Fenntarthatóság és Kortárs Mûvészet
‘Endangered Waters’
Liget Galeria Budapest, 28 March – 8 April 2006
Opening Tuesday 28 March 2006 at 18.00

Iceland is branded as the world’s leading ecological nation, using its unique geography and geology to produce seemingly limitless amounts of renewable energy. Today geothermal power from the depths of the earth heats 90% of homes and businesses and hydrogen fuel is already in use for public transport, holding out the promise of reducing dependence on fossil fuels ‘not just a bit, but to zero.’ Furthermore, 83% of Iceland’s electricity is generated by hydropower, while the country uses only 15% of the ‘renewable, pure and clean’ energy at its disposal.

The Icelandic artist Ruri, in her series of photographic and sound installations Endangered Waters, archives elements of the natural landscape that are threatened with extinction as a consequence of human intervention. She catalogues the qualities of individual waterfalls in Iceland, preserving their unique sounds and appearance, for a future in which they may have ceased to exist. Her work is dedicated to exposing the huge environmental costs of Iceland’s exploitation of hydroelectric power by highlighting the threat to the survival of Iceland’s waterfalls posed by extensive dam building and the fact that two thirds of the energy produced is used by the multinational aluminium industry at below market rates. Her practice is rooted in conceptual art and challenges traditional landscape categories. Along with installations, she uses sculpture, multi media and performance to produce environmental art on a grand scale with a strong spiritual dimension and a real political edge.

Ruri’s recent projects include erecting a monument Terra Vivax (2005) in volcanic basalt engraved with the names of all the volcanoes in the world that have erupted in historic times. Her multi-media performance Vocal (2005) unfolded as a vast video projection of a waterfall, accompanied with a soundtrack and live improvisation on church organ. Ruri represented Iceland at the 50th Venice Biennial with Archive: Endangered Waters, creating one of the most memorable national pavilions.

The exhibition in Liget Galeria is the first solo presentation of Ruri’s work in Hungary, and is organised on the occasion of the international symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art at Central European University Budapest, 30-31 March 2006

Maja and Reuben Fowkes