Remote, beautiful – and increasingly endangered – the Arctic has long been a subject of fascination for many and a source of inspiration for artists. SALT is an ambitious concept to create arts and cultural experiences in the northernmost regions of our planet. It will invite world-famous artists to the Arctic Circle to create works which respond to the breathtaking landscapes, nature and history of the Arctic – while always aiming to treat the landscape with care and respect.
Launching in August, SALT’s first venture will be to bring Chinese artist Yang Fudong to the island of Sandhornøy in northern Norway , where mountain and ocean meet.
One of China’s best-known contemporary artists and filmmakers, Yang Fudong will produce an outdoor, site-specific film installation for the ever-changing landscape, in a fascinating synergy between his deeply Eastern aesthetic and the environment of the far North; his grand, slow and poetic cinematic language juxtaposed with the natural scenery of the Arctic island.
His films are mostly black and white, plotless and fragmented, but at the same time hypnotic and epic. Silence is an important part of his work, inspired by an Eastern tradition where meaning cannot be spoken but is understood by the heart. “I think about how to tell a narrative by using not people speaking so much, but how the wind tells a narrative, or how trees tell a narrative”, he says.
SALT’s programme starts out in Norway, but will spend the next few years travelling across the global North, making stops in Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Scotland, Spitsbergen, and Alaska. It will present a continuous arts diary, from site-specific art installations to fireside storytelling, readings, lectures, conferences and debates. It will include classical and contemporary music, club nights, gigs, theatre and experimental performances.
The SALT concept stems from the success of the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), a festival for contemporary art that has taken place every second year since 1999 in the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle, and is the brainchild of curator Helga-Marie Nordby and cultural entrepreneur Erlend Mogård-Larsen, who curated LIAF 2010 on the small island of Kuba.
Yang Fuong, SALT, 29 August 2014 – 1 September 2015, Sandhornøya, Bodø, Northern Norway, Arctic Circle, www.salted.no .
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1. Yang Fudong, Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part 4, (2007). Deutsche Bank Collection. © Yang Fudong Courtesy Yang Fudong and ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai