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1957 Born in Oslo, Norway
The sculptures of Marian Heyerdahl are influenced by her travels around the world. Her artistic research has come full circle with special emphasis from the African, South American and Asian continents back to her home in Italy. Her work is primarily monumental in scale with projects in Africa, Asia and Europe and concerns issues of femininity and nature, often utilizing adobe in her architectural projects. Her recent "Terracotta Woman" project is Marian Heyerdahl's interpretation of the famous terracotta soldiers from Xi'an, transforming them into women. The "Terracotta