photo: Brian Bettencourt
Janet Biggs - Toronto, Canada
The Arctic Trilogy, 2011 - 2011
26 - Scotia Plaza, 15 Adelaide Street West
[ photographs ] [ video ]
Janet Biggs’ Arctic Trilogy is comprised of three short videos, each featuring an individual
searching for meaning at the end of the earth. Isolated and vulnerable, the characters in Biggs' videos
struggle to define and defend their sense of self in extreme environments.
Fade to White follows a solitary explorer as he paddles his kayak through ink-black waters, gliding
past polar bears and under massive glaciers. These images are interspersed with ghostly appearances of
performance artist John Kelly dressed in white, singing a Baroque aria. Kelly’s age, androgyny,
and mournful voice parallel the vanishing Arctic landscape.
Brightness All Around takes us beneath the earth’s surface where coalminer Linda Norberg, works
in freezing temperatures and relentless darkness. Biggs has enlisted performer Bill Coleman, dressed
in black leather, to deliver a demonic chant to complement the hostile, industrial sounds of the mining.
In the Cold Edge follows a spelunker as he descends into a glacier’s crevasse and crawls through
claustrophobic ice tunnels. We follow his path as he explores the disorienting chambers formed by an
ever-moving glacier. The video ends with a momentary eruption of colour and energy as Biggs shoots a
flare off into a terrain as bleak and beautiful as the moon.
Janet Biggs is known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance. She lives and works
in Brooklyn, New York. She has had solo exhibitions/screenings at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montréal;
Hirshhorn Museum; Tampa Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Mint Museum of Art among others.
Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, and
Thank you to The Arctic Circle Program, Lesley Johnston and Smack Mellon
Supported by CONNERSMITH., Washington, DC and Winkleman Gallery, New York City.
Thank you to Tampa Museum of Art, Fade to White, 2010, Gift of the artist 2012.001
Thank you to Tampa Museum of Art, Brightness All Around, 2011, Gift of the artist 2012.005
Extended Project: Revisit this project between October 6 - 14. Details.