Ginnungagap by Laura Emsley
- Place Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Svolvær
The Lofoten mountains are more than the steep outer formations disappearing into the ocean. They also consist of inner spaces in the form of caves. Myths, stories, histories and knowledges are held within the dark void.
The exhibition «Ginnungagap» is part of a larger series Laura Emsley has been working on over the past years, where each project is linked to a particular cave somewhere in the world. Emsley´s exhibition at NNKS is based on a trip she made to the cave Refsvikhula on the outermost of Moskenes in Lofoten.
Taking this journey as a starting point, Emsley explores a multitude of threads, unravelling fact and fiction, merging and rearranging them in a process of fabulation. Fragments from Norse mythology and Per Gynt appear, as well as references to research in the natural sciences and pre-history. The title of the exhibition, «Ginnungagap», refers to Norse mythology and the vast and open void that existed before anything else. Here, blazing cold met burning heat, resulting in the beginning of living life and the creation of the earth.
One of the directions Emsley has been following is the link between homo sapiens’ meeting the Neanderthals, and the Nordic fairy tales about trolls. She is concerned with how we demonize «the other», that which is different from ourselves. In this exhibition, she tries to dissolve the opposites between us and the other, between body and mind, between the outer and the inner, and between facts and the imagination.
The exhibition takes the form of a large cave-like installation, consisting of video and audio, in combination with large-format prints and painting. Inspired by surrealism, Emsley uses the unconscious and incidental, allowing unexpected and unusual juxtapositions to occur.
Laura Emsley (b. 1957) grew up in South-Africa. She lives and works in London. Emsley studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and her work has been extensively exhibited; among other places at the Maison des Arts George Pompidou, Magazin 4 Kunstverain (Bregenz), The Approach(London) and Witte De With(Rotterdam).