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Britta Marakatt-Labba (SE) | Hilde Hauan Johnsen (NO) | Kiyoshi Yamamoto (BT/JP) | Marie Skeie (NO)

06.11.2020 - 21.02.2021 [Exhibition ended 07.02.2021 due to Covid-19 government restrictions]

Curated by Malin Barth

“What is light, color, and pattern?” How is it experienced, explored, and exploited? The scientist is interested in the physical properties of light, color, and pattern, the artist in an aesthetic and political appreciation of the visual world. Through the sense of sight is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. Light from the Sun warms the Earth, drives global weather patterns, and initiates the life-sustaining process of photosynthesis. On the grandest scale, light’s interactions with matter have helped shape the structure of our existence. Indeed, light, color, and patterns provide a window on the universe, from cosmological to atomic scales, or identity and our geopolitical dramas.

The title of the exhibition, Ruškkodit, is Sami. Ruški means the time when nature changes color from summer to autumn and the verb Ruškkodit describes the process of fading color. The colors change from green to yellow then red and to brown. The days get shorter and the temperature drops. Signal is sent out to withdraw the colors to the stem and roots and get ready for low light and a lot of cold. The works in this exhibition give and take color between people and nature. They store colors, stories, and knowledge in the interior of the fiber.

- Britta Marakatt-Labba exhibits the five images: Cosmos, Seasons, Shadows, Circle, and Drill Holes I; - Hilde Hauan Johnsen presents the large scale works Color Prism from Nature I - Norway/Russia & Palestine/Israel; Color Prism from Nature II - The Blurred Border between Land and Sea; as well as the video work Ripples over Bare Toes; - Kiyoshi Yamamoto features the large scale installation Can a Tent Be a Poem?; - Marie Skeie will introduce Hypericum, and Notes from unsettled fields – our ruins lie ahead, behind is the willows.

The exhibition Ruškkodit has an extended side program called ‘Absent Presence’ curated by Motaz al Habbash.
Program >>>


-    Cosmos
-    Seasons
-    Shadows
-    Circle
-    Drill Holes I

The northern landscape comes alive in all its magical power during the evening hours under the Sami sky, felt in the knight falls, the moon glows, and in the wind blows. Just look up, we are all under the same sky. When the sun has left us in a blink, sometimes it gets too dark to even think, but in the morning the day yet again becomes new.

Britta Marakatt-Labba´s work is based on observations, imagination, memories, and emotions. The stars appear in a burst of yellow against a night in blackened blue. What causes us to see the violet sky? In the end, getting those purple hues is about having just the right conditions happen at the right time.

In silence, we notice the peace, authenticity, timelessness, and, at the same time, can sense unsettling undercurrents unfolding under the vaulting northern sky. Trailing lights on a late summer evening produce long shadows, the play of the shadows growing even darker and larger as the seasons change, turning them into obstacles of imminent danger. The work holds abstract forms and figurative landscapes together, producing images packed with a multitude of emotional layers and narrative possibilities. Marakatt-Labba’s engagement with space, culture, and a landscape she both reveres and interprets, is an invitation to re-imagine how we observe and interact with the world around us.


In this exhibition two artworks, Color Prism from NATURE 1: Norway/Russia & Palestine/Israel and Color Prism from NATURE 2: The Blurred Border between Land and Sea have been merged to one large installation at Kunsthall 3,14.

Hauan Johnsen focus on combining two units of measurements: One around her private property boundaries and the second on borderlines of greater geo-political interest. She does this through sampling and recording of plants such as Marsh Labrador, Common Tansy, Rock Lichen and Red Dulsealong the furthest north in Passvik along the Grense Jakobselv by the Norwegian-Russian, and along the Palestinian border to Israel she collected blue flowers from Lupines, leaves from Almond trees, Sage, Rosemary and Sunflowers.

While driving one night from Ben Gurion airport to Ramallah listening to hope and despair from a taxi driver she wondered if new borders could ever be redrawn?
When in the border region of the north, she often reflects about the Norwegian border situation with Russia. Scare-scenarios between the two countries are also escalating event thought we all know that people, trade, art and culture has for centuries been crossing this border fairly freely.

