‘End of Dreams’ show sings ode to migrants
Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen’s installation is an ode to the countless lives that have been lost by those attempting to traverse the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe.Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen’s new installation, which is an ode to migrants who have perished attempting to traverse the Mediterranean Sea, recently premiered at SALT Galata.
Larsen has worked on the issues and dangers of migration in different geographies for a number of years. His most recent production, “End of Dreams,” produced during a residency at the Italian art organization qwatz, is an ode to the countless lives that have been lost by those attempting to traverse the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe.
Initially envisioning “End of Dreams” as a sculptural installation, in 2014 Larsen began his work by submerging 48 concrete-canvas sculptures off the coast of Pizzo Calabro in Calabria, South Italy. The plan was to allow these sculptures, which are reminiscent of body bags, to slowly acquire a patina of sea organisms. They were then to be removed from the sea and exhibited as a sculptural constellation marked by the wear and tear of the sea.
During the making of the work an unanticipated violent storm ravaged the raft that was holding the structures in place and their remnants were scattered across the seabed and onto nearby beaches. Some disappeared altogether.
Larsen believed the intervention of nature brought the process of the work’s production even closer to the feelings of trauma and peril he was trying to express, adding to the narrative of the piece, and so following the storm he hired divers to film the scene and collect all the debris and sculptures that could be found. Working with this material, Larsen created a new work that is a multi-media installation comprising a five-channel HD video shot under the sea, and a composition of some of the remains of the sculptural elements.
‘End of Season’
A program of Larsen’s works on migration, including Promised Land (2011-2013), Reflections from Meriç (2013) and End of Season (2014), will be screened during the exhibition in the Walk-in Cinema at SALT Beyoğlu.
Larsen has exhibited internationally, including at Tate Modern in 2013, in the Folkestone Triennial in the UK and the Thessaloniki Biennale 3 in Greece in 2011 and in the 9th Sharjah Biennial in the UAE in 2009.
His film “End of Season” was shot in 2012 in Üyüklütatar, a small farming village in northwestern Turkey by the River Meriç that marks a section of the border between Turkey and Greece, during Larsen’s Danish Arts Council residency at PİST and premiered at SALT Beyoğlu in 2014.
Until recently the river was the busiest entry point into Europe for illegal migrants. Üyüklütatar is losing its young generation, who migrate to cities to work in factories rather than work on the farms, while a group of Romas come as seasonal workers and camp at the village edge. These three notions of migration are explored in the film.
“End of Dreams” is produced by qwatz, Rome, supported by Sharjah Art Foundation and co-founded by the Danish Arts Council. It will continue until March 29.