Iluliaq: a monumental work by Greenlandic artist Inuk Silis Høegh
As part of SAKAHÀN: International Indigenous Art
At the National Gallery of Canada Until September 2, 2013
OTTAWA, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - A massive iceberg has engulfed the Great
Hall of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). The monumental art work,
a vibrant contrast to the heat of the summer, was created by
Greenlandic artist Inuk Silis Høegh. Entitled Iluliaq [Iceberg], the site-specific installation is part of the NGC's major summer
exhibition Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, the largest-ever global survey of contemporary Indigenous art. For
more information, visit gallery.ca/sakahan.
As visitors approach Iluliaq, they hear the soundscape of cracking and rumbling ice, almost as though
they were standing in the path of an actual iceberg. Playing up the
effects of trompe-l'oeil, Inuk Silis Høegh did not simply work with a reproduction of an ice
formation. Instead, he created an iceberg of his own imagination out of
composite images from photographs taken by his father, renowned
photographer Ivars Silis. As Høegh explains, "it is a sort of perverse
pleasure for me to construct my own iceberg, even if Iluliaq is only illusion and mimicked reality. If you look closer, you might
question its credibility. Is that formation really possible? Does
gravity allow that protrusion? Would nature really behave this way?
Maybe it would, because fortunately the world is vivid and reality
exceeds my imagination. So why didn't I just print an unmanipulated photograph of an ice
formation - why did I need to sculpt my image? Is it man's desire to
control nature, to break it up in bits and put it back together? Or
maybe it just comforts me that the ice is wild and that it threatens us
with its fragility?... Overwhelmed with the realization that I can
never grasp the world, I try to construct my own illusion of it. Copy
pasting, and repeating the conceptions that I think I know."
In addition to exploring the duality of reality and fantasy, the artist
encourages us to think about the human relationship with our shared
environment. Climate change and the resulting glacial melt inspired Iluliaq which relates to earlier projects such as the artist created in
Copenhagen at the North Atlantic House during the United Nations
Climate Change Conference (COP15) in 2009. The rapidly melting polar
ice cap is a global concern, and the fragility of the North's majestic
icebergs elicits a protective sympathy, yet in scale and force these
ice formations emanate a power that equally can inspire awe and fear. Iluliaq offers visitors a sublime experience even as they are invited to
consider whether the iceberg is threatened or threatening.
Constructing Iluliaq [Iceberg]
Made from 56 panels, each ranging from 4.6 to 6 metres wide and 18 to 21
metres tall, the installation completely covers the windows of the
Gallery's Great Hall and took over ten working days to set up. Its
total surface area is 4,645.15 square metres.
Melting Iluliaq [Iceberg]
As the Great Hall window replacement project moves forward, Iluliaq will gradually "melt" along with it, beginning at the end of June and
completely disappearing in December 2013.
About the artist
Based in Nuuk, Greenland, Inuk Silis Høegh was born 1972 in Qaqortoq,
Greenland. He received the Niels Wessel Bagges Grant in 2005 and graduated from the Royal Danish Art Academy in 2010, but had already established himself as an artist and filmmaker in Greenland and Denmark.
In his art Inuk Silis Høegh is often resampling common conceptions and materials in a tongue-in-cheek tone, commenting on feelings of alienation and powerlessness. His art work has been shown in Greenland, Denmark, France, Iceland, Finland, Latvia and Germany and his short films and documentaries on TV and at festivals all around the globe.
Sakahàn is co-curated by Greg Hill, the NGC's Audain Curator of Indigenous Art;
Christine Lalonde, Associate Curator of Indigenous Art; and Candice
Hopkins, Elizabeth Simonfay Guest Curator, with the support of an
international team of curatorial advisors: Jolene Rickard, Yuh-Yao Wan,
Irene Snarby, Arpana Caur, Lee-Ann Martin, Brenda Croft, Megan
Tamati-Quennell, and Reiko Saito.
An extensive selection of public activities will accompany Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art: symposium, mini-talks, adult art tours, film series, learning lounge
and the Artissimo kiosk for families. For more details, consult the events list or call 613.998.8888 or 1.888.541.8888.
Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art — the catalogue
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue that
features essays on recent developments in the field of contemporary
Indigenous art by curators Greg Hill, Christine Lalonde and Candice
Hopkins, as well as members of the advisory committee and invited
authors. Published by the NGC, the 288-page catalogue is available for
$39.95 at the NGC Bookstore and online at www.ShopNGC.ca as of May 17, 2013.
The NGC thanks its exhibition sponsors and supporting partners
The National Gallery of Canada would like to extend a special thank-you
to the RBC Foundation for its generous support of the exhibition and to CN for its sponsorship. The NGC would also like to acknowledge First Air for its in-kind support of this exhibition and the Embassy of Mexico for its support and collaboration.
NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada's online magazine is a frequently
updated source of information on the Canadian art world and the
goings-on at the National Gallery of Canada. Correspondents from
across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical
and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine includes exclusive
interviews with artists. This month, read stories and view artists
interviews related to the exhibition.
Connect with Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art
The NGC regularly publishes information about the exhibition on its
social media networks. To find out more, connect with:
Admission to Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art
Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and until 8 pm on Thursdays. Free with
general admission to the NGC Collection: $12 for adults, $10 for
seniors and students, $6 for youths aged 12-19, and $24 for families (2
adults and 3 youths). Free admission at all times for NGC Members and
children under 12. Free admission Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm, and on
Sunday, May 19 (International Museum Day); Sunday, June 2 (National
Indigenous Day); and Monday, July 1 (Canada Day). For more information,
call 613.998.8888 or 1.888.541.8888.
Galleries and institutions are also partnering with the Gallery to
present exciting installations and exhibitions alongside Sakahàn: Aboriginal Art Centre, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Canada, Art Gallery of Windsor, Asinabka Film and Media Festival,
AXENÉO7, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carleton University Art
Gallery, Gallery 101, National Arts Centre, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa
School of Art, SAW Gallery, SAW Video Media Art Centre, and Urban
Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art. For more information, visit their
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections
of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains
Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st
century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous
Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and
photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played
a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its
principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for
all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art
exhibition programme. For more information: www.gallery.ca
SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada
For further information:
For media only:
An image of the installation and its credit lines are available in the Gallery's Media Centre. For more information, please contact:
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada