Andrea Simitch and Val Warke: Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale

Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale
A view of the Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale exhibition. William Staffeld / AAP
Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale
A view of the Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale exhibition. William Staffeld / AAP
Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale
A view of the Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale exhibition. William Staffeld / AAP
Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale
A view of the Shared Spaces/The Berserker's Tale exhibition. William Staffeld / AAP

The Baer Art Center is located on a seaside farm in northwestern Iceland, approximately 400km from the capital, Reykjavik. Its setting on the east coast of Skagafjördur, a large fjord facing the Arctic Circle, is unique: with access to the ocean, a freshwater lake, extensive bird habitats, gnomes, and Icelandic farm life. The summer months at Baer offer the midnight sun and sublime light conditions during the long hours of daylight. The residency program at Baer offers professionally established visual artists and architects the opportunity to create new work in a setting like no other.

Shared Spaces, by Andrea Simitch, is a collection of primarily monochromatic charcoal drawings. Through blurring the boundaries between constructed and found, between near and far, the drawings locate the modest industrial and domestic buildings of Baer and nearby Hofsós within the majestic panoramas of distant fjords and nearby farmlands. These abstracted profiles of roofscapes, houses, shelters, and pools become seamless extensions of the physical contexts in which they are situated.

The Berserker's Tale, by Val Warke, explores the work of noted archaeologist Stenhammar. Fifty years after he published the research for which he was most famous, "A Berserkrstead in Skagafjörður," another archeologist, Dagligen, was asked to produce a retrospective appreciation. Instead of an appreciation, Dagligen — with the assistance of Stenhammar's original draftsman — reinterpreted Stenhammar's work, uncovering some serious flaws. Dedicated to the memory of Norman Daly, this is the tale of two (fictional?) archaeologists, their conflicting interpretations of evidence, of the persistent verisimilitudes of drawing, and of the unrecorded history of the Berserkers.

Both projects are the result of recent fellowships at the Baer Foundation in Hofsós, Iceland. Simitch and Warke are associate professors in the Department of Architecture at AAP.