Beneath the Salt

The artists Marianne Bjørnmyr and Dan Mariner presented the exhibition Beneath the Salt in 2017, an exhibition put together from work by eight international artists which in each way is working with photography and salt.

Beneath the Salt is a result of a collaboration between the artists Marianne and Dan, initiated through an artist residency on the North Norwegian island Træna in the summer of 2016.

Træna, being an island 30 miles of the North Norwegian coast, has a strong identity and history of fishing and long traditions connected to the surrounded sea. The artists got their inspiration from what they saw as the core of Træna’s identity: the mineral salt. With salt as a starting point they chose to return to the root of their own medium: photography. Salt played a vital part in the development of the very first photographic prints ever made in the 1840s, and is still one of the core materials used in photographic development solutions. They have brought back these origins by producing a photobook focusing on the salt itself.

The exhibition shows work of eight international artists, all with the focus of photography and salt, together with selected archive images from archival collections in Norway. The exhibition displays a challenging constellation of images; unknown landscapes and known objects, from a time period spanning over 100 years. Through a deliberate assembly of images with a variation of dates, geographical areas and contributors, the artists are challenging the viewers in their knowledge about the photographs’ origin. Variations of textures in the images becomes the most important focus: water surfaces, naked metal, dried fish skin, corroded surfaces. But before anything: rugged, dusty, smooth, wet or dry, and in all its shapes: salt crystals.

“Beyond the fascinating resonance of the material of salt in the arts and in the history of photography in particular, which Marianne Bjørnmyr and Dan Mariner skilfully brought to life, it must be emphasised that the social dimension of this project is of paramount importance. Yet the finished work steers clear of mere conceptualism, by putting such conscious weight on the final object, a precious limited edition book that forms an ode to ancestral analogue practices.”
Excerpt from introductory essay by Erica Payet

Artists: 

LIDIA BIANCHI (IT)
MARIANNE BJØRNMYR (NO)
DANI WAAGEN BRAATVEIT (NO)
RACHELLE BUSSIÉRES (CA)
MELANIE KING (GB)
DAN MARINER (GB / NO)
MATS SALBERG (NO)
IAIN SARJEANT (GB)

The exhibition was supported by the Arts Council NOrway and the County Council of Nordland.

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Dalane Folkemuseum
Dani Waagen Braatveit
Lidia Bianchi
Marianne Bjørnmyr
Melanie King
Rachelle Bussiéres
Riksarkivet
Dan Mariner
Mats Salberg
Iain Sarjeant