Weather Diaries

“Everything is relative. The experience and understanding of existence depends on from what place and angle or side an observation is made, on when the observation is made and who is observing.” ~Rúrí, Artist’s Statement; Relativity, 1992, Iceland

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Nikolaj KristensenEna With Eyes Shut, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

The Weather Diaries is a prolific collaboration between some of the most gifted designers of the West Nordic Islands and artist duo Cooper & Gorfer. It is unique in its symbiosis of installation and narrative photographic imagery, taking you deep into the ingenuity of these three island nations where common is the ubiquity of isolation. Aesthetic and metaphorical, it deflects the conventional rhetoric of fashion.

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MundiThe Wind Portrait, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

 Instead of seasonal trends, it explores the inspiration of creative minds, probes links to cultural identity, and scrutinizes the impact of the inescapable physicality of nature and weather. Sublime, and at times fantastical scenery of the North inspires moody yet undeniably wondrous results.

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Guðrun & GuðrunSára, Armgarð and Alda on a Hill, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

“Their pictures are imbued with understated drama and an enigmatic tone. Unlike the discrete passer-by who single-handedly waits the decisive moment, Cooper and Gorfer carefully direct choreographed productions. The time they invest in creating a picture can be likened to that of a painter in a studio.” ~Dragana Vujanovic, curator Hasselblad Center

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Guðrun & GuðrunGirls as Twins, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

The resulting portfolio showcases the works of both young and established Nordic designers and artists such as Mundi, Shoplifter, Jör By Guðmundur Jörundsson, Steinnun, Barbara í Gongini, Gudrun & Gudrun, Bibi Chemnitz, Nikolai Kristensen, and Najannguaq Davidsen Lennert, Kría, Jessie Kleeman and Rammatik, exploring the roots of Nordic fashion and design traditions.

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KríaLola, India, Swing, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

Additionally, the book, published by the Berlin-based Gestalten, also features a number of insightful essays on the Nordic Countries’ relationship with clothing and fashion, as well as a collection of interviews with the featured creatives. Actual ‘weather diaries’ also feature in the book as a series of excerpts which date back to 1975. Written in a north Icelandic town Akureyri by Baldur Helgi Kristjánsson, the personable memories are accompanied by a series of beautiful landscape photographs, again by Cooper & Gorfer.

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Bibi ChemnitzSara and the Dog, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

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Barbara I GonginiJuanita with Black HandsBy Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.

This 20 minute film offers a glimpse into the behind the scenes of The Weather Diaries. Produced by: The Nordic House Iceland in collaboration with Cooper & Gorfer. Filmed in Iceland, Greenland and on the Faroe Islands, it brings you closer to these remote places and showcases the people whom Cooper & Gorfer collaborated with to bring this project to life. Sharing their reflections on isolation and the force of nature, consumerism, and the roots of creativity and human nature, that set the tone for the project.

About

Artists Sarah Cooper & Nina Gorfer, have similar backgrounds in architecture, art, design and photography, and have been working together since 2006. Cooper & Gorfer’s solo exhibitions include: Hasselblad Center, Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg, Kulturhuset in Stockholm and Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt. They were awarded the Swedish Art Book Award for both SEEK Volume 01 Iceland and My Quiet Gold. Their work belongs to a narrative tradition within photography, with roots in 18th and 19th century painting. Based on the personal and collective stories of place, where the pictures become condensed impressions showing the latent and ephemeral rather than the obvious. They live and work in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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The Weather Diaries: The Nordic Fashion Biennale, by Cooper & Gorfer, Hardcover, 184 pgs, Published by Gestalten, 2014.

Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer take an unusual approach to their topic by telling its story visually. The curators of the third Nordic Fashion Biennale present the work of both young and established West Nordic designers in a striking collection of photography that they shot on-location throughout Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. Showcasing the fashion in dramatic natural settings, their images are fused with a dark romanticism and, like much of their work, are reminiscent of eighteenth and nineteenth-century painting. Defying categorization, Cooper & Gorfer’s photos bring together fashion, photography, and painting. Their work goes beyond pure documentation and is interpretive, narrative, and utterly distinctive.