Lisa Anderson: Journeys – Due North


In the Arctic, bacteria endemic to the region colour icebergs a gentle 1950s cocktail pink. In Antarctica a similar phenomenon lends a green tinge to the ice floes, earning them the title of ‘jadebergs’. Before boarding a Russian icebreaker in Arkhangelsk, adventurers admire inquisitive beluga whales and walruses.

“I felt so at home there. I feel that place forever in my own story,” says Lisa Anderson, who first ventured to the polar north a decade ago.

When she talks about that initial trip to the Arctic it’s easy to see her awe and the “incredible light.” Except of course, a grim edge tugs at the poles. This northern summer saw sea ice come crashing to new record lows after 30 years of rapid melting.

The artist, always concerned by global issues, “from acid rain during the 1980s with my studio in Paris, and then protesting the cruise missiles at Greenham Common also in the ‘80s” as well as being a feminist, seeing the effects of ice melting first hand greatly moved Anderson. “People are watching the world around them change.”

In Journeys: Due North, the works deal with ideas of extreme travel and expedition work, but it is in the keenly realised sculptural forms which reference the nomadic existence in a world “where weather has begun to lose the cyclic seasons”, which Anderson feels closest to.

“The sculptures touch on stories of migration, of being out of place, of being the ‘arrivist’.” Weaving a folkloric story, deeply connected to the landscape, Due North hinges on Anderson’s multidisciplinary practice. “The work does not represent any particular moment, but rather the videos and sounds bring together an experience.”


Journeys: Due North
Lisa Anderson

Art Gallery of Ballarat
20 August – 2 October

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