Carola Grahn (SWE), 6/2016

Carola Grahn, born in 1982, is of South Sámi descent. She grew up in Jokkmokk and received a master’s degree in fine arts from the Royal Institute of Art in Sweden in 2013.
Carola Grahn: My Name is Nature. 2016. Photo: Antti J.Leinonen

She lives and works in New York. In her work, Grahn combines text, photography, installations and sound into storytelling pieces. Intense emotions are often the point of departure in her praxis. Grahn studies social relationships and the relationship of man with nature in order to understand our given roles and the ways in which they relate to an individual’s self-image and influence society. Among other venues, her work has been exhibited at Art Edition 2014 at the Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul, South Korea in 2014, the Passagen Konsthall in Linköping, Sweden in 2015, and the gallery SP in Tromsø in 2015. She also published a novel, Lo & Professorn, in 2013.

Carola Grahn’s contribution to the Ii Biennale consisted of three wooden signs with short, hand-carved sentences, positioned in the Ii area in places where the text was a match to the landscape. The blunt statements brought to mind human relations. ”My name is Nature” responded to the human desire to connect with nature and be absorbed by the sublime. This work presented the idea of nature as a human-like subjective entity with consciousness and emotions. Nature was portrayed as a self-willed and unwilling lover who feels taken advantage of. As Grahn stated, perhaps this lover called Nature is not as  eager to connect to humans as our fantasy might suggest. Grahn’s work took the theme of the Biennale to the level of our civilisation as a whole. Her work could be seen as a comment on our modern society’s endless demand for resources. It also pointed to the discrepancies between our thoughts and our actions regarding nature. We invited Grahn to participate in the Biennale because of her earlier works, in which she studied the interrelationship of humans and nature. She represents a new generation of Sámi artists and works on a conceptual level, mixing traditions and different media.

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