IMMEMORIAL by SIF ITONA WESTERBERG at AROS [from 20211001 to 20220123]

[Photos: David Stjernholm]

New exhibition at ARoS showcases mythological sculptures dealing with the effects of increasing human impact on nature and the climate catastrophe looming on the horizon.

Sif Itona Westerberg (b.1985) graduated as a sculptor from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2014. ARoS now presents the largest exhibition to date of the young contemporary artist. Her works often draw references from the carved friezes of antiquity or the colourful iconography of the Middle Ages, from where she takes much of her inspiration.

Her sculptural works mimic a formal language found in historical marble sculpture, but they are executed in aerated concrete, a material primarily employed in the construction industry. The blending of industrial material with refined craftsmanship creates a unique contrast that is both sensitive and monumental.

– Sif Itona Westerberg leans on historical traditions in the way she chisels her sculptures. But because she uses a modern material, her art is never stale or stagnant. Instead, she creates a vibrant expression which manages to look both backwards and forwards in time, says Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator-in-charge, ARoS.

An exhibition in three acts  

The exhibition will be shown in the 420 m2 Focus Gallery on level 5 and is divided into three acts. The first act, House of Dionysus (I), features works that all relate to the Greek mythological figure Dionysus, god of wine and ecstasy. This series of sculptures includes House of Dionysus (I) and House of Dionysus (III), which became part of the museum’s collection earlier this year following a donation from the New Carlsberg Foundation.

The second act comprises an entirely new series of works, Sawn Song, exhibited for the first time at ARoS and based on the Greek myth of Phaeton. As the son of the sun god Helios, Phaeton tried to drive his father’s sun chariot with the result that he set fire to the sky. In this series of works Sif Itona Westerberg describes Phaeton’s accident as the first man-made climate disaster in history.

The third and final act of the exhibition consists of works from the Fountain series, which was shown at the exhibition venue Tranen in Hellerup in 2019. The works are based on hybrid creatures from the European Middle Ages combined with modern genetic-engineering technology. The technology makes it possible to cross species and mix tissue and DNA in ways that were previously only dreamed of. Here, too, Sif Itona Westerberg looks both backwards and forwards in time as she links the Middle Ages with modern science, thus exploring the potential of hybridisation.

– Sif Itona Westerberg tackles some of the great narratives that underpin our civilisation, combining them with contemporary and future concerns. Her work explores the issues of an age where the boundaries between technology, man and nature seem to be blurred, says Jakob Vengberg Sevel.

[Text: ARoS]

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