That Which Grows and That Which Bars examines borders in their many forms, geographical as well as psychological. The participating artists all have different expressions and artistic practices, but they share a common fascination for the relationship between place and movement. The starting point is a simple story of earth. Thereafter, what happens when earth is transformed into habitats and territories, and thereby transcends to become realms of belonging. This change entails a series of complex narratives, encompassing stories about time and affinity, and about natural, political and emotional processes. However, most important of all is the story of how a place is altered by the life that unfolds there, and how life, in its turn, is altered by the place. Because borders – just as people – are not static entities, but are created and recreated, in a dynamic interplay between that which grows, and that which bars.
The exhibition is a coproduction between art institutions in the Barents Region: North Norwegian Art Centre (NO), Arkhangelsk International Cultural Centre (RU), Havremagasinet in Boden (SE), Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu (FI) and Pikene på Broen in Kirkenes (NO).
Anna Kukielka is a Polish artist and ceramicist. With an emphasis on the metaphorical importance of soil, Kukielka creates ceramic objects reminiscent of organic materials such as bones and wood. Employing a prehistoric pit-firing technique, her works achieve the worn appearance of archaeological remains – and an unsettling sense of time and frailty. Currently based in Bergen, Kukielka is educated from Bergen Academy of Art and Design and from the Art Academy in Tromsø.
Nogr is an artist duo consisting of Russian artists Nick Degtyarev and Nadia Degtyareva. Motivated by a desire to create arenas for open debate, their joint work focuses on the friction between national borders and cultural belonging, particularly concerning Post-Sovjet society. Degtyarev and Degtyareva are both educated from the Rodchenko Art School in Moscow, and have cooperated artistically since 2014.
Jet Pascua is a Filipino-Norwegian artist, whose work often involves his own experiences as an immigrant. Pascua works in performance and film, as well as objects and drawing, and frequently discusses themes such as remember and -misremembrance, and how the past afflicts the present. While often personal, his art also commonly entails historical and current political events. Pascua is educated from the Art Academies of Manila, Oslo and Bergen, and is the founder of the artist-run exhibition space Small Projects in Tromsø.
Antti Tenetz is a Finish artist and environmental activist. Tenetz works interdisciplinary and employs scientific methods to render natural and cultural phenomenon, ranging from climatic change and natural migration, to cultural and biological evolution. Employing technological equipment such as drones, his documentary work border on surveillance, in depicting the brute force of life. Tenetz is educated from the Faculty of Arts at Lapland University and has exhibited at venues such as the 56. Venice Biennale.
Kristin Tårnes is a Norwegian artist dominantly working documentary and place-specific. Tårnes’ oeuvre includes projects on the ‘Tromsø Palm,’ an invasive and poisonous – but also culturally significant – plant, and on the contradictions between traditional Sami belief and modern bureaucracy, as highlighted by the conflicts surrounding construction of the Eastern Sami Museum in Neiden. Tårnes holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Academy in Trondheim, and is currently based in Tromsø.
Knutte Wester is a Swedish artist. Working in sculpture, drawing and film, Wester combines traditional academic art with documentary realism in projects that often depict, as well as interacts, with society’s outcast. Wester has worked with groups such as paperless immigrants in Sweden and Norway, with homeless unwed mothers in Polen, orphans i Latvia and homeless families in New York. Among his recent projects is the animated film A Bastard Child, about his grandmother’s experience as an illegitimate child in early 20th century Sweden. Wester is educated from Umeå Academy of Fine Arts.
Knutte Wester: A Secret Place, 2016 (detail)