Laura Gaiger

Common land

Åpner fredag 5. november kl. 18.00 – 20.30 i Visningsrommet USF.
Vises t.o.m. søndag 14. november 2021.
Åpningstider: Mandag – fredag kl. 12.00 – 18.00 (torsdag til kl 20.00).
Lørdag og søndag kl. 11.00 – 17.00.
Gratis adgang.

“The straight line of conventional narrative is too often an elevated freeway permitting no unplanned encounters or necessary detours. It is not how our thoughts travel, nor does it allow us to map the whole world rather than one streamlined trajectory across it.” – Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise

In densely populated oil paintings, alternative histories of the landscape are explored. In one painting there are ravers and pilgrims communing in ancient rites, in others underground cities of fungal growth and rhizomes, struggling bodies engaged in the fight for the commons, and lacerated hillsides predated on by picks and ploughs. These paintings are driven by a desire for new ways of representing the land, not as empty space, as the binary opposite of ourselves, but as being made by and maker of the people.

The image of the land has often been weaponised in service of nationalism, both in the UK and here in Norway. Images of the landscape are reflected back upon it as its ideal state, and the land itself begins to be shaped in the image of an idea, a perfect static nature that is wholly invented. Landscape doesn’t show its past easily.
How do you read a landscape? How do you look beyond the ideas of nature and wilderness to find the webs of humanness that go deep and far under the soil?

Staying in Leveld, a picture village, a kulturlandskap, in the early summer, I made myself a ridiculous tent. I painted it with motifs of abandoned farm equipment, old irrigation stuff and redundant ploughs. Hay bales painted in protest with unhappy faces. I took it to the woods and suspended it in the trees. It got sticky with pine sap and needles, and moths stuck to it. I slept in the woods for many nights, and as the weeks passed from May to June the flies changed and increased in number. I looked out for the day the mayflies would appear, but it wasn’t like back home. They didn’t appear all at once and drop dead the next day. It was slower here. Still, by late June, the river bend was choked with life and the forest was dense with insects and spiderwebs. It got so that the flies made me crazy.

The tent was supposed to make me feel more like a part of the landscape. To tease out my tangled thoughts about home and Norway and this village, and how we write our history on the land.

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Laura Gaiger makes paintings and installations to explore the image of the landscape and its role in politics and culture. She received a BA(Hons) in Painting and Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art in 2016, and a Masters in Fine Art from The University of Bergen in 2020. She has received several scholarships and exhibited in group shows across the UK, and in Spain, New York and Bergen.
Gaiger has worked at The University of Bergen as a Universitetslektor in the Painting department and is currently a Research Assistant. She works in several art education projects in Norway including Den Kulturell Skolesekken, and in late 2021 is working with
climate scientists from NORCE/Bjerknes Centre on an interdisciplinary project and exhibition at Grieghallen.

“Common Land” at USF Visningsrommet is her second solo exhibition since completing her Master in Fine Art.

The production of this exhibition is supported by Bergen Kommune and Kulturrådet.

Laura Gaiger website.