14 – 18 May 2024

Private View: Tuesday 14 May, 6-9pm
Artist Talk with Professor Ioan Fazey: Thursday 16 May, 6:30-8:30pm

Death of a Mountain (2016-2023) is a photographic exhibition by Norwegian artist Christian Houge, exploring our complicated relationship to nature and the environmental challenges we are facing, inviting new questions in the Anthropocene.

Film clip from ‘Death Of A Mountain’, 2023 courtesy of the artist and filmed by Louis Rafael Rosenthal. 

Houge’s series is also an homage to an ancient giant. As if tens of thousands of years culminated into an organism’s last breath of life. Scientists warn that the world’s glaciers will be gone within this century if we don’t reduce global warming dramatically. Covering parts of the Rhone glacier in Switzerland with UV-resistant fabric to halt glacial melting and also represents Man’s feeble attempt to stop the inevitable in the near future. As with the installation of artist Christo’s “Shoreline” (1969), Houge’s exploration of this glacier helps him to re-contextualise a well-known natural setting. 

Based in Oslo, Norway, Christian Houge (b. 1972) has been making photographs for twenty five years, and new insights continue to open. Exploring humankind’s condition and the complicated relationship between us and Nature has been an ongoing theme in his work throughout his life as an artist. Houge often juxtaposes the visually aesthetic with an underlying sense of unease as this often emanates a cognitive dissonance in the viewer to invite deeper truths and personal references.

The series Death of a Mountain (2016-2023) was nominated for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 2021, and received an arts grant from the Norwegian Government in 2019. The solo show at Buer Gallery received much attention and was also exhibited at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow, together with other Scandinavian artists concerned with the effects of climate change. This was set up with the climate summit opening COP26. The series was exhibited at Huis van de Fotografie, Rotterdam, in 2021 including a climate symposium with the Norwegian Embassy in Haag.

Houge’s previous environmental work has been nominated for the annual Prix Pictet Award three times with his series Barentsburg, Shadow Within and Residence of Impermanence, for the themes Earth, Power and Fire.

His other series have been shown in museums, including a symposium at Johnson Museum, N.Y. and have been part of traveling exhibitions with WHATCOM (Museum of Washington) with the exhibition ‘Vanishing Ice’ and a three-year China tour (‘Paradise Lost’) on environmental issues with Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing and the Norwegian Embassy.

A full retrospective of Houge’s work will be exhibited at Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall in Arendal in 2025 curated by Åse Kamilla Aslaksen.

In 2012 he made a TED Talk with the title Exploring Man’s condition through photography and received Fotografiprisen (the bi-annual Photography Prize in Norway) in 2021.

Houge’s work has been acquired by both institutions, museum collections and private collections including (SKMU) Kunstsiloen, Nevada Museum of Art, Ministry of Defence, DOX Museum, Fotografiska, Eiendomsspar, Arctic Securities, Carnegie, WhatCom Museum, Haugar Artmuseum, Herbert Johnson Museum, REV Ocean, Økokrim, og Ministry of Environment.

His work has been published in several books on environmental awareness Publications include ‘Altered Landscape’, Rizzoli (Nevada Museum of Art), including purchased work for their collection at Center for Art and Environment. Vanishing Ice (Whatcom Museum, Washington), AntArctica, Haugar Museum og Landscape Futures, Actar and Nevada Museum of Art, SNU (Cappelen Damm), Rom for Kunst and Haydens Review.

Christian Houge. Image courtesy of the artist.

‘Coming to our senses in a world of transformation and environmental change’

Artist Talk Event with Professor Ioan Fazey

Thursday 16 May, 6.30-8.30pm

This event is a collaboration between the transformative artist, Christian Houge, and the transformations scholar, Professor Ioan Fazey. 

It will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on what it means to live in a period of planetary change and at the end of the world as we know it. The event will allow reflection on many questions, such as how we might make better sense of the enormity of change facing people and our planet; how we might learn to engage with it differently, and who we might need to be at the end of the world as we know it. 

The event will take us through some of Christian Houge’s artwork, which evokes possibilities for a deeper engagement with our senses in terms of how we individually and collectively experience our changing world. It provides the participant – if they are courageous enough to engage with the art – opportunities to delve into what they really feel and draw out aspects of themselves usually unspoken. Such engagement with our senses is critical to help support a re-awakening of the trauma many people are experiencing as the old world begins to dissipate and before the new has yet to emerge. Coming back to our senses – literally and figuratively – is an essential part of opening up new possibilities for more positive and regenerative ways of living. 

Ioan Fazey is Professor of the Social Dimensions of Environment and Change and Director of Strategy for the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, UK. His research, teaching and facilitation focuses on helping individuals, businesses, organisations and society develop understanding of, and capacity for, supporting transformations to new kinds of regenerative futures. Ioan has over 80 research publications in resilience, transformation, and change and in how our ways of knowing and the systems supporting them – such as universities and research institutes – need to change if they are to support societal transformation. He is also a teacher of shamanic practice, helping people work with ‘inner’ transformations needed for ‘outer’ transformations to occur and to encourage an alignment between sense of purpose, ways of thinking and actions to what the world now needs.