THE BROKEN GREENHOUSE
In recent years, Bigert & Bergström have carried out a series of exhibitions where they mixed new and older works in a kind of “remixhibitions”. The Climate Experiment at Dunkers Kulturhus 2018, the The Climate Fix at Uddevalla Konsthall 2018 and The Hurricane Party at Norrtälje Konsthall 2020, to name a few examples. For Skellefteå Konsthall the artists have chosen to work further with this strategy of juxtaposing older projects and documentation with new projects and building a story around this new constellation. The exhibition brings together a group of works that, in different ways, all problematise the greenhouse as a paradisiacal space where man, through climate control, strives to create a perfect place for budding vegetation and life.
The title The Broken Greenhouse also alludes to a contemporary sense of brokenness – that we are standing on a floor full of stones thrown by history through our glass ceiling. The idea of a perfect climate created by man, and for man, is broken and the greenhouse gas genie is out of the bottle.
In the first room of the exhibition a large smashed black sphere is hanging from the ceiling. On the floor are shards and fragments of it with desiccated clay inside. The title of this new work – Geode (Wrecked Wrecking Ball), 2023 – brings images of demolished buildings as well as crystal gems to mind. The work is an up-cycled version of an earlier piece by Bigert & Bergström (The Problem, 2012), which now has been cracked open to reveal its innards, a lifeless desert.
In the second exhibition room, the audience can sit down on large tree trunks placed around a series of sculptures. The installation Crystal Forests consists of five ice-shard-like formations, which shapes were inspired by the image of a nuclear-powered submarine rising to the surface and through the frozen ice cap of the North Pole. Around the submarine’s tower, the ice floes had formed like pieces of broken glass. In B&B’s sculptures, the broken glasses are UV-printed with images that together form a 360° panorama of a forest landscape.
The show also display films and video-documentations of previous projects, such as The Climate Experiment (2018), Rescue Blanket for Kebnekaise (2015), Biosphere III (1990), Climate Chambers I (1994) and Looped Incubator (1995).
In addition to the art works inside the Konsthall, the egg-shaped sauna Solar Egg (2017) has been placed on the terras of the building, and hopefully it can become a place for Skellefteå’s residents to meet and discuss challenges as well as opportunities raised by this major transformation.
Bigert & Bergström. The Broken Greenhouse. Exhibition catalogue.
Photos: Krister Hägglund