Bigert & Bergström — The Drought


In the new exhibition The Drought at Gallery Niklas Belenius, Bigert & Bergström continue investigating the escalating climatic threat using salt as a symbol of thirst.

Bigert & Bergström’s exhibition The Drought continues the duo’s investigation into various climatic threats and how man and earth respond to them.

The works originate from two research trips in the Mediterranean region; one to the ancient salt pans of Margherita di Savoia on the Adriatic coast of Italy and the other to the newly built desalination plant at the Llobregat River outside Barcelona in Spain.

The crystal photo sculptures, inverted space molecule and glass montages document the sites of these opposites where fresh water scarcity is the premise for production.

One facility subtracts the salt and the other extracts it from the enormous basin of the sea.

• Salt, once a precious commodity that got its name from the word salary because it was used as payment for Roman soldiers, is now often a substance associated with contaminated freshwater reservoirs. The two locations reflect both the desperation involved in tackling the recurring heat waves of the region and the newfound profits being made in a landscape of transition, said Mats Bigert.

A central piece of the exhibition is the Hourglass. The looped sculpture, blown out of proportion and filled with 100 kg of salt, conjures a deus ex machina suggesting that we have infinite time on our hands to grapple with the crisis of an atmosphere in flux.

During the summer of 2013 the exhibition was shown at the Castle of Barletta, as part of the larger project Watershed, organized by the Italian art organization Eclettica International.

In September-October 2013 parts of the project are being exhibited at Contexts in Paris. In January of 2014 the exhibition will be presented at Varberg Kunsthall in south of Sweden.

In connection with the exhibition, the artists have published The Drought, a 72-page field guide on the project. The book was designed by Björn Kusoffsky and the opening essay Sea Thirst and Fear was written by D.Graham Burnett.

The Drought is the continuation of a series of exhibitions initiated by the The Storm (2012), in which Bigert & Bergström explored twisters in the American mid-west. The remaining exhibitions in the series are The Freeze, The Flood and The Light.