Julia Martin: Rhubarb archaeology



“Berjamó” and “Rhubarb Archaeology” are two cycles of new work, specially made for Pirpa. They explore seasonal food foraging traditions in the artist’s home fjord in East Iceland, and bring them into contrast with the gallery´s context in Grønttorvet.

As a former fruit en gros market, Grønttorvet was part of the global trade infrastructure of industrialized agriculture, which has more or less put an end to the seasonal limitations of fruit availability. In contrast, berjamó, the Icelandic tradition of berry-picking, and the widespread low-key cultivation of rhubarb in rural gardens in Iceland, are both examples for a very seasonal, non-commercial, and sustainable use of local food resources. Dating back to the hard days of subsistence farming, harvesting berries and rhubarb is today a celebration of summer, and part of the way of life in the Icelandic countryside. Here, close to nature and one step removed from nature, for a few weeks each summer the foraging of plants still plays out between a garden and a wild place.

Rhubarb Archaeology

The half-wild rhubarb fields that belong to almost every house in rural Iceland appear to be part of their architecture. Sometimes the fields outlast their homesteads: the houses have been abandoned and have disappeared for good, but the rhubarb´s impressive living structures still re-emerge and vanish on their own every summer. Using a sort of rhubarb archaeology, the positions of former farmsteads can be located by their surviving rhubarb fields along the fjord.

In a series of small scale collages, using her own photographs, the artist imagines such a disappearance of human presence in the land, and the vigorous expansion of the then no longer cultivated, beautiful wild rhubarb plants. The series is a work in progress.

Also part of “Rhubarb Archaeology” are three large black-and-white photographs showing the architectural and textual beauty of rhubarb on a scale that begins to enter into competition with the industrial architecture of Grønttorvet.

Julia Martin (b. 1976 in Berlin) is an artist and landscape architect. She received a MFA from Edinburgh College of Art, and a PhD in Art Practice from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She currently lives in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, where she coordinates the international residency program at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art.

Julia’s work investigates relationships between objects and actors in space and time. Often, it revolves around the human perception and treatment of nature. She uses performative actions and their video documentation, drawings, maps, collages, site specific installations, and text to comment on hidden or obvious correlations and agencies connecting objects, spaces, ideas, and human actions. A recurring theme is the exploration of peripheral landscapes and their ambivalent status between culturally defined territory and “wilderness”.

Recent work has been shown at Skolska Gallery, Prague (2016), Art Institute Shibukawa, Japan (2015), Goldsmiths College, London (2014), Skaftfell Gallery, Seyðisfjörður (2014), and Giftraum, Berlin (2012).





Grønttorvet 22, 2500 Valby

Thursdays and Fridays 13-17, sat. 11-15

Until the 28.9

Åben: 11.8-01.09, tors og fre  13-17, lør 11-15. PIRPA, Grønttorvet 22, 2500 Valby // www.pirpa.net Kontakt:  pirpa.info@gmail.com, Milena Bonifacini på 21760418,  Cai-Ulrich von Platen på 26716280


Efterårets program:

07.09.-29.9 2018 Julia Martin

05.10 – 27.10 2018: Carsten Hoff

27.10 -Seriøs Finisage

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