By the time the Lofoten Islands’ Jern & Bugg hardware store shut down in 2010, the building and its inhabitants had seen their fair share of Norway’s past century: post-war expansion, the decline in industrial production, the monopolisation of Norway’s fishing industry, and subsequently, the gentrification of the new millennium. Now, after five years of standing vacant, the building is set to be demolished.
It is in this expiring building in an archipelago in the Arctic Circle of Norway, the individual works of 24 international artists will be hosted until 27 September, in a group exhibition entitled Disappearing Acts. Disappearing Acts is centred around the idea of human agency dispersing through the processes of history, ecology, and technology. The Jern & Bugg hardware store, then, is a fitting location.
Last year’s LIAF brought some wildly differing works: a cliff-hanging, fire riddled grand piano, a giant wooden step-ladder and a small red boat, carrying only three white balloons, to the shores (and seas) of the Lofoten Islands. At this year’s festival, each artist will respond to the title Disappearing Acts.
Mercedes Mühleisen has created one of the most interesting — and fitting — works, forming ‘The Gnomic Puddle’. Clear plastic sheeting is wrapped so tightly into vertical columns that it forces the plastic to bend into giant spirals. Mühleisen pulls hundreds of these columns together, creating a choppy, almost foamy looking sea. The waves seem to rise and fall rapidly, and entrap you, in ecological annihilation, with no way of getting out or slipping away.
Steinar Haga Kristensen’s Section BB from architectural model is a miniature creation of a studio-like gallery space. Small, smudge-faced little people wonder pensively around the gallery space — one is dressed stylishly in a turtleneck jumper, one in an all white ensemble. Within the space, spiral staircases seem to show a disregard for gravity and practicality, and twisted, repeated portrait paintings float impossibly above on the second floor.
Also showing are: Arne Skaug Olsen, Jon Benjamin Tellerås, Sam Basu, Hedwig Houben and Eva Le Cour, amongst many others.
Disappearing Acts is showing at Lofoten Islands’ Jern & Bugg hardware store until 27 September.
All images courtesy LIAF Arts Festival