The Frontiers in Retreat artists arrive

The first artists participating in the Frontiers in Retreat project at Skaftfell, Kati Gausmann and Richard Skelton, arrived in Iceland in the end of August. Simultaneously the volcanic activity in South Iceland reached its peak and magma started flowing from Holuhraun. Hence it was very appropriate that the artists started their journey by attending a Geology seminar in Breiðdalssetur, a research and heritage centre located in the small town of Breiðdalsvík in the East. The seminar was held in honour of the British geologist George P.L. Walker who is noted for mapping the Terier lava pile in East Iceland in the sixties and teaching Icelanders how to map the geology of Iceland.

The seminar concluded with a field trip to selected locations were it is possible so see geological phenomenons in their natural environment. In Streitishvarf for example is a great view of a composite dyke that can be traced over a 15 km area. The dyke cuts through the mountain down to the beach that has easy access for pedestrians and is visible in the mountain across the bay. Next the group was able to see ignimbrite at Blábjörg, a blue-greenish breccia layer noticeable from the high peak of the mountain all the way down to the ground. The last stop was at the farm Teigarhorn, a declared natural monument, that is known worldwide for zeolites. Samples of zeolites from Teigarhorn can be found in museums around the world.

About the project:

Frontiers in Retreat is a five-year collaboration project that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological questions within a European network formed around artist residencies. The project sets out to examine processes of change in particular, sensitive ecological contexts within Europe, to reflect them in relation to each other and to develop new approaches to the urgencies posed by them. Moreover, the project recognises the necessity of multidisciplinary approaches to the current ecological concerns and aims to develop means and platforms for this through methods of contemporary art.

The project is coordinated by HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. The project connects artist residency centers located in “remote” areas across Europe in order to provide a unique, transnational platform for investigating local and global ecological concerns. Frontiers in Retreat is realised by seven artist residency organisations in Finland, Iceland, Scotland, Latvia, Serbia, and Spain in collaboration with a Lithuanian art organisation that will develop the educational program of the project.

The core of the project is formed by research and production residencies. 25 European artists representing different cultures, generations and artistic approaches have been selected collaboratively by the project partners to develop new art works in response to the different ecological contexts of each residency site. During the coming years, the artists will circulate within the residency network and conduct artistic research driven by the particular ecologies of the sites.


The Icelandic Visual Art Fund