Pia Arke was a Danish-Greenlandic painter, photographer and author who examined the ethnic and cultural relationships between Denmark and Greenland. For her Old School Map she appropriated an English-language map of the North Atlantic, which she annotated in pencil. The four photographs in Imaginary Homelands alias Ultima Thule alias Dundas ‘The Old Thule’ presents houses in a near-desolate landscape, while the Legend I-II-III-IV-V series comprises five collages of maps of Greenland, as well as family snap- shots, which are layered with samples of commodities including rice, sugar and coffee, showing the imbrication of kinship, commodification and colonialism.

Pia Arke (b. 1958, Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland, d. 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark) was a Danish Greenlandic visual and performance artist, writer and photographer. She is remembered for her self-portraits, landscape photographs of Greenland and for her paintings and writings which strive to present the complex ethnic and cultural relationships between Denmark and Greenland. In the late 1980’s Arke began to exhibit her paintings. In 1988, the artist developed her own life-size pin-hole camera (camera obscura) which she hand-built, to photograph the landscapes of Greenland that she had known as a child. Her exhibitions and accompanying explanations encouraged Denmark to reexamine the colonial history of Greenland. Arke is now recognized as one of the Nordic region’s most important postcolonial critics and players as a result of the artistic research which she practiced for two decades.

EXHIBITED WORKS

Legend I-II-III-IV-V, 1999
Five mixed media collage
213.5 × 181.5 × 4 cm
Courtesy Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Presented with the support of Danish Arts Foundation.

Old school map, c. 1992
Pencil on parchment paper
60.9 × 44.2 cm
Courtesy Søren Arke Petersen and the Estate of Pia Arke, Copenhagen.
Presented with the support of Danish Arts Foundation.

Imaginary Homelands alias Ultima Thule alias Dundas ‘The Old Thule’, 1996/2003
Silver gelatine prints
46 × 44 cm; 55.4 × 43.4 cm; 46 × 56.5 cm; 44 × 47 cm (with frame)
Courtesy Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
Presented with the support of Danish Arts Foundation.

Untitled (Small camera obscura), c. 1988-1990
Small camera obscura photographs
11 × 14 cm; 18.7 × 50.7 × 1.2 cm
Courtesy Søren Arke Petersen and the Estate of Pia Arke, Copenhagen.
Presented with the support of Danish Arts Foundation.

Tupilakosaurus: An Interesting Study About the Triassic Myth of Kap Stosch (with Anders Jørgensen), 1999
Video: 9’18”
Courtesy Søren Arke Petersen and the Estate of Pia Arke, Copenhagen.
Presented with the support of Danish Arts Foundation.

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