Stone Age Dreams
- Place Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Svolvær
A group exhibition which thematises the nature of language through science fiction poetry, performance and meditative sculpture.
Artists: Miriam Haile, Cal Harben, Damla Kilickiran, Viktor Pedersen, Maria Dorothea Schrattenholz og Simon Daniel Tegnander Wenzel. Curated by Arne Skaug Olsen. Opening performances by: Viktor Pedersen, Maria Dorothea Schrattenholz and Simon Wentzel Tegnander
Stone Age Dreams it takes many millions of years to be born/all the time it takes to come into being
Maria Dorothea Schrattenholz, Atlanspunkt Can we remember something that happened long before we came into existence? Do we have memories encoded in the genetic tissue that makes us human beings? A human being dreams, but did Stone Age people dream? The overwhelming probability is that they did. All mammals reveal that they dream when one measures brain activity as they sleep. At some remote point in evolution the dream came into being, and its function is so important that it has survived evolution’s slow but relentless battle against the superfluous, the unnecessary.
Works in the “Stone Age Dreams” exhibition thematize in various ways how we–modern, cultivated people that we are–have a longing to understand and experience how it might be to exist in the world without language, without words, without conceptions that enable us to describe and systematize. The dream is a condition in which we can approach such an experience and can sink through layer upon layer of culture, down to a place where language can step back and something else, something elemental, can reveal itself. In the dream nothing is impossible, all is filled with magic and transcendence, even transgression; here we can fly, fall, and become animals again; there are no images here, only symbols and representations. They are living presences. There are experiences coded into us which we can access if we search for them.
The six artists in “Stone Age Dreams” have an essential thing in common: they have been or are students at Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing), which in 2018 will celebrate its 10th anniversary, making it the youngest arts academy in the Nordic countries. At the same time, a decade is long enough to lay down some paths in the artistic landscape that can lead to new and unexpected places. The artists also share an interest in the possibilities of language, the limitations surrounding the communication of experience, and the boundaries of what can be expressed with words.
Maria Dorothea Schrattenholz’s long sci-fi poem Atlaspunkt (Forlaget Oktober 2015) stretches across an enormous time range, from an undefined point in time where our progenitors took their first steps on two legs to a time in an unknown future where our descendants have long since left our planet and started living on Mars. The poem’s fables about a possible past and a potential future form a background against which the entire exhibition can be seen: a journey through time and space that has taken us from the primordial soup’s absence of language, through the dream and into language and image, from earth to Mars and back again.
Damla Kilickiran concerns herself with how artists have always given shape and visibility to objects and forms that apparently do not belong in the world we see daily. The sculptures in the exhibition are conceived during meditation: they are hypnagogic: inner images which the artist has given physical form. Via her sculptures she bears witness to an inner world peopled by strange, sometimes threatening, sometimes friendly beings.
Viktor Pedersen’s works give expression to another kind of inner world brought forth by the natural hallucinogen psilocybin, a substance capable of animating the world around us and giving it a life of which we were unaware.
Miriam Haile’s text installation Tigrinya Wealth is a freshly produced version of a video work of the same name. The work consists of three quotations from the Eritrean language Tigrinya and revolves around the struggle for freedom and the language’s political potential. Simultaneously the text is written in the Ge’ez alphabet, which for most people in Norway is indecipherable. The meaning stays hidden behind layers of code that can be experienced as form, but also as a message that the human being is simply a medium for language.
Cal Harben’s work Bodies of Water gathers sound signals from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea outside Sicily. The low-frequency sound landscape in Harben’s installation is at the border of what we can apprehend as sound, but one can still experience it. This work reminds us that listening is communicating with the world via the body; listening is a political action, and it involves us in an ancient ecological interaction that demonstrates that we too originated in the sea.
Simon Wenzel Tegnander has a fundamental interest in nature and the idea that human beings-in spite of our ever more technological life–continue to be part of nature. In a series of new works he takes us back to the natural world with an installation that combines sculpture and aromatics.
Maria Dorothea Schrattenholtz is a writer and artist living in Cape Town. She has a B.A. in contemporary art from Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing–2013) and has also attended the Creative Writing (2015). She is currently studying in Cape Town. Her long poem Atlaspunkt was published by Forlaget Oktober (Oslo) in 2015.
Damla Kilickiran is a third-year B.A. student at Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing). She has recently had her first single-artist show at Small Projects in Tromsø.
Viktor Pedersen is a visual artist living in Tromsø and working with video, installation, and performance. He has a B.A. in contemporary art from Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing–2016). He has participated in several exhibitions in Norway and internationally, among them under Pile o´Sápmi in Tromsø, and has recently had a one-artist exhibition at Small Projects in Tromsø.
Miriam Haile is a visual artist living in Copenhagen with a B.A. in contemporary art from Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing) and an M.F.A. in art from Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) in Copenhagen (2014). Miriam is one of the founders of the publishing platform Mondo Books and is its curator. She has participated in a series of exhibitions, most recently at Meter in Copenhagen.
Cal Harben is a visual artist living in Copenhagen with an M.A. in contemporary art from Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing). Harben’s work explores sound and the borderlines of what can be sensed by the body. He has had shows in a series of international locations, recently at Verkligheten in Umeå, Sweden.
Simon Wentzel Tegnander is a visual artist and musician with a B.A. in contemporary art from Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing). He has toured internationally with the band Tokyo Twins and has participated in a series of exhibitions, most recently in HATCH at Agder Kunstsenter (Agder Contemporary Art Centre, Norway).
“Stone Age Dreams” is produced by Kunstakademiet i Tromsø (Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing), UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet (The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway) in collaboration with Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter (The North Norwegian Art Centre).