Dates: 20 April – 24 November 2024
Venue: Giardini, Venice
Artist: Inuuteq Storch
Curator: Louise Wolthers
Commissioner: Danish Arts Foundation
Danish Arts Foundation unveils details of Inuuteq Storch’s participation for the Danish Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
The Danish Pavilion presents Rise of the Sunken Sun, a photography exhibition by Greenlandic artist Inuuteq Storch, curated by Louise Wolthers. This marks the first time that the Danish Pavilion has showcased a major exhibition by an artist from Greenland, as well as its first presentation dedicated to photography. Aligned with the curatorial theme of the Biennale Arte 2024, Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, Storch’s exhibition for the Danish Pavilion Rise of the Sunken Sun delves into the concept of engaging in a decolonial process, emphasising the pursuit of visibility, with a sensitive awareness of the complexities within national, cultural, and personal identities.
From the series At Home We Belong. Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
Inuuteq Storch’s Overall Artistic Project
In the artist’s own words, the essence of his project for the Biennale Arte 2024 is to “ to tell the Greenlanders’ visual history, not seen through the visitors’ eyes, but through the Greenlanders’ own.” In the exhibition, Storch corrects and extends the prevailing vision of Greenland, a self-governing, autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. His work examines the expansiveness of Greenlandic identity, seamlessly merging historical and family photographs with contemporary snapshots of everyday life.
From the series Keepers of the Ocean (2019). Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
Rise of the Sunken Sun presents an extensive selection of photographic works by the artist, in new, site-specific formats, re-contextualising historical and contemporary works through juxtaposition. Complemented by musical compositions and soundscapes, the exhibition also includes a sculptural element resembling a red, glowing halved disk. The work symbolises the Arctic sunset over the white icy landscape, with allusions to the Greenlandic flag, traditional Inuit beliefs, and the exhibition title.
From the series Keepers of the Ocean (2020). Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
Six Thematic Photography Series
Storch’s presentation consists of hundreds of photographs taken on various cameras. Each image uniquely tells a story about Greenlandic life and identity, both historically and today. Works include Storch’s raw, intimate, and poetic photographs of his life in his hometown of Sisimiut; images from his family’s photo archives; as well as a digitised compilation of historical photographs by John Møller, the first professional Greenlandic photographer. The Danish Pavilion thus transforms into a kaleidoscope, offering an ever-changing visual narrative that remains steadfastly rooted in the Greenlandic experience, life, and identity. The body of work is formed from six different thematic photographic series.
From the series Porcelain Souls. Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
From ‘DANMARK’ (=Denmark in Danish) to ‘Kalaallit Nunaat’ (=Greenland in Greenlandic)
Rise of the Sunken Sun centres on conveying personal stories on one’s own terms. In line with this ethos, Storch has mounted a transparent sign on top of the pavilion’s Danmark sign, bearing the words, “Kalaallit Nunaat”, which translates to “Greenland” and literally means “land of the people” in Greenlandic. This subtle act skilfully articulates the intertwined bonds between the two countries, underscoring Storch’s commitment to showcase and celebrate Greenland through a visual narrative of daily life.
From the series Soon Will Summer be Over (2023). Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
Seminar at the University of Copenhagen: Decolonising the Camera, 2 February
Emphasising the significance of academic exploration into decolonisation within visual storytelling a seminar, titled Decolonising the Camera: Photography and Lens-based Art from Greenland and the Arctic, is scheduled to unfold at the University of Copenhagen on 2 February 2024.The event will also be streamed online and be available to watch later here: Link.
Image credit: Inuuteq Storch
The event, spearheaded by Mette Sandbye, a distinguished professor of photography, and Louise Wolthers, will critically explore the historical role of photography in Western and Nordic colonisation, with a specific focus on Storch’s impactful work. Esteemed speakers contributing to this insightful discussion include Heather Igloliorte, an art historian and curator specialising in contemporary Inuit art from Victoria University, Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph London and author of the book Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Times, Greenlandic film producer Emile Hertling Péronard, and graphic designer Jacob Birch.
Inuuteq Storch portrait. Photo by Arny Koor Mogensen, Bolt Lamar
Artist and Curator Statements
Inuuteq Storch says, “ Greenland and its inhabitants have been extensively photographed since the mid-1800s. However, the majority of these images have been captured by visitors to Greenland, often serving as a form of documentation or registration of the country, its people, and its culture. Consequently, people worldwide have developed a fixed and limited perception of Greenland, shaped by the non-Greenlandic gaze reflected in these photographs.
The exhibition and my works serve as my artistic means to subtly and intricately modify the prevailing perception of my country. It’s an invitation – an opportunity to explore Greenland through my lens. I extend an invitation to the public, welcoming them to visit my home and experience the nuanced narrative I aim to convey through my art.”
Mirrored, Portraits of Good Hope John Møller
Louise Wolthers says, “ Through Storch’s lens, we are offered a personal narrative of Greenland, beckoning viewers into a sensory exploration of history, belonging, and the intricate nuances of cultural identity. This exhibition showcases Storch’s multiple use of photography as storytelling and reminds us of the medium’s decolonial and worldbuilding potentials. It is a privilege to work with his material and be offered new insights into Greenland’s visual history.”
Louise Wolthers Image credit: Sofia Sabel
Slide photo: from the series Keepers of the Ocean (2019). Image credit: Inuuteq Storch