February 6 - April 3 2016
IC-98 TIDES OF TIME
February 6 - April 3 2016
Opening the exhibition season of 2016, Röda Sten Konsthall is delighted to present Tides of Time by the Finnish artist group IC-98 consisting of Visa Suonpää and Patrik Söderlund. Tides of Time represents IC98’s largest exhibition in Sweden to date and comprises of video installations, original drawings and publications. Their collective works witness and record the complex and multi-layered relationships between humans, history, myths and nature, ultimately questioning humanity’s understanding of the passage of time and their place and existence in the history of geological evolution. Combining elaborately detailed pencil drawings with greyscaled digital animation, IC-98 have for more than a decade built up an expansive and rich visual universe depicting the world after the era of humankind. Characterized by strange and dark hybrids of abandoned landscapes, their intensely abstracted imagery weaves myriad bridges between the material and mythical, the individual and the collective, nature and culture. Shaped by these interlaced forces and realms, their works stand out as equally meditative, mesmerizing and haunting. IC-98’s work is strongly rooted in humanity’s presence on Earth, investigating body politic, social formations, architectural constructions and changing ecologies. Nevertheless humans never seem to appear in their works. Only remnants of human actions occasionally surface, like the decay of a previous inhabited building, or a floating raft suggesting human life was once here. In using symbolic rather than descriptive narratives, IC-98 unfolds an open dialogue between human and geological existence, while balancing emotional states of awe and fear, dystopia and melancholia. For Tides of Time, the galleries of Röda Sten Konsthall have been transformed into an animated world of large-scale and slow-moving installations featuring a selection of IC-98’s most celebrated animation
“Contemporary artists have an important and evolving role to play in exploring what it means to be alive in the age of human influence – the Anthropocene. IC-98 addresses the Anthropocene as a core condition in their artistic practice. Through their powerful visual imagery, they lure us into a total confrontation with the grand existential questions lingering with both dystopic and hopeful undertones: Who are we as humans, what have we created and what is next?” Aukje Lepoutre Ravn, curator
IC-98 drawings and publications in the project room. Photo Hendrik Zeitler
works accompanied by a selection of original drawings and the artists’ self-published books. Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) depicts an old, towering tree creaking ominously in the dark forest – a work which IC98 represented Finland with at the 56th Venice Biennial in 2015. Arkhipelagos (Navigating the Tides of Time) - from which the exhibition also takes its title – displays a 9 meters wide horizontal view that depicts a group of free-floating rafts struggling amidst all-encompassing waves. The more urbanely illustrated A View from the Other Side time-loops a 19th century portico in Turku as the seasons and centuries change around it. On display for the first time is IC-98’s newly produced piece Nekropolis, developed in collaboration with animator Markus Lepistö and Juan Duarte Regino with music composed by the Finnish drone band SINK. In Nekopolis, a giant moving cloud lingers over a rustic mountain landscape, in anticipating suspense. Something is about to happen – or maybe it already did? All works in the exhibition are either accompanied by a deep-bass, dramatic sound score or utter silence. As the title Tides of Time suggests, an overlying theme in the exhibition is the overarching phenomenon of the passing of time. In IC-98’s realm, the sense of time is stretched, combined and elongated, transcending our normal understanding and experience of time, becoming a part of a larger geological story – also known as “deep time”. Rather than an ever linear series of events, time becomes a looping sequence of places that repeat themselves into infinity. Despite the complexity involved in the technical production, the works stand out as slow, elegant and unaggressive in their sheer simplicity. Through these images IC-98 succeeds in addressing the disturbing reality of the Anthropocene, while leaving out any moralizing overtones. Instead they offer the viewer a space for profound reflection.
