Art Gallery of Alberta

AARON MUNSON & DAVID HOFFOS: Isachsen, 1948-1978
September 14-November 24, 2013


image credits [click to view]


Clearing the Runway, 1953. Medium format film (120mm), Black and white negative. Photo: Bill Nemeth.

The Sun Returns, 1970. 35mm Black and white print. Photo: Brian Brown



Isachsen, 1948-1978 presents the history of a remote arctic weather station that was located on Ellef Ringnes Island in the far reaches of the Canadian north. Here, over its 30 year life span (1948-1978), many men experienced the extreme isolation and wild beauty of the barren arctic wilderness. 

Through the lens of five men who worked there, the exhibition reveals the life of the station in photographs and film footage from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. Additional imagery, taken in 2008 and 2010 by more recent passers-by, captures the remains of the now abandoned station site. Conceived by Edmonton experimental filmmaker aAron munson (whose father was stationed at Isachsen as a weather observer), the exhibition features contemporary video interviews and re-enactments by former station workers as well as Munson’s edited selections of archival footage, which he culled from hours of Super8 film.

Isachsen, 1948-1978 also includes a new installation by Lethbridge artist, David Hoffos, a model of the site as it existed in 1971, into which Isachsen’s inhabitants are projected back into a cold night landscape. This unique window on the past provides insight into the intense physical and psychological conditions of the station, and the exhibition becomes a visual overview of the memories and stories that were created there.

The RBC New Works Gallery features new artworks by Alberta artists. Initiated in 1998 and named the RBC New Works Gallery in 2008, this gallery space continues the Art Gallery of Alberta’s tradition of supporting Alberta artists.

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