Large donation of monumental works from the New Carlsberg Foundation
With a large donation from the New Carlsberg Foundation, we can add 8 significant works to the collection of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands.
The works are by Edward Fuglø, Astri Luihn, Tita Vinther, Alda Mohr Eyðunardóttir, Brandur Patursson, Súsan í Jákupsstovu and Sigrun Gunnarsdóttir. They are all recent works which will enhance the museum’s collection and shed new light on it.
Current societal themes as tackled by art
The largest of the works – ‘Whale War’ – features 32,000 plastic soldiers, which together make up a life-size pilot whale, positioned on a plinth with yellow warning stripes. If you listen closely to the whale, you can hear eight different audio tracks, representing various attitudes and cultural perspectives. For example, we hear Faroese and foreign opponents and supporters of pilot whale hunting, a performance of whaling songs, and the sounds of a whale. In this remarkable work, Edward Fuglø creates a forum for discussion about the controversial killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, while enriching Faroese installation art with a unique idiom.
Sculptural textile works
‘Sails’ is undoubtedly a major work by Tita Vinther. The work consists of four sails. The two at the front have been fastened to the floor with rusty iron chains. Whereas sails are usually made of tightly-woven canvas so they can sail using the wind, Vinther’s sails are porous and far from tightly-woven. Vinther’s sails are made out of Faroese human hair. If you get close to the work, you can see how the hair has different colours and comes from many different people. Symbolically, rather than from the wind, the sail gains its impetus from the numerous individuals – Faroese people ‘in the same boat’ – who provided material for the work.
While Vinther is one of the earlier practitioners of Faroese textile art, Alda Mohr Eyðunardóttir is one of the newest representatives of the genre. Three basalt rocks secure a woven, floating shape. Eyðunardóttir departs from traditional weaving by deliberately not weaving with density and precision, and utilising materials such as steel wire and fishing line alongside wool, silk and linen. As a result of the different materials, the shimmering brownish colours and the changes in density, the work comes across as light, fragile and floating, yet with weight and a strong structure. The work can be interpreted as a porous, sculptural dam, which cannot curb the power of nature or emotion.
Faroese landscape in contemporary art
Astri Luihn’s fascinating, monumental works are inspired by the birds and mountains of the Faroe Islands. The abstract, lofty mountains look like waves or wings and the common murres resemble notes in a symphonic score. Luihn’s works challenge the viewer in terms of size and perspective, while the limited volume of the common murres on the surface of the canvas also reflect a critique of the decline in the population of these birds.
Conversely, in Brandur Patursson’s ‘Organic Landscape’, we see an organic rock formation immortalised in a glass sculpture. A video of kaleidoscopic fragments from the Faroese landscape is projected through the glass sculpture, investing the work with a sense of temporality. The work gives us the sense that the landscape is changing, collapsing or being distorted. Súsan í Jákupsstovu’s Faroese-wool, sculptural cairn also lends the landscape a different shape and material. The cairns were one of the first culturally-created marks on the Faroese landscape. Their purpose was to show people the way across the mountains. In her symbolic painting ‘The Mountain’, Sigrun Gunnarsdóttir also adds a cultural layer to the landscape. On the highest mountainside in the Faroe Islands, we glimpse a small church and a flower. In a strange way, the proportional contrast links Faroese nature to the Church and faith.
Visitors can already see six of the works in the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands. Do come and see them!
Photos: Leit / Finnur Justinussen, Fotostudio, Ole Wich, Gwenael Akira Helmsdal Carré.