“The exhibition Metsä (Finnish “Forest”) opens on Friday, June 2, at 5 pm. It is arranged by the Murmansk Regional Art Museum, but takes place in the Murmansk Philharmonic Society at Murmansk, ulitsa S. Perovskoy 3. It consists of 40 large black & white photographs (10 from each country), and a book has been published with 60 photos, and text in English, Finnish, Russian and Sami.
I enclose two word docs of the foreword I wrote in the book, in Russian and English, if you would like to mention this on your website.
For pictures, please go to my website, and copy some images from http://perberntsen.com/_artwork/_pages/metsa1.php“
In July 2009 I was travelling by car from Kirkenes to Oslo. I had just finished an art project at the Sydvaranger iron mine. When a project is finished, I never think about what to do next – it will come to me in due time, or occasionally, I am commissioned to do a project, as was the case at Sydvaranger.
This time the new project came very quickly. After about four hours of driving, between Inari and Kittilä in Finland, I saw a landscape project emerging, for the first time in twelve years. I continued to Kolari and across the border to Sweden, to Pajala, Gällivare, and Jokkmokk, where I spent the night.
The drive took two and a half days, so there was plenty of time to think. It became clear to me that the project would have to include not only Finland and Sweden, but Norway and Russia as well – dealing with the landscape that connects the four countries – the Taiga. I defined the project area loosely as being north of the Arctic Circle, including only Pasvik in Norway, and the western part of the Kola peninsula in Russia.
The project area measures approximately 400 x 500 km, and is almost entirely within Sápmi – the Sami nation. It is sparsely populated, but has been Sami territory since before the four nations existed, and still is to a large extent today. The Finnish, Norwegian and Russian parts of the area were heavily affected during World War II, and several battles were fought here.
The project was eventually named Metsä – which is Finnish for forest. The name was chosen because there are Finnish speaking populations in the project area in Sweden and Norway, and Pechenga in Russia (Petsamo) was Finnish terri-tory between 1920 and 1944.
Although the idea for Metsä came quickly, the project took some time to materialize, and the field work was done during the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It was made possible by financial support from Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Norsk Fotografisk Fond, Arts Council Norway and the Norwegian Consulate General in Murmansk.
The exhibition and the book were made possible with support from
- Arts Council Norway
- Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond
- Norske Fagfotografers Fond
- Office for Contemporary Art Norway
More photos of gloomy crippled local forests at Per Berntsen’s site >>