Pia Arke (1958-2007)

 

1. Legend I. (Series Legend I-V). 1999. Photo Collage. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Legend I. (Series Legend I-V). 1999. Photo Collage. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

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2. Detail of Legend I-V. 1999. Photo Collage. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Detail of Legend I-V. 1999. Photo Collage. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

 

Arke was a Danish-Greenlandic artist, born in Greenland to a Danish father and Greenlandic mother. While Arke spent her primary years in Greenland she later moved to Denmark, where she was formally trained as an artist at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

 

3. The Three Graces. 1993. Photograph. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

The Three Graces. 1993. Photograph. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

 

Arke’s portfolio of paintings and photographs became controversial in the 1990s for examining Denmark’s colonial past in Greenland. As a female artist she focused not only on the inspiring landscape of her homeland but also issue pertaining to indigenous women.

 

4. Gelatin print for series: Imaginary Homelands. Created between 1992 and 2003. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Gelatin print for series: Imaginary Homelands. Created between 1992 and 2003. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

 

Arke did not take traditional photos but experimented with different formats. She created a pinhole camera in her studio to take photos of her childhood home in Greenland, creating a somewhat dreamlike or nostalgic effect.

 

5. Photograph, taken with a pinhole camera. Exhibited in Imaginary Homelands exhibition, 1990.

Photograph, taken with a pinhole camera. Exhibited in Imaginary Homelands exhibition, 1990.

 

While Arke died at the young age of forty-eight from cancer, her legacy has endured. Her work has been published in several books and shown in major museums. Her work is an important example of art’s ability to examine and critique postcolonial relationships.

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