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Glacier Elegies

April 5, 2022—7:00 pm8:00 pm

In celebration of the launch of Jaanika Peerna’s newly published monograph Glacier Elegies (Terra Nova Press, 2022), join us for a panel discussion with artists Jaanika Peerna and Riitta Ikonen in conversation with curator and advisor Zoë Foster!

Much of Jaanika Peerna’s recent work is a lament to glaciers and natural  ice. Her ongoing project Glacier Elegy forms the central core of this  publication; the book presents an in-depth look at this iconic work, through essays, images of works and performances, as well as the artist’s own  words. In doing so, it shows how a contemporary artist in her prime addresses the climate emergency. The book touches on ecological grief and looks at how Peerna and other key contemporary artists have used the subject of  ice to highlight the global climate emergency. It includes essays by Robert MacFarlane, Janet Passehl, Celina Jeffrey, and an interview by  Joana P. R. Neves, situating Peerna’s work and envisioning how creative acts  imagine ecological relations in the face of rapidly changing climates and environments, while also giving voice to the difficult emotions of fear,  trauma, grief, and mourning. Peerna’s work offers us a way through.

Likewise, Riitta Ikonen highlights themes such as climate change and the pollution of the Baltic Sea through her work. She also frequently examines the relationship between humans and the natural world. This is evident in her ongoing photography and sculpture project Eyes as Big as Plates, in collaboration with Norwegian artist Karoline Hjorth.

Peerna and Ikonen will discuss art and environmental practices related to the book with Foster, the editor of Glacier Elegies, during an in-person program in Volvo Hall. Glacier Elegies is out from MIT Press on March 1, 2022; purchase the book here.

This program will take place in-person in Volvo Hall; RSVP required. Attendees are required to follow all Scandinavia House safety protocols, including wearing masks during the program and observing social distancing rules in signage. Please read our full safety protocols here.

About the Artists

Jaanika Peerna is an Estonian-born artist and educator living and working in New York since 1998. Her work encompasses drawing, installation and performance. Peerna’s Glacier Elegy is an ongoing series of performances, the most recent of which took place on the waterfront in Brooklyn, in Cold Springs, and Berlin. The performances, focused on the erosion of ice, are a reminder that it is our human actions that cause the destruction of glaciers; she encourages her audience to feel the touch of the ice with her. Peerna’s exhibitions include FRAC Picardie, France; Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Artdepoo Gallery and Vana-Wõromaa Cultural Center, Estonia; Salon b, Montreal, Drawing Lab, Paris and Kentler International Drawing Space, New York. Together with this, her performances include: The Bronx Museum, New York; Hudson Valley Centre of Contemporary Art: Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. Her work is in important international collections including The Bennetton Collection, Italy; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales; Garrison Art Center, New York;  Kentler International Drawing Space, New York; Novosibirsk Art Museum, Russia and Imago Mundi.

Finnish artist Riitta Ikonen‘s work threads together memory, myth, imagination and an anthropomorphic view of the natural world. She mediates interaction between people and their natural environment that materializes as performance, video, wearable sculptures and photographic portraiture. Since 2011, Ikonen has been working on Eyes as Big as Plates, an ongoing collaborative photography and sculpture project with Norwegian artist Karoline Hjorth. Ikonen graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2008. She has since had installations at Tate Britain, London, developed concepts for the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority and exhibited at the Photographer’s Gallery, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki; Gulbenkian Foundation and Royal Academy, London, amongst others. Upcoming exhibitions include those at the Barbican Centre, London and the Power Plant, Toronto. She splits her time between New York City and Finland.

About the Moderator

Curator, advisor and consultant Zoë Foster has over 20 years’ experience of working in the International Art World, both as owner of her own gallery (f a projects, London & Chung King Projects, Los Angeles) and for other organisations (Anthony d’Offay, London; Christie’s; Cecilia Brunson Projects, London & Santiago; Private Foundation, Paris).

She has worked with artists on key exhibitions internationally, such as the Venice Biennale and other institutional shows. Publications that she has edited include Jaanika Peerna: Glacier ElegiesIzima Kaoru 2000-2001; and Francisco Copello: Mi Arte Es Mi Cuerpo.


April 5, 2022
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm