From Greenland to Venice

Inuuteq Storch will be the first artist from the North Atlantic region of the Danish commonwealth to represent Denmark at the Venice Biennale.

Innuteq Storch, Keeper of the Ocean, 2022. Photograph.

When Inuuteq Storch takes over the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale next year, the occasion will not only mark the first time a Greenlandic artist represents Denmark; it will also be the first time that a photographer does so.

In a Nordic context, Inuuteq Storch is known for taking snapshot-like photographs depicting the everyday lives of young Greenlanders and combining them with photographic archival material. In his current solo show at Nordatlantisk Brygge, personal depictions of parties and daily life among Storch’s own generation in Sisimiut, where the artist lives and works, are captured in intimate images of fleeting scenes. In previous exhibitions, for example at Galleri Image in Aarhus in 2021, Storch has often juxtaposed his own photographs with works by older Greenlandic photographers, thereby accentuating the contrast between nineteenth-century and present-day Greenland. Outside of Denmark, Storch has had solo shows in Reykjavik, Nuuk, Tasiilaq, Raasepori and Umeå, and he is currently exhibiting works at the Sharjah Biennale.

Inuuteq Storch. Photo: Kuutak K. Olsen

While Inuuteq Storch primarily works with photography, he has also created film pieces, some of which are accompanied by his own compositions. A key aspect of Storch’s practice is linked to book publishing. He has five publications to his name, the most recent of which, Keepers of the Ocean, was published by Disko Bay in 2022.

Inuuteq Storch was appointed for the task by the Project Support Committee for Visual Arts under the Danish Arts Foundation, making him the youngest artist ever to represent Denmark with a solo exhibition at the Danish Pavilion. Storch, who was born in Sisimiut in 1989, graduated from Fotoskolen Fatamorgana in Copenhagen in 2011 and from the International Center of Photography in New York in 2016.

This is the first time that the new Project Support Committee – consisting, since 2022, of Jakob Fenger, Marie Dufresne, Jette Nye Jin Mortensen, Molly Haslund and Anders Gaarboe Jensen – has appointed an artist for the Venice Biennale. The committee has thus chosen not to continue the open call approach introduced by the former committee in 2020, which led to Uffe Isolotto’s exhibition in the pavilion in 2022.

In a Danish press release issued on 15 May, the Chair of the Project Support Committee, Jakob Fenger, made the following statement regarding the appointment of Inuuteq Storch:

Inuuteq Storch is a unique young artist whose sophisticated and multi-layered photographic double-takes investigate complex connections between past and present, between personal and national identity and between his own and other people’s images and views. His ability to make historical material come alive, full of topical relevance, is both poetically poignant and conceptually keen. Therefore, we believe it is important that Inuuteq Storch should have the opportunity to develop his project in the international setting provided by the Venice Biennale.

With the appointment of Innuteq Storch, a picture emerges of greater attention to representation in the Nordic countries. At the last Venice Biennale in 2022, for example, the Nordic Pavilion was represented by the three Sami artists Máret Ánne Sara, Anders Sunna and Pauliina Feodoroff.

Inuuteq Storch himself stated in the press release: “I am the first Greenlander and photographer to exhibit in the Danish Pavilion, and although some may think ‘about time, too’, I was very happy when I received the invitation to create an exhibition at this specific venue. It’s an important sign of recognition to be inscribed in the history of the Biennale, which counts some of the world’s most outstanding artists.”

The Project Support Committee has chosen Louise Wolthers, research manager and curator at the Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, to curate the exhibition. Speaking about Inuuteq Storch’s works, she said:

I have followed Inuuteq Storch’s photography with great interest and enthusiasm for several years. His work with photographic archival material and with his own subjects clearly demonstrates his entirely unique eye, and I look forward to developing the exhibition with him. The fact that this is the first time for a photographer to have a solo show in the Danish Pavilion is another reason why I am very pleased indeed to be part of this project.

Innuteq Storch, Keepers of the Ocean, 2022. Photograph.