A Wash of Blue Ink

Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2008 at 7:52 am | See all Artists' Blogs, Landscape, Thea Eck Entries.
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I leave on Tuesday for Copenhagen, Denmark to do archive research at the Arctic Institute, which is housed in the same building as the Danish Polar Center and one of the best polar libraries in the world. The building is located in a section called Christianshavn. It is situated next to the Icelandic Embassy, the Representation Offices for Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and a cultural center called Nordatlantens Brygge (North Atlantic House) that features Greenlandic and Faroe artists, musicians and films. Too much going on within a small plot of land, which is actually a tiny island! There is also a building where you can buy Greenlandic goods such as frozen fish, music, and a few craft items.

In preparation for my journey, I have been spending some time contemplating how to approach mixing my research into my art. Specifically, myself as a traveler in a different culture learning more about another vastly different culture. It is a movement from the United States to Denmark and then to a Greenlandic and Eastern Arctic past that doesn’t exist anymore. Yet I am not an anthropologist or historian. I am an artist learning how to draw out this world, this shadow that I will be trying to follow. It is a half hidden iceberg giving birth. It is a visit to Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen’s house in Denmark, where he left only a wisp of himself, his real heart buried in the polar North. It is a sleeping dream, a coldness enveloped in polar bear fur.

Somewhere these detachments must leave traces of themselves. On a table lays a piece of paper. Onto it goes a wash of blue ink, a shape created by a moving pencil, an eraser attacking the pencil line, a second and third ink wash, another pencil moving deeper into the paper, scraping away layers of skin so that no eraser can extract the mark. Remembered are songs and dances, photographs and drawings, encounters dwelling in a building in Copenhagen, and a polar North brimming with them.



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