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Noah’s ark – an exhibition of indignation

Noah’s Ark is an exhibition made together with Gerhard Nordström, my father. I made the large paintings that are shown here. It took me close to two years.

Gerhard made some objects, fore example “The Last Supper”.

Together we made two “machines” to visualize the processes which are threatening nature.

The exhibition is a travelling exhibition. As it is, sadly enough, still very relevant, we would be happy to show it again.

It has been shown in its entirety or in parts at galleri Blå in Gärsnäs, Landskrona Museum, galleri Z in Ystad and at Staffanstorps Konsthall. Check the clippings for more pictures and descriptions.

The text below was written as an introduction to the showing at Landskrona Museum.


Foto: Jörgen Mårtensson, Bjärred

The origin of this exhibition is our accumulated indignation over the ongoing environmental pollution.

Nature, our foundation for life, is being exposed to an increasing pressure through the evermore brutal ideology of exploitation. This expansion is striking, with accelerating speed, the multitude of species on our Earth. Different air and water pollutions, the greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer, overfishing, clear cut forests, soil destruction, overpopulation and a rapid stream of new chemical substances expose the echo system to ever increasing stress and destruction.

Within the last few million years, only one to three species have become extinct annually. But today, about a thousand species are being exterminated every year because of Man’s exploitation of nature.

Foto: Jörgen Mårtensson, Bjärred

The exhibition called Noah’s ark is a personal expression of the grief and anger we feel for this impoverishment of life. The wonderful multitude of species and respect for the circle of nature are nowadays being put before “the financial reality”. “The highest possible profit” has become a standard in today’s society. The concept of citizen has been replaced by the consumer, a homo economicus, who is expected to consume as much and cheaply as possible. To take into account the ecological and social consequences is not considered rational.


Foto: Jörgen Mårtensson, Bjärred

Technically, the paintings can be described as painted collage, as opposed to the cut-and-paste technique of normal collage, which are also represented in the exhibition. The animals’ different sizes and places decide how they fit in the painting as a whole. They have been woven together in an ambiguous space that is meant to feel harmonious and in its own way “real”.

The big “machines” that occupy the floor-spaces are about the fact that money and consumption have become the meaning and goal of everything. Many of the paintings and objects also allude to this theme.

One of the machines is called “Produce more – Consume more”. It describes the “buy and throw away” process, the myth about “The Constant Economic Growth”, as the sole saving. The more the industrial society consumes, the faster the refuse heaps grow, to which nuclear waste should also be counted.

The second one is called “The Profit Machine”. There, we can follow the process from planning in the data room, where the exploiters calculate how the profits are to be maximized, to how nature is fed into the black mouth of the profit machine, where it’s transformed into “pure” money, into capital.

Foto: Jörgen Mårtensson, Bjärred

The name of our exhibition, Noah’s ark, alludes to the fact that we only have one earth, and that we need to administer it, so that it can support also future generations. For this to be possible, a new way of thinking must break through: one that starts from the ecological reality, and is not controlled by short-term profit interests.

Earth is our ark, which sails through the immeasurable space of the universe. A planet covered with life. It has been sailing for billions of years, and shall continue its journey into a, for us, distant future. The question is whether it will still then be covered with life. Or is it “after us, the Flood”?


Pernilla Hägg Nordström       Gerhard Nordström


Foto: Jörgen Mårtensson, Bjärred