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The Journey of Traveling Sun


The Sun does not rise for months at a time in some areas of Norway during the long, harsh winter. Begun in 2012, an ongoing project to bring the Sun–both literally and metaphorically–to those experiencing this deficit of sunlight was undertaken by IstadPacini Art Lab, a collaboration between artists Christine Istad and Lisa Pacini.

Istad and Pacini were inspired to make an artificial Sun that could travel by looking to ancient myths, such as the Egyptian solar barge believed to transport the Sun god Ra each night from west to east. The artists designed a flat, circular form with a diameter of almost 10 feet (3 meters) that glows in gradually alternating hues of red, orange, and pink. Hooked up to a generator and perched on the back of a flatbed trailer, the brightly-lit sculpture has been trucked by the artists cross-country, sometimes through ice and snow.

It has even traveled via ship, and has been over into London, England. At each destination, the glowing disk has been installed on the periphery of a cultural building, transforming the dark, frigid terrain with its welcoming light.

Christine Istad

Christine Istad primarily works in photography, video, and installation art. She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Norway and abroad, including the KUBE Art Museum. She received her education from Westerdals School of Communication and Parsons School of Design in New York.

Lisa Pacini

Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lisa Pacini moved to Norway twenty-four years ago. Her main body of work focuses on reflections and installations using Plexiglas and mirrors, and is often site-specific. Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Norway and other parts of Europe, and she has completed artist residencies at the Circolo Scandinavo and American Academy, both in Rome. Pacini studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yale University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York (SUNY).

Documented by way of digital images, a road movie, and a blog site, the IstadPacini Art Lab’s Traveling SUN will have journeyed 5,500 miles by the end of this year. Follow the Traveling SUN while it cheers the wintry landscape of Reykjavik, Iceland, from its perch on The Nordic House:

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