"Tomorrow, we shall have to invent, once more, the reality of this world. I opened my eyes late."
Octavio Paz.

With every individual, with every new generation, with each attempt at defining the contemporary, we are renegotiating our relationship with our surroundings, with nature, with man-made constructs, our history and of course new ideas. Our relationship with landscape, urban spaces, natural phenomena, religion, politics, the body and so forth, is constantly shifting, creating a trajectory of transition visible in all art forms and research related to it.

The exhibition Nature in Transition - Shifting Identities, is a collaboration between the Nordic House and the Iceland University of the Arts (IUA), as well as the IUA's contribution to UArctic's conference here in Reykjavík in May. The subject matter relates strongly to the current situation in the arctic region, to the rapid changes of the last few decades, to our historical background as well as to the challenges the future entails.

Five of the artists participating in the exhibition are members of the IUA's faculty (one of them in a collaboration with a research partner from Britain), two of the artists are currently studying at the IUA and the exhibition is further enhanced and strengthened with the participation of artists from Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark. Many of these participants work within academia and research, which reveals how art universities play an important role in moulding an academic discourse, across a variety of disciplines.

It is important to keep this in mind, not only because discussion and research in the realm of the arts is in my mind of great importance, but also because new methods in research have become an issue where artistic involvement and creative approaches could be crucial in creating a changed awareness of our place in the world, and the context of our existence and behavior.

There is an increasingly pressing need to introduce new ways of thinking in the world; new ways of seeing ourselves as part of a larger whole, where we all take responsibility for our actions and expressions. And interestingly enough, throughout the centuries this is exactly what artists have been doing. Art – in its various forms – is often at the forefront of an exploration that maps unknown territories, that changes the way we see ourselves and our environment. Artistic creativity is simply an inquiry into existence itself - into the way we conduct our paths through nature and the artificial and philosophical aspects of our existence.

Reykjavík April 14th,

Fríða Björk Ingvarsdóttir
Iceland University of the Arts.