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To the River
Kira Freije, Anu Põder, Sif Itona Westerberg
Gianni Manhattan is pleased to present “To the River”, a group exhibition with Kira Freije (UK), Anu Põder (EE) and Sif Itona Westerberg (DK).
 
“A river passing through a landscape catches the world and gives it back redoubled: a shifting, glinting world more mysterious than the one we customarily inhabit. Rivers run through our civilisations like strings through beads,”
– LAING, O., 2017. To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface. London: Canongate Canons. 

All land is part of a watershed or river basin and is shaped by the water which flows over it and through it. It’s ever-changing bed, banks and groundwater below are all integral parts of a river. Even the meadows, forests, marshes and backwaters of its floodplain are part of its reach and can be seen as part of a river – and the river as part of them.
 
Nature constantly bears the inscriptions of time and force. Landscapes and the rivers that shape them always and inevitably speak of a past. The riverscape is what is left behind, defined by loss, an evolving force that connects the past with the present.
 
To the River draws parallels between the relentless carving of a river and a feeling of grief and loss, and questions how in both instances it seems that memory has always a physical manifestation and that the past is both a genetic and a quaternary sediment.
 
“There is no possibility of permanent tenancy on this circling planet. It isn’t part of the deal.” – LAING, O., 2017. To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface. London: Canongate Canons.
 
Kira Freije’s sculptures are welded metal straps that trace a forgotten body, a mnemonic exoskeleton. Freije salvages scrap metal, welds and heats it to give her material a potency and allow it to form a language of its own. To salvage can also mean to save something from loss and Freije’s sculptures translate this concept as a way to give agency to the discarded, neglected and re-assembled. 
 
Anu Põder’s Lickers and Honeycomb (both 2007) were originally conceived for Põder’s last solo show Super at the Tallinn Art Hall gallery. Echoing their initial display, the Lickers face the opaque wall of honey suppers which divides the room not only by sight but also by smell. The sweet waxy scent of honey that surrounds Honeycomb seems at contrast to the metal veneer of the Lickers. Despite their differing materiality both works speak to the structure of memory by embracing logic and intuition.
 
Sif Itona Westerberg’s wall reliefs take their starting point from weathered medieval corbels and bleached out frescos. Lethe – meaning oblivion or forgetfulness in classic Greek – was one of the five rivers in Hades. It was said to be running through the cave of Hypnos and according to legend was omitted light and sound.
Westerberg reclaims and blends stories, iconographies and hegemonic power structures to think about the trajectories of history, community building, archaeology and the epistemology that follows from it.
 

Kira Freije (b. 1985, lives and works in London) Upcoming and recent group shows include: Solo Show, E-WERK Luckenwalde, Luckenwalde GER; Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall, UK; Via dell’Inferno, Herald St at Galleria Spazia, Bologna, IT (2020); Far Back Must Go Who Wants To Do A Big Jump, ChertLüdde, Berlin, GER; Mouthing the living, undetected, on breeze or breath, Soft Opening Herald Street, London, UK; The Garden, Royal Academy, London, UK (2019); Companion to a Fall, Turf Projects, Croydon, UK; The Violence of an Imagined Dusk, 12 Mackintosh Lane, London, UK (2018); Dead Heat, Kunstraum Ortloff, Leipzig, GER; The Sleeping Procession, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, UK; Walled Gardens in an Insane Eden, Sara Zanin Gallery, Rome, IT (2017).
 
 
Anu Poder (1947–2013) Recent exhibitions include Ruum minu ihu jaoks Une pièce pour mon corps Space for my body, La Galerie Noisy-Le-Sec, Paris; Be Fragile! Be Brave!, Pori Art Museum, Finland (2019); Border Poetics. Estonian Art 1918–2018, Tretyakov Gallery, Russia; Chthonic Rift, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin; Give Up the Ghost! Baltic Art Triennial exhibition, CAC Vilnius (2018); Anu Põder. Be Fragile! Be Brave!, Kumu Art Museum, Tallin (2017); Every Letter is a Love Letter, Tallin Art Hall (2016).
 

Sif Itona Westerberg (b.1985, lives and works in Copenhagen)
Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Marv & sten, duo show with Asnjørn Skou, Oluf Høst Museet, DK; Tværsnit, Søby Summer Sculpture, DK; Idiosynkrasi, Ringstedgalleriet, DK; Extemporary, Art out of time II, PERMM, Museum of Contemporarary Art, RU; Unexpected Encounters, Latvian Centre for Contemporary art, LVA (2020); Extemporary, Art out of time I, State Museum and Exhibition Center 'Rosizo', RU;  Fountain, Tranen, DK; Cosmic Existence, Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art DK; Morph, Cassandra Cassandra, CND (2019); Sing us a morning of light, feathers, and scales, with Asbjørn Skou, M100, DK (2018); The Garden, Aros Trienale, DK (2017).