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PAST Exhibitions & EVENTS

The Landscapes of Katla Or Tight Squeeze Through a Birds-Eye View: A travelogue by Katla

Opening Reception:

Friday, June 2, 6-9pm

Show Runs:

June 2 – July 15

The Landscapes of Katla will reveal a fragment of the immense landscape that the eclectic enterprise known as Katla have explored during the past few years. The exhibition will tell tales of Katla’s discoveries, their fortunes and misfortunes and show a selection of objects from their archives.

The main focus of the show will be three video-screens. One slides through a large selection of objects from the Katla collection, treasures from the bottom of the sea or the top of the mountains, from strange islands discovered somewhere off the Norwegian coast, across the North Sea. The other two screens will show an intermingling video-program that tells of the circumstances under which these objects where procured. A selection of the items will also be present on display in the gallery space. These are mostly sculptural objects made from marine debris. A series of maps will help locate the objects and stories. They are new maps created by Katla in the wake of their voyages. The maps fill in blank spaces in the map series The International Map of the World, a project that began in 1913 to create a complete map of the world according to internationally agreed standards. It is wrongly believed the creation of these maps was discontinued in 1989.

The work is an installation where stories of discovery, landscapes and cultures, are revealed through the interconnection of the various elements on display. Melancholia, related to cultural decay, to environmental crisis or other apocalyptic threats, is strongly present. It is a travelogue along the borders of reality and fiction.

KATLA is a project run by the three artists Mathijs van Geest, Jonas Ib F H Jensen and Ånond Versto. Formed in 2010, it immediately evolved into a pyramidal corporative structure composed of many subdivisions with various purposes and agendas unified by an overall aesthetics and bureaucratic profile. Katla plays a game of identity, where actions and objects are 'justified' but also 'camouflaged' by their position within the mockup corporation, in much the same way that absurd objects or actions get justified within other social structures such as the army or the Norwegian social-democratic bureaucracy. The totality of Katla can be seen then as a sculpture, a painting, or a kind of literature, depicting or describing certain aspects of our strange existence amidst all these institutions in a world seemingly ravaged by almost apocalyptic crisis. Katla assumes a corporate body of its own, in order to break free and establish an independent position in this game of life.

Katla has displayed its efforts in major Norwegian institutions such as Bergen Kunsthall, Bomuldsfabrikken Kunsthall and Kristiansand Kunsthall, as well as in a range of smaller galleries and venues around Norway. This exhibition at Soo Visual Arts Center is Katla’s first manifestation in the US.

SooVAC is now in its second year of an artist exchange program with Telemark Art Center in Skien, Norway. Minnesota based artists Pao Her and Andrea Carlson have traveled and had exhibitions at Telemark Art Center. Norway-based artist Marilyn Owen has exhibited her work at SooVAC. This year we are sending artist Mohamud Mumin to Norway and Katla, is the Norwegian artist collaborative that will be exhibiting here as a part of this exchange.

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