Norwegian Sigbjørn Bratlie builds untimely wooden igloo at South Square Bradford

By Mark Sheerin | 13 August 2013

Exhibition preview: The Wooden Igloo by Sigbjørn Bratlie, South Square Gallery, Bradford, until September 22 2013

Colour photo of garments on a clothes line, pierced by arrows
Be warned. “Wooden igloo building” is not and never has been a Norwegian tradition. The arctic construction by Sigbjørn Bratlie at South Square may look convincing, but it is far from the real thing. The real thing doesn’t exist.

The Scandinavian artist should, however, be pretty convincing. He claims to have 11 years’ worth of experience in carpentry and interior design. He will certainly have the accent. And as a look at his past projects demonstrates, he is no stranger to playing a humorous role or two.

The joke here could be the British weather, usually derided as changeable, but glorious in recent weeks. It is not yet the time of year for igloos. But that’s a fact that most of us don’t have to worry about.

Some of Bratlie’s audience will be concerned though. The serious side of the igloo will be an enquiry into temporary, inadequate accommodation. And to that end the artist is working with local refugees and asylum seekers to build a parallel shelter for the South Square garden.

Although European artists find it easier to travel than some, Bratlie will be reflecting on his own migrant status and the short term home he has made for himself at a Bradford arts centre. Expect many levels from this ambitious and potentially amusing project.

  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 12pm-3pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @South_Square‎.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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