In the Cold

by Travis Jeppesen on April 9, 2008

True North

Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin

Through April 13th, 2008



Ameland-Pier X by Elger Esser (C-Print, 2000): When you stand away from it, it looks like a white painting with a series of thin black lines bisecting it horizontally. When you move closer, you realize it is a photograph of the horizon itself, the lines being the remains of a pier jutting out into the icy nothingness.


Palindrome by Orit Raff (Video, 2001): This video riffs on Joseph Beuys’s I Like America and America Likes Me. A woman inside an igloo applies slabs of brown felt to the ground, while outside, a coyote hovers near the entrance. Near the end, a second coyote appears. The woman inside the igloo, meanwhile, continues her performance, stacking the slabs of felt on top of one another.


Glaspass by Thomas Fletchner (C-print, 2001): The artist goes on walks in cold cold places. He traces the topography of various snowfields with his skies, then uses long exposures to “freeze” the imprints. The most beautiful image in the show, one can readily lose oneself in the swirling lines on this snow-capped hill, which varies only slightly in color from the sky crowning it.


Ski Dome, Tokyo, Japan by Armin Linke (C-print, 1998): Like Esser’s, a painterly photo. The white of the slope and blue of the ceiling, the rainbow-colored lights, everything, all the lights and colors, down to the red and yellow suits of the people on the indoor slope, it all comes together to form an image that is simultaneously composed and open. A chaos that coheres.


Glaciers by Olafur Eliasson (photos, 1999): Pictures of glaciers. Probably the only boring thing I’ve ever seen Eliasson do.


Pi by Roni Horn (photos, 1997-1998): Arranged around a circle in a room. It is the Arctic circle. An old couple living in Iceland and their life together there. They watch a soap opera, Guiding Light. The light guides them through the day. A profound disconnection with reality, the movements until darkness. Nature does its thing, another episode, we are back to where we began.


Nut-ka- by Stan Douglas (video, 1996): The story of the colonization of Vancouver Island in Canada told through a barrage of literary texts read simultaneously, the camera molests the landscape.


So far far north. A land where there are no squirrels. You have to eat the ice in order to survive. Even when there are people, they are never far enough away from you.


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