Following its exhibition in London during the spring of 2015, “Potential Architecture” settled in Tromsø’s Kunstforening in the beginning of June and will come to an end on the 25th of September. Everything started four years ago in Tromsø, when five architects and artists discussed with the curator behind Potential Architecture, David Thorp. From their diverse backgrounds emerged an interesting reflection on the environment and social contexts in the Arctic, that nevertheless centre around architecture.

The exhibition rooms have been transformed into new spaces. When crossing them, the spectator is immersed in the in situ works. It is an exchange between artists and disciplines. Through sculptures, natural installations, video and sound, each domain has its own way of describing the complex meanings of vernacular architecture and exposing the reality of being an endangered ethnic group in a globalized world. The famous Russian architect Alexander Brodsky – known for his work “Paper Architecture” – dedicates a room to the destruction of architecture, called “Five Towns”. By playing with scales and materials he makes us perceive the slow extinction of a culture until only dust and aches remain. On the other side, the work of Joar Nango seems to be more human oriented. How can architecture influence the social aspect of ethnicity? What is the place of nomadic ethnic groups in globalized cities? Edvine Larssen experiments with space to push people across unknown borders. Her gigantic installation tricks with daylight and plays with the luminosity of the Arctic. Sean Griffiths, on his side, reveals an unexpected installation that echoes the Norwegian landscape and tries to find the its most basic components.

Despite the repulsive aspect of architecture art, “Potential Architecture” is worth seeing. It replies to real local questions that can be applied to the whole Arctic Region. The audience can also go a step further by joining and suggesting topics for a public discussion: “The Underground Discussion Club” on the 24th and 25th September. The meeting will be held by the samí artist and sociologist Apolonija Šušteršič.


Alexander Brodsky, Sean Griffiths, Edvine Larssen, Joar Nango and Apolonija Šušteršič

Tromsø Kunstforening : 18/06/2016 – 25/09/2016
Opening hours: 12NOON-17PM WED-SUN

Text: Hans-Paul Landriève