LB°24 Participants

Henrik Andersson

Snow, Darkness and Cold, 2018, Henrik Andersson. Luleåbiennalen 2018.

Henrik Andersson (b. in Göteborg, 1973) is an artist based in Stockholm.

Snow, Darkness and Cold is a study of the Udtja region in Norrbotten through a four-channel slide show. In a photographic montage, the moss, lichen and flora of the forest overlap with pictures from anthropological studies, and traces of the military activities that have taken place in the area since the beginning of the Cold War. The work takes as its starting point the zoologist and photographer Carl Fries’ contribution to the yearbook of the Swedish Tourist Association from 1924. Through text and photography, Fries describes a walk through Udtja, located in Sápmi between Jokkmokk and Arjeplog. As part of Sweden’s popular education project, he portrays the nature, people and wildlife that he encounters in the unspoiled landscape. Through the lens of the camera, we follow Andersson as he traces the ideological transformations of the landscape: In 1958 the Defence Agency built a massive Robot Testing Ground (RFN) in the area, the same size as all of Blekinge county (some 3000 sq km). RFN was the main testing facility in Sweden, established with the ambition to begin a nuclear programme. As the infrastructure expanded, more jobs were created, and the town of Vidsel as well as an airport was built. From there, the people in Udtja’s Sami villages were flown out as the military needed space for their training. In 2004, the state produced a report on how international military testing and training on Swedish territory ought to be developed for the future. It was concluded that “the combination of the large and sparsely populated area, the climate and the existing military infrastructure creates almost unique conditions for military testing and training activity.” Since then, business in Udtja has entirely focused on foreign clients, the weapon industry, and the military. It has become the centre of the collaboration between Swedish Defence and NATO.

Where the industrial era was built around natural resources like forestry, mining and hydroelectric power, we may now add a fourth resource to the list: the very sparseness, desolation and emptiness of the region. Andersson’s work strives to understand the optics through which this relation to nature becomes possible, because the landscape is, of course, anything but empty. Perhaps something else emerges from this imagined emptiness? The lack of awareness of the governing powers manifests in pictures, attitudes and affects.

Henrik Andersson (b. in Göteborg, 1973) is an artist based in Stockholm.


Snow, Darkness and Cold, 2018
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Luleå konsthall