Remains of Eternity by Sif Itona Westerberg

Text by Birthe Havmoeller / Feminine Moments

Sif Itona Westerberg
Sif Itona Westerberg, photo by Birthe Havmoeller

Danish art student Sif Itona Westerberg (above) is interested in rites and systems that create and uphold social and historical power structures. I met her at her latest exhibition Remains of Eternity in Copenhagen a few weeks ago.

In the body of work presented in her latest exhibition she deals with the dilemma of investigating a subject without polluting it in the very attempt to observe it. She is taking us on a travel through time and through solid rock. She is fascinated by the contrast between the very old and undisturbed that lies in the depths of a mountain, and the ruthless ways of modern industrial mining. The main focus of the exhibition is the traces that all acts leave behind, the silent witnesses to time, and history being made and remade.

Her inspiration for this body of work is an old sci-fi short story about a group of time travelers, who take tourists back to the age of the dinosaurs. She is fascinated by the care that the travelers of this fiction take in order not to disturb the balance of the prehistoric forest and the course of time.

Installation by Sif Itona Westerberg
Installation view from Remains of Eternity by Sif Itona Westerberg, 2013. The sculpture Anti-gravitational Levitating Plaster Path // Dual Barrier and in the back Void & Object 1-8 by Sif Itona Westerberg. Photo by Birthe Havmoeller.

Sif has produced a pseudo-scientific archive titled ‘Remains for Eternity‘. One of the objects of her archive is a series of plaster slabs titled Void & Object 1-8 with impressions of fern leaves in sharp reliefs on the surface of the slabs. The fern holding some of the oldest DNA on Earth has proven its will to grow and its ability to survive for millions of years. Perhaps there is no need for her to register it and preserve it as a semi-fossil for future generations. The pure white slabs with the fern leaves are leaned against the wall of the white cube exhibition space of OK Corral in Copenhagen. By choosing the fragile media of plaster, her works are absolutely not archival proof by Nature’s standards; a fact which she is aware of. Another of her objects, Un-Earth, introduces the visitor to an aerial photograph of an open mine, where the mining industry is turning the land into an ever growing lunar landscape, in the quest to transform metal ore into steel plates. Echo, a door-size industrial steel plate installation, makes me wonder if it is a mirror that reflects ourselves? (see photo below) or a closed portal to the past or the future?

In the middle of the room is Anti-gravitational Levitating Plaster Path // Dual Barrier, a sculpture of a path way (see photo above). The symbol of a vision (or delusion?) of a safe way for us and other space travelers to walk without changing the natural environments, which we are visiting.

Sif often applies women’s crafts such as weaving, knitting, needle point, etc. in her artistic practice. For this exhibition she has made two woven blankets titled Skin (see photo below). The colors of the striped blankets are digitally translated from photos of minerals. The shoot of her weaving material (wool and silk) looks like layers of a sedimentary rock. Layers hardened to rock during millions of years are Nature’s archive; the visual evidence and ultimate proof of the ephemeral quality of ‘time that has passed’.

Detail of installation by Sif Itona Westerberg
Detail of the installation Void & Object 1-8 by Sif Itona Westerberg. Photo by Birthe Havmoeller.

Echo by Sif Itona Westerberg
Echo by Sif Itona Westerberg, 2013. Photo by Birthe Havmoeller

About Sif Itona Westerberg

Sif is a visual artist and a claymation video maker. She has a BFA from The Funen Art Academy, Odense, Denmark, and is now doing her last year at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark. ‘Remains for Eternity’ is her third solo exhibition. Alongside her creative practice she has been evolved in organizing the Copenhagen Queer Festivals and other events for young queer people, who are questioning the norms of our mainstream heteronormative culture.

Skin by Sif Itona Westerberg
Skin by Sif Itona Westerberg, 2013. Photo courtesy of Sif Itona Westerberg.

Copenhagen – Remains of Eternity by Sif Itona Westerberg

Cross-posted at sifitona.blogspot.dk
Sif Itona Westerberg

R E M A I N S  O F  E T E R N I T Y

Solo Exhibition by Sif Itona Westerberg at
OK Corral, Carlsberg Byen, Malttorvet 2, 1799 Kbh V
Opening: Friday September 13th 2013, 5pm – 9pm
Opening hours: 1pm – 5pm,
The exhibition is open on: Saturday 14th, Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th, Friday 20th, and Saturday September 21th, 2013.
Open by appointment: Monday 23th – Thursday 26th open by appointment, call 0045 53159551.
Finisage and a ‘Sci-fi radiodrama’: September 27th, 2013 at 5pm – 9pm

Remains of Eternity

is an exhibition about digging, excavating, searching and leaving things behind. About holes, through time, and actual solid matter. The installational works of the exhibition, constitutes a strange archive, of time and remains. An echo of presence vibrates between the walls of the exhibition space, oscilliating back and forth between transient immateriallity and the density of eternity.