IC-98 (originally Iconoclast, founded in 1998) is an artist duo comprising Visa Suonpää (b. 1968) and Patrik Söderlund (b. 1974). IC98 projects combine research, text, installation, drawing and animation, rooting their investigations into issues of body politic, social formations, architectural constructions, disappearing ecologies and the presence of human and natural history in everyday life. IC-98 has exhibited extensively internationally. They represented Finland at the Venice Art Biennale 2015 and in January 2016 they showed their work Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) at the Sundance Film Festival in the category New Frontier Short Films. Their recent solo exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2015), Helsinki Art Museum, Finland (2015), Conde Duque Madrid, Spain (2014), Beaconsfield, London, UK (2014) and Turku Art Museum, Finland (2013). Their works have been presented in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany (2014), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2014), Quartair, Netherlands (2014), Moonshin Museum, South Korea (2014), Kiasma, Helsinki (2014), MAMba, Argentina (2012). IC-98 has also had solo art fair presentations at Moving the Image Art Fair, New York (2015), ARCOmadrid (2014), Volta, New York (2013) and Volta, Basel (2012). Works by IC-98 are found in numerous private and public collections in the Nordic countries. IC-98’s prize-winning self-publishing initiative, Iconoclast Publications, has brought out 16 publications to date. IC-98
NEKROPOLIS 2016 Single-channel digital HD animation 16 min, seamless loop, quadrophonic sound
Resembling the site of a romantic Caspar David Friedrich mountain landscape, the monumental installation Nekropolis portrays the animated image of a large dark cloud hovering above an archetypical landscape, the valley of the dead. Accompanied by circling flocks of swallow birds, the cloud grows larger and larger until it appears to engulf everything. The birds become representatives of the future inhabitants of the world without humans, a regenerated species of life. A dark and dramatic soundscape, composed by the Finnish drone-band SINK, matches the cloud body, as if hearing its ever-deeper breathing emphasizing an apocalyptic feel of “the ruins of civilization”. Nekropolis is loosely based on the British art critic John Ruskin’s lecture “The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century” (1884), in which Ruskin describes in metaphors the intensifying smog caused by the Industrial Revolution in London. The lecture implies a prediction of the devastating repercussions on the environment caused by the industrial acceleration. As a culmination of IC-98’s decadelong thread of work Nekropolis is an investigation into humanity’s influence on nature and time, and vice versa; time’s influence on humans and nature.
A VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE 2011 Single-channel digital HD animation 70 min, loop, stereo sound
To the sound of gloomy organ music, A View from the Other Side manifests a poetic and historical narrative about the relationship between architecture and politics. The site-specific animation depicts a long history of an iconic neo-classical building in IC-98’s hometown of Turku, Finland built by architect Gyllich in 1836 and inspired by the then fashionable model of Stoa Poikile of ancient Athens. In this slow-burn, meticulously drawn animation the cinematic ghost image of the Gyllich Stoa – a building that has served as fish-market, bazaar, restaurant and petrol station in its time before being left to decay for twenty years – slowly transmutes and deteriorates as hours pass, seasons change and centuries follow each other, ultimately letting nature regain lost territory. From the static, frontal perspective view of the colonnaded façade, seen from the other side of the river, we follow the sliding changes generated by the hands of man, while mankind’s presence is only visible through imprints on the environment. A View from the Other Side meditates on public space, immigration and neo-liberal city policies, but simultaneously illustrates the somewhat organic dynamics of civilization, market economy and nature.
ARKHIPELAGOS (NAVIGATING THE TIDES OF TIME) 2013 Three-channel digital HD animation 20 min, seamless loop, silent
Arkhipelagos (Navigating the Tides of Time) is a sequel to A View from the Other Side, connected by the element of moving water. Here we are faced with the aftermath of a possible future catastrophe. A group of free-floating, half-sunken, wooden rafts are bobbing up and down in an undulating sea, exposing only their ragged masts. The rafts seem to gravitate towards each other creating temporary groupings, only to be parted again - carried away by the winds and currents. The motif of the work references the iconic, historic painting The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19) by the French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault. The painting depicts the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse (1816) where all but fifteen died in the thirtheen days before their rescue. Those who survived endured starvation, dehydration and practiced cannibalism. As no signs of humans appear, the viewer is forced to imagine the proceeding catastrophic event. If any survivors remain, they would be left to navigate in a place with no geographical reference points. Here, only time and weather reign. Without geographical coordinates, the only means of locating oneself is to navigate by the stars, the infinite cosmos beyond earth. These moving images of natural forces draw our attention to current social, economical and environmental concerns. The changing seasons and divergent weather patterns dramatically imply the eternal inevitability of the passage of time. Within this realization, a promise of a new beginning is simultaneously spurred.
