Lofoten International Art Festival 2015
28 August–27 September 2015
Curators: Matt Packer and Arne Skaug Olsen
Titled Disappearing Acts, LIAF 2015 will take its thematic basis on ideas of human agency as repositioned by the disappearing processes of technology, ecology, and history. This approach is informed by the context of the Lofoten Islands, with its precarious economic-environmental dependency, its highly marketable “screensaver” scenery, and its cultural legacy of self-sufficiency and retreat from the antagonism of the urbanised world. Organised as a large-scale group exhibition, Disappearing Acts will feature 25-30 international artists, many commissioned especially for LIAF 2015. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a full public programme and publication. A complete artist list will be released during the opening days of the Venice Biennale, in May 2015.
“Jern & Bygg” premises in Svolvaer serves as the main venue for LIAF 2015. Jern & Bygg was a family-owned hardware store and furniture outlet that operated continuously from 1948 to 2010. The business developed through the decades and new sections were repeatedly added to the original building. When it closed in 2010, it had expanded to a scale of 3,500 square meters across several floors. The history of the premises runs parallel to the post-war history of Norway and Lofoten, from the expansive rebuilding after WWII, the rise of Social Democracy, the re-creation of Norway as a petro-state in the ’70s, the discontinuation of industrial production, monopolization of the fishing industry and subsequently the gentrification and touristification of the new millennium. The building is now the last example of pragmatic waterfront architecture in Svolvær. After LIAF 2015, the building will be demolished.
Matt Packer is a curator and writer, living and working in Derry (Northern Ireland). He is currently Director at Centre for Contemporary Art Derry-Londonderry. He has been Associate Director of Treignac Projet (France) since 2012 and was Curator of Exhibitions & Projects at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork (Ireland) from 2008 to 2013. He has curated numerous exhibitions in institutional and independent capacities including group exhibitions Magic Touch (CCA Derry~Londonderry, 2014) O Chair O Flesh (Treignac Projet, 2013), FWA: Freeing Welsh Architecture(Treignac Projet, 2012), School Days (Lewis Glucksman Gallery, 2011), When Flanders Failed (Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 2011), and Getting Even (Lewis Glucksman Gallery / Kunstverein Hannover, 2009). His writings have been published in magazines and journals including Kaleidoscope,frieze, Source Photographic Review, Concreta, Photography & Culture, and Camera Austria.
Arne Skaug Olsen is a curator and writer, living and working in Bergen (Norway). He was curator at Visningsrommet USF in Bergen (2008–11), and he was a founding co-editor of Ctrl+Z Publishing and founding member of Flaggfabrikken – centre for photography and visual art, both based in Bergen. Skaug Olsen currently teaches at the National Academies of Art in Oslo and in Bergen, and has previously worked at Nordland Vocational College of Art and Film in Lofoten, and Tromsø Art Academy among others. He has had a series of positions in Norwegian art life, most recently a board member of Young Artists Society (2012–14).
Photo: Matt Packer.