It all begins with a descent. An opening. A mineshaft. A movement into primordial darkness, where time is consecrated into walls of hard rock, and the possibility of collapse is imminent.

A path of plaster cast tiles is winding its way through the exhibition space. The path constitute a porous membrane between subject and surrounding. A mutually protecting gesture that allows for examination or observation from a safe distance.

Leaning up against the walls are a series of plaster boards. In their surface are fossil imprints of fern leaves. They are miming a landscape surrounding the path, a prehistoric forrest, archived and frozen into hardened organic mass. The archive is created in the hope of a promise of tomorrow. With this clear and structured eternalisation, time is sought stretched and bent. The capacity of the plaster has gone from dust to memory stick.

On an iron shelve, is a satellite photography, of an open-pit mine. The recognizable organic shapes surrounding the open pit, is broken up by the traces of digging, and makes the whole landscape look more like a computer generated sci-fi movie set. A crater on Earth viewed from outer space. A violent absence, a monument in reverse, printed into the surface of the Earth. A never sleeping mine in constant change. Growing larger and deeper every day, swallowing entire cities in its growth. Everything we do leaves traces. Some are created by what we do, and some by what we don’t do. Some are simply created by time. Traces are absence and presence combined. Void and object forever reverberating.

About The Artist

Sif Itona Westerberg (DK. 1985) graduates from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2014. Her work concerns social structures in the intersection between the political and the cosmological. Her primary media are sculpture and installation. Her most recent exhibitions are ”Stedfortrædere” at MOHS exhibit and ”The U in Us is for Utopia” at Fifth Floor, Copenhagen Denmark.

About The Exhibition Space

OK Corral is an artist run project space and studio community housed in the Red Warehouse, a former workshop building in Carlsberg Byen, Copenhagen. The breadth of the OK Corrals interdisciplinary projects range from solo and group exhibitions with national and international artists, open university to cooperation with local and international artist-run spaces.

Sif Itona Westerberg Makes Queer Animations

Girls Room, March 2009, duration: 2:18 min. from Sif Westerberg on Vimeo

Sif Itona Westerberg (1985) is a Copenhagen based artist studying at the Funen Art Academy, Denmark. She works mainly with sculptures, story telling, claymation, stop motion and animation. Sif is a queer artist and she explore and investigate through her work the many ways we tend to identify ourselves through signs of gender, race and sexuality.

Sif Westerberg's Amazing Claymation Videos
In her claymation video ‘Girl Room’ Sif shows us what is happening in a teenage room, where two girls are discussing their looks and want to re-shape their body. In stead of choosing fitness or a change of diet as ways to gain a better looking body they choose cutting in order to reach their goal as fast as possible.
Her latest solo exhibition, titled ‘Adultlessons’ deals with the conflicts of being in-between childhood and adolescence. Sif writes at her blog:

‘It is especially at this fragile stage between childhood and youth that ones sexuality and gender awareness starts to kick in, or rather is imposed on the child by the surrounding socierty. A state where creating a genderbased identity might seem to be a necessity – or a natural consequence of life – rather than a possibility amongst other possibilities. In connection with adolecence we often talk of “growing up” and hereby implying that the child progresses by adapting an understanding of gender and sexuality, based on rules and norms as prescribed by the society. In this process we expect teenagers to mime the existing norms of the adult world, instead of encouraging them to find their own ways navigation and identification.
First, an 11. min long animation, and the main work of the exhibition, is about these areas of transition and its tensions.’

Meet Sif Westerberg At Queer Festival In Copenhagen
You can meet Sif Westerberg at Queer Festival in Copenhagen July 26 – August 1, 2010, where she will give an artist talk. This year Queer Festival Copenhagen (in Denmark) will be held at a collectively run space called Tegelholm situated at the south harbour of Copenhagen. It is a massive warehouse space, which the floating city use as their project space. Sif will give her talk

Wedensday July 28, 2010, 14:15 – 15:15
at ‘Space 1′ – Tegelholm
Teglholmsgade 28, Copenhagen, Denmark
The event is FREE, and Sif will be talking in English.

Sif will present some queer works that she has done and will do a talk on how she uses art as expression of queer ideas. She invites participants in the workshop to discuss her works with her, and to take part in a more general discussion on how to make art from a queer point of view.

Related Links
Sif Westerberg’s blog
Sif’s videostream at Vimeo