subjects is regenerative medicine and its technologies. They place the human body in a virtual relation to non-human discourses, be it animals or plants, and also technological discourses, somewhere between science fiction and mythology.
Sigurður Einarsson (b.1918, d. 2007) was inspired by Icelandic nature and the fantasy and folklore that inhabits it, turning them into fantastic figurative landscapes. He started painting late in his life after retiring from working as a dairy-man. When abstract painting was gaining popularity in Iceland, he became interested in art and started to follow and participate in the local art scene.
Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir is based in Iceland. In her practice she considers various objects and phenomena that are connected to our understanding of and relationship to the natural world as it meets, overlaps and is interpreted within human environments.