The video artwork PERMAFROST  ( looped video, 10 mins ) by Fernando José Pereira at The Bookshop -projectspace, shown evenings from 20-22 o´clock 14.03 – 20.03, 2012.

A short film set in the Northern-most human settlement in the world: the Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen (only 800km to North Pole). The video focuses on the Russian town Barentsburg, situated at the latitude of 78º N.

Fernando José Pereira investigates the remoteness of the extreme North, having travelled extensively in the North, and in 2009 reached one of the last frontiers: the Svalbard archipelago. Above here, only the sea ice from the North Pole. The video shows both fascination for this utopian untouched landscape, and on the other hand the dystopian condition of abandoned places, almost ghost towns, lost in time but imprisoned in its own economical net that sustain them until now, not in a documentary way but as a fiction, the usual way for the gaze of the artist in his approach to reality.

Barentsburg is a coal mine town; with coal from the arctic greatly appreciated by our energy industry, this is also the cause of both economical progress and ecological disaster. It is a closed circle: the coal that is exported by Barentsburg and consumed by the European south countries is one of the main causes for the climate changes in the arctic.

Fernando José Pereira (Porto, 1961) has a degree in Fine Arts at the Fine Arts School of Oporto, Portugal and the PhD in Fine Arts at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Pontevedra, Spain. Works under the concept of post media which means handling several media in the construction of the works, but mostly video, photography and drawing. The main subject of work is connected to the relation between art and nature (as a cultural human construction) and mediated by politics. The last years has developed almost all work around the idea of decay/ruin as a form of allegory. The connection with reality is closer but not easy as art must be.

Fernando is currently Artist in residence at Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art.

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