Ian Garlant | Synthesis: Andipa, London
In 2009, Garlant abandoned the materialism and glamour of the fashion world and returned to his roots in a small Norwegian community, Hartlestrand in the Hardanger Fjord. He immersed himself in the landscape, from which he re-emerged an artist with alchemist methods.
Following his first successful solo show in London in 2010, curated by Kay Saatchi, Garlant returned to Norway. There he discovered that an archaeologist had retrieved a piece of ancient wood from the ashes of a fire in Bergen, an important cultural historic center at the time of the incident in 1955. The piece of wood bore the inscription “Love conquers all; let us yield to love”. This citation is from the Ecologies by the Latin poet Virgil who died in c. 19BC, long before the words were inscribed in Norway in 1248. Inspired by the words themselves and their resonance across time and culture, Garlant decided to build an installation incorporating this and other ruins, the work to be conceived as a gift to the artist’s antecedents, the community and to the Norwegian landscape herself. He names the exhibition 'BERGTATT I HARDANGER / ENTRANCE IN HARDANGER'.
For the setting of the exhibition, Garlant chose the place where his much-loved grandfather had dreamed of building a house overlooking the fjord before being forced to abandon work during the German invasion in 1940. Garlant energetically threw himself into the landscape, explored ancient Norse mysticism and called on the energy and expertise of the local people to collaborate in the creation of an installation in the landscape designed to express the universal and hence to travel to distant lands.
The project incorporates sound, never used before by the artist, which is mainly of ancient Norse lyrics. The exhibition area was completed with the expertise of a local carpenter who constructed an outdoor gallery using ‘grindverk’, an ancient Norwegian method of building.
These powerful works from Garlant’s seminal Midsummer Project have brought the Nordic wilderness into the gallery for inspired collection of works for 'Synthesis'.