About PolArt

Artists joining on expeditions

It has been a tradition to take artist along on scientific expeditions. The very first pictures of the North of Norway were a result of exactly these kind of undertakings, more and more frequent from the 18th century on.

Artists primarily partook to document landscapes and scientific findings through drawings and scetches and more elaborate graphic techniques later on. Also painters joined the expeditions and were able to show raw and exotic nature in the European salons afterwards. Eventually, photography took over this documenting function.

Presently, we have a clear understanding of this landscape, it is no longer unknown. Today's artists joining on polar expeditions are witnessing a changing and maybe disappearing landscape: it still is a majestic and grand landscape, but other angles and reflections give it a murkier undertone.

Rudi Caeyers joined the iAOOS-expedition in April 2007, organised by the Norwegian Polar Institute, the University of Tromsø; and the Meteorological Institute. The journey took us north of Spitsbergen (80º;19'N) and to the Fram Strait, into the ice flows East of Greenland (76º;32'N). The landscape one meets in the Arctic is striking: "I always loved long and wide horizons, finding them in abundance up there. The surroundings are hostile to humans, but also strikingly beautiful with a meditative quality to it."

Under the Norwegian title "Sirenene", Rudi Caeyers showed a series of landscape photographs at Tromsø Kunstforening in January 2008. Illustrating the empty and hostile, Arctic environment, hypnotisingly beautiful at the same time.

This project is a collaboration between ARCTOS/Young Scientist Forum, Troms Fylkeskultursenter and Tromsø Kunstforening. The artistic outcome from these cruises will be presented at the PolArt exhibition held in January each year in connection with the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø.