Marita Isobel Solberg
Agálaš čuolbma / Valknute / Valknut
12.01.23 – 19.02.23
From the beginning of time, sitting around a fire has been a magical meeting place. Such gatherings, in which people could experience the power of narratives that could impact on the present and future, can be seen as the first performances.
Marita Isobel Solberg's exhibition Agálaš čuolbma/Valknute/Valknut in the Vindussalen explores an inner and outer fire, as well as how an exchange of energy takes place while we both become and are a part of everything and each other. Solberg has created an installation where the works each carry a fire that is expressed in different ways, together becoming an artistic bonfire. In the installation, which consists of several sculptures in ceramics and wood as well as large-scale paintings, there are traces of destruction, chaos, and death, but primarily a hope for new beginnings.
In this exhibition, Solberg refers to ceremonies, rituals, and symbols in Sami, Kven, and Nordic traditions, history, shamanism, and animism, particular to the valknut*, an ancient, magical symbol. Solberg’s performative practice tries to reach into an innermost core and create vibrations with ripple effects. With this as a background, the artist has channelled energy into the works, with the intention of shaping love, power, and protection. This is further linked to the mysteries of the universe, creative power, and to contemporary challenges.
During the opening on 12 January, Marita Isobel Solberg will present a new performance piece and invites you to a New Year's ceremony and purification ritual around the "fire", with new hopes for what is now and for the future.
The performance is inspired by the tradition of ođđabeaigállát/New Year's elves from Solberg's hometown of Olmmáivággi/Manndalen, where you make an ugly but beautiful mask and go in a parade with various ghosts and ghouls through the valley on New Year's Eve. At the end, the masks are thrown into a fire, burning the bad things that have been.
*A valknut is a symmetrical figure consisting of a continuous line with several loops that form an endless knot. The valknut is form known in cultures all over the world, and has, among other things, been a symbol of eternal love and protection against evil forces in Nordic cultures.
Marita Isobel Solberg (b. 1977, Tromsø) is a visual artist, musician, and composer with an education from Oslo National Academy of the Arts. She works with performance, ceramics, sound, and installation, and is involved in the music project MARAS. Solberg grew up in Olmmáivággi/Manndalen in North Troms and draws inspiration from her Northern Norway, Sea Sámi, Kven and Finnish roots. She has exhibited and performed at, among others, Nordland Musikkfestuke, Riddu Riđđu festival, Buktafestivalen, Barents Spektakel, Nordnorsk Art Center, Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš/Sami Center for Contemporary Art, and Tromsø Art Association, as well as internationally at, amongst others, Art Basel, Miami; Pittsburgh Performance Art Festival; MoCA, Taiwan; Nordic Art Week, Estonia; Ca'Pesaro, Venice; and Anchorage Museum, Alaska.