The 11th edition of Sequences Biennial, entitled Can’t See, will take place over ten days, from 13-23 October 2023 in Reykjavík, Iceland. The festival will bring visitors together at the darkest time of the year, for an exchange of energy and ideas, with a programme featuring exhibitions, performances, lectures, walks, guided tours and more.
The title of the festival Can’t See, was inspired by the title of a work by a participating artist and it refers to the uncertainty of contemporary times and the inability or unwillingless to see both the diversity of life and the evergrowing threat of ecological disaster. Curated by Marika Agu, Maria Arusoo, Kaarin Kivirähk and Sten Ojavee, a curatorial collective who work together at the Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), this edition is intended to be a ‘journey through the spheres of the Earth and along the borders of transformation’.
The exhibition will be divided into four chapters, which will provide a glimpse into the spaces that cannot usually be perceived by the human eye: the depths of the sea and layers of the soil, as well as elements of time itself, the debris of the past and visions of the future. The stories will be told from a range of perspectives, from hybrid birds to bacteria, sea creatures, an ancient tree or ever blasting wind, aiming to showcase different ways of seeing the world. The four chapters will be presented at four local institutions, including Nordic House and artist-run spaces Living Art Museum and Kling & Bang. TheSome of the exhibitions will continue beyond the duration of the ten-day festival, so more visitors can experience the displays.
Sequences XI will bring together an exciting, wide-ranging group of Icelandic and international artists, whose work explores the unseen. The festival will feature new and site-specific artworks, alongside existing pieces from the artists and from museum collections, aiming for a more sustainable approach, both ecologically and psychologically, which does not rely on constant new productions. This will include museum works that are rarely on public display or that have only been exhibited in a local context, on loan from institutions including Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum, Safnasafnið – The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum.
The selection of artists focuses on fostering new and deeper connections between the art communities of Eastern Europe and Iceland. Both located on the cultural and geographical borders, the curators are interested in perspectives that are born on the fluid grounds of transformative identities, providing unique narratives which are not usually part of the art at the centre of the cultural world.
The curators say ‘We are excited to reveal more details about Sequences XI, which allowed us the opportunity to dig into the depths of the Icelandic art scene. While considering us to be outsiders in Icelandic art, we believe that a perspective of this kind can also be valuable and provide grounds for new developments. Through the exhibitions we hope to provide chances to think differently, using the symbolic potential of visual art.”
Founded by Kling & Bang, the Living Art Museum, and the Icelandic Art Center, together with local artists, Sequences was born out of Reyjavik’s dynamic art scene and has been a vital platform for art in Iceland. Past editions have been curated by local and international artists/curators, including Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir (IS), the artist who will represent Iceland at the 2024 Venice Biennale and more than three hundred artists from around the world have taken part, alongside Iceland’s artist-run galleries, museums and public institutions.