In her work even a small plant is a history. Hauan Johnsen work with the collection of the plants for natural fabric dyeing, and her interest lie in the plant´s life of a particular region and its habitat as well as what color it present. In many plants the sight of reddish pigments is transient, as in autumn leaves. In other species, red pigments may be present throughout the life of the plant, or be made only after the plant has experienced different form of stress. In the old potato field, she has planted Dyer´s Woad and Peppermint, plants known to contain plenty of color. She registers if the plants return and in what quantity. One summer she noticed Sea Rush unknown to her while the Red Dulse was gone.

Hauan Johnsen is contemplating whether the same plants will be here in five to ten years? If new borders will be drawn? Will climate change affect the plants? Whether once accessible plants to her will still be available for her to pick?

The Eternity of the Prickly Pear, 2020

Life is patterns, and behaviour consists of patterns in time. What persist over time is not a fixed but merely a pattern in flux. We are wired to see patterns around us. Fractals are maybe the most sophisticated, but still quite simple patterns that are repeated to create a larger pattern. When you look closely at the bigger pattern, you can still discover the smaller one. The building block at the heart of the chaos. Fractals don´t exist only in the physical realm of nature. This is one way that we make sense of the world. Patterns help us put things into context. All life is comprised of patterns, including human behaviour.

Humans often repeat the same pattern over and over until we finally reach a point where we are compelled to change.

The keffiyeh - or “desert scarf” with its repetitive pattern and set colors has a fascinating history dating back to Sumerian and Babylonian times. It has held many different meanings and uses over time depending on location and appropriating cultures. The peasants wore it while they were working the land to protect them from the sun, and sand, as well to wipe the faces from sweat, and in the winter to shield them from the cold. Today the Keffiyeh textile is standing strong as a symbol of resistance and solidarity. This political symbolism became infused in the pattern first during the Arab Revolt back in the 1930s. It has in many ways been associated Palestinian quest for self-determination, and it has for several decades been worn by those wishing to express solidarity.

The Keffiyeh is linked to cultures and histories, and Kiyoshi has for the last 12 years worked closely with the Hirbawi factory in Hebron and the very people whose culture it represents.

Kiyoshi´s work The Eternity of the Prickly Pear is installed to accommodate dialog, and the Keffiyeh can also be education and a conversation starter.

> Interview:

Kiyoshi Yamamoto in conversation with Johnny Herbert >>>

Notes from unsettled fields
  - our ruins lie ahead, behind is the willows

Plants, water, silk, wool and stones. Time, light and heat. Color that dissolves and is captured. The choice between the silkworm and the cocoon. Long fibers that have grown through wind and burning sun. The stone that builds and divides. The random journey of water. Growths from contested soil.

Marie Skeie is presenting an installation with plants, water, silk, wool, stone and glass. A slow process takes place in the jars where dye from the plants dissolves in the water aided by time, light and heat. The fibers from wool and silk further absorb the color from the water over time. The plants inside the glass containers come from the West Bank, Palestine and Finnmark, Norway and are sealed with stones from Norway’s border with Russia and Finland and from the coastal shore of Norway.

The title of the work is inspired by a poem Hoopoe taken from the poetry collection 'Unfortunately, it was paradise' by Mahmoud Darwish. A poem dealing with the need to leaving one´s homeland. Skeie relates it to the landscape and our surroundings, what lies ahead of us and what do we leave behind on our journey forward in time?

An installation with fiber and glass. Sand grains and straw. The fragile and the resilient. Glass spheres are enclosed in twisted slings. The fragile in defencelessness. Willingness to defend and protect.

The Hypericum installation consists of glass spheres cradeled in slings. The glass is hand-blown in Hebron, Palestine where the craft goes back more than 500 years. The slings are colored with hypericin, a dye found in St. John’s wort, which is currently used as an antidepressant. In earlier times it was used for protection. Central to the work are the vulnerable, the need for protection and the experience of being powerless.

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