ABENDLAND (HOURS, YEARS, AEONS) 2015 Single channel HD animation 43 min, seamless loop, stereo sound
In a twilight world long after the age of man, a twisted ecosystem centered on an overgrown fruit tree undergoes parasitic and geological transformations as hours, years and aeons pass. In a slowly changing view Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) unfolds in an endless night. A giant, old and lone tree stands on marshy and misty ground. To the disturbing sounds of snapping branches and groaning tree trunks, the video depicts the tree slowly transitioning into a fading network of branches, both overground and underground. Then finally, into the still blackness of a starry night. Confronted with an empty space amidst the depth of the forest, the tree—an ancient living organism— becomes a powerful representation of the distinct absence of lost life and energy. The tree is left standing alone to spin threads of the past into a distant future. Realized in IC-98’s signature combination of pencil drawing and subtle digital effects, Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) is a poetic meditation on the Anthropocene. It’s a work about the containment of ecological disasters in general, and references repositories for spent nuclear fuel (in particular the case of Onkalo at Olkiluoto, Finland). In this post-human era, Abendland (Hours, Years, Aeons) peers into the future with a “deep time” perspective and guides its viewers into another plane of temporality. Deep time begins to resonate through fleeting cycles of life, and space appears as infinite dark matter.
Throughout 2016 Röda Sten Konsthall will dedicate its exhibition program to interrogating the concept of the Anthropocene. Through a series of exhibitions, seminars and programming events, Röda Sten Konsthall will create a multi-disciplinary platform that from an artistic and aesthetic perspective explores mankind’s relationship with planet Earth within its vast geological history. We live in a time period where it has become obvious that human activity has changed the planet to such an extent that we are now living in a new geological era, The Anthropocene. The term is formed by combining the Greek word ’anthropos’, meaning human, to the suffix ’cene’, meaning new or recent. According to scientists, humanity has altered the planet to such an extent, that future geologists will be able to trace the human imprint of today’s society in glaciers, rocks and sediment. It is argued that the Anthropocene began at the same time as the Industrial Revolution. The exponential use of fossil fuels, increased population, urbanization, carbon dioxide, methane gas and the atomic bomb have led to today’s changing natural conditions. As a direct result, we can now see a systematic degradation of natural environments and ecological systems. The sea, land, coastal zones, forests and atmosphere have all been dramatically affected, causing a sharp reduction of biological species, animals and plants. Thus, the Anthropocene is a testament to mankind’s central role in shaping the world today. Although the term Anthropocene is taken from the geological sciences, contemporary art has in parallel embraced the same questions. Art, philosophy, and popular culture have for decades challenged the relationship between man and machine, nature and culture, past and future.
The Anthropocene is here, but what does it mean to exist in an epoch dominated by humans? How can we change our environments, landscapes, cities and communities in the face of this ecological crisis? Have we made the Earth a better or worse place for us to live? And what role can contemporary art play in the course of learning from the Anthropocene? Tides of Time by Finnish artist duo IC-98 will be the first exhibition featured in this program on The Anthropocene.
EXHIBITION PROGRAM EXHIBITION OPENING Saturday, 6nd February, 12–5pm. Welcome Speeches and Artist Talk will be held in English. 1:00pm Welcome Speeches 1:15pm SINK Concert 2:30pm Artist Talk IC-98, SINK & Aukje Lepoutre Ravn in conversation The Finnish band SINK is described as a mix between ambient and drone. They are experimental, combining unexpected classical elements into their otherwise hard music. The band has worked together with IC-98 to create the sound element for the newly produced work, Nekropolis, presented in this exhibition. During the opening, SINK will perform live in the Cathedral.
”ARE WE LIVING IN THE ANTHROPOCENE?” Talk by Mark Johnson Wednesday 10th February, 6-7pm. The lecuture is held in Swedish. Free entry. This talk will introduce the conceptof the Anthropocene. Geologist Mark Johnson will speak about the word’s history and meaning, the philosophy around the term and how mankind has had such a significant impact on our planet that the remains of humanity will now and forever will be present in the makeup of the Earth’s sediment. The lecture will begin with Curator Aukje Lepoutre Ravn introducing both the current exhibition, Tides of Time, and the programming to look forward to during the forthcoming year at Röda Sten Konsthall. Mark Johnson is a geologist and head of the Department of Earth Sciences, at the University of Gothenburg, where he also teaches. His research interests are glaciers, specifically their landscape forms and soil types. In recent years, he studied a great deal in Iceland, where the melting glaciers are revealing a new landscape. He has also worked with stratigraphic terminology (such as Anthropocene) in Sweden and in the US.
February 6th - Concert: SINK
CURATOR’S TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION Wednesday 17th February 6-7.30pm The tour will be held in Swedish. Free entry Röda Sten Konsthall’s Curator Aukje Lepoutre Ravn, will give a tour of Tides of Time. Listen to her directly explain the artists’ ideas around each work, while also delving into their artistic techniques and thematic concepts. ”NEW WORLDS: CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE ANTHROPOCENE” Talk by Anna-Maria Hällgren Wednesday 2nd March, 6-7pm. The lecuture is held in Swedish. We live in a new geologic time. During the age of mankind, we have seen the world around us change. Human actions and way of live characterizes how the world appears and functions. While politicians and environmental experts discuss and debate possibilities for a sustainable future, there are many contemporary artists that are working on understanding and exploring this new era. There are, of course, the self-critical and selfexamining artists; those who create dystopian work in the form of apocalyptic visions of the future. However, there are also innovative and hopeful outlooks. What is the
roll that contemporary art can fill in the age of mankind? Does contemporary art only reflect upon and reaffirm what we already know? Or can artwork help us, in fact, think in new ways – about ourselves, both as individuals and as a part of a collective; about the often taken for granted distinction between nature and culture, between the environment and human? Anna-Maria Hällgren works as an art historian at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics, University of Stockholm. She defended her thesis Behold all the World’s Wretchedness: Visual Education and Reformism in 1800s Sweden (Gidlunds 2013) and devotes herself today to both research and teaching.
Talk: Anna-Maria Hällgren. Photo MIchelle Boynton
WEDNESDAY AFTER WORK BAR Every Wednesday from 5-7pm. Free entry. Come and enjoy free entry to our current exhibition and Röda Sten Restaurant and Bar will also be open! Soup and homebaked bread will be available to purchase from the restaurant. The restaurant is open during all evening programing at Röda Sten Konsthall.
Workshop: Natural Horror Movies Photo Linnea Thorén
WORKSHOP: NATURAL HORROR MOVIES Wednesday 9th March, 6-7.30pm. The workshop is held in Swedish and English. Free entry. In the genre Natural Horror Movies man is beaten and defeated by nature and its animals – as revenge for mans’ polluting and destroying the environment. During one night at we will take inspiration from the genre and 1970’s movies such as Frogs, Empire of the Ants and The Food of the Gods. We will create our own polluted landscapes, and make short animated films where nature strikes back. For all ages!
OPEN EXHIBITION TOURS Every Saturday at 5pm. The tours will be held in Swedish. Included in the admission. Come and join us for exhibition tours of the current exhibition and hear more about the artist duo IC98 and the artworks exhibited in Tides of Time. Open to all ages. SATURDAY WORKSHOPS Saturday 5th March, 12pm–3:30pm Saturday 19th March, 12pm–3:30pm The workshops are held in Swedish and English. Free entry. Open workshop for families with children from three-years-old and up! We will start with a mini-viewing of the exhibition at 12 noon and then continue with a creative workshop where children and adults can work together.
YOUNG & CREATIVE Wednesdays & Weekends The program are held in Swedish and English. Free entry. Röda Sten Konsthall’s youth program Young & Creative offers open activities every Wednesday evening and weekend with both workshops and the freedom to work on projects of your own creation. Young & Creative is free and open for all between the ages of 12 and 26. You can find more information on www.rodastenkonsthall.se Spring break course. Photo Linnea Thorén
Winter break course with artist Otto Mogren
WINTER BREAK COURSE IN ANIMATION Tuesday 16th February – Thursday 18th Feberuary, 1pm-5pm. The course is held in Swedish and English. Free entry. Three-day course with artist Otto Mogren, for those between 12-19-years-old! Create moving images and animations through stop motion technology.
SPRING BREAK COURSE IN GRAFFITI Tuesday 29th March–Thursday 31st March, 1pm-5pm. The course is held in Swedish and English. Free entry. Three-day course for those between 12-19-years-old! Learn graffiti basics through creating letters, sketching and painting large scale.
The exhibition is kindly supported by
Published by Röda Sten Konsthall 2016 Exhibition curated by Aukje Lepoutre Ravn Texts by Aukje Lepoutre Ravn, Emelie Storm & Michelle Boynton Graphic design by Linnea Thorén
IC-98 - Tides of Time Röda Sten Konsthall 6.2 - 3.4 2016