Opening date : 6 November 2014
Based in oral storytelling, Viking Age history was only recorded by author-historians centuries after the events took place; as memory dissolved behind myth, these stories became part fiction and part documentary.
Referring directly to the European ‘discovery’ of North America, Jessica Auer draws from saga literature and archeology to examine this historical enigma. After spending several years following in the footsteps of the Viking explorers that first encountered the New World, the artist travels to Greenland where a team of Danish archeologists work on the restoration of the world’s best-preserved Norse ruins. In this landscape, somewhere between the Old and the New Worlds, layers of history drift from one stratum to another. Stones that may once have supported a ruin now punctuate the walls of a modern house. Other stones, previously shifted to new purposes, are shifted back to restore an archaeological site.
Through the use of photography and video, Jessica Auer observes how humans go about altering and reinterpreting the landscape. Through these subtle observations, subjective perspectives are encouraged to take shape, calling attention to the ambiguities inherent in all documentary approaches.
The artist would like to thank Georg Nyegaard, Jacob Noe Bovin, Henrik Høier, Terryll Loffler and Andreas Rutkauskas for their generous collaboration and gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their financial support.
Photo credit : Tanya St-Pierre