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Joar Nango: Girjegumpi at the Nordic Countries Pavilion in Venice 2023

May 20–November 26, 2023

Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale presents Joar Nango from May 20 to November 26, 2023.

Joar Nango, an architect and artist, has been compiling a library of publications on Indigenous architecture challenges for over fifteen years. Girjegumpi first opened to the public in 2018. This structure, social space, and source of information on Sámi architecture will go to the Nordic Countries Pavilion in Venice in 2023.

Girjegumpi: The Sámi Architecture Library is a spatialisation of Joar Nango’s dialogues and studies over two decades of practice at the junction of architecture and art. The project evolved and extended as it traveled as an itinerant, collective library. Several collaborators are involved in this adventure, including artists and crafters such as Katarina Spik Skum, Anders Sunna, and Ken Are Bongo.

The archive that Girjegumpi houses and shares is central to the organization—from rare titles to modern literature, the collection of over 500 volumes covers issues such as Sámi architecture and design, traditional and ancestral building expertise, activism, and decoloniality. It can accommodate huge numbers of people as a gathering place. As a reading room, it provides a setting for quiet study and thought. It creates opportunities for Indigenous creativity as a critical project.

Girjegumpi, a nomadic project by design, addresses the relevance of Indigenous culture in architectural discourse and construction today: the importance of collaborative work, building techniques and resource use in rapidly changing climate conditions, the use of locally grounded material flow, and sensitive approaches to landscapes and nature. It emphasizes the architect’s commitment to a more polyphonic vision of the universe.

Girjegumpi will visit the Nordic Countries Pavilion at the 18th International Venice Architecture Biennale in 2023. Sverre Fehn created the pavilion in 1962 to represent various forms of collaboration among Nordic countries. Girjegumpi opens to an international audience in this setting in order to continue growing bodies of knowledge, collaboration, and solidarity that transcend national boundaries.

Girjegumpi collaborators include, among others
Katarina Spik Skum, Anders Sunna, Petter Tjikkom, Håvard Arnhoff, Mathias Danbolt, Tobias Aputsiaq Prytz, Astrid Fadnes, Eirin Hammari, Anne Henriette Nilut, Ken Are Bongo, Ole-Henrik Einejord, Anders Rimpi, Grete Johanna Minde, Magnus Antaris Tuolja, Ole Thomas Nilut, Četil Somby, SDG, FINN, Ájtte, Arne Terje Saether, Eystein Talleraas, Tone Huse, Anna Stina Svakko, Anne Kare Kemi, Petri Henriksson, Katrine Rugeldal, Robert Julian Hvistendahl

Joar Nango
Joar Nango (born 1979, ltá) is a Norwegian architect and artist located in Romsa/Troms. His art is rooted in Sápmi, the historic Sámi homeland that encompasses northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Nango’s work investigates the significance of Sámi and Indigenous architecture and craft in contemporary ideas through construction, site-specific interventions, design partnerships, photography, publications, and video.

Parallel collaborations with other artists, architects, and artisans develop Nango’s work, notably the long-term project Girjegumpi. He is a founder member of the architecture collaborative FFB, among many other efforts spanning two decades of work (2010). He is now working on a dance performance with Carte Blanche with choreographer and director Elle Sofe Sara, which will premiere at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Following a winning proposal in 2021, Nango is currently designing the new Sámi National Theatre, Sámi High School, and Reindeer Husbandry School at Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino with Snhetta, Econor, and 70°N arkitektur.

Trained at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Nango graduated in Architecture in 2008. Since then, his work has been presented at documenta 14, Bergen Kunsthall, National Museum Oslo—Architecture, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš (Sámi Centre for Contemporary Art), and Kiasma.

Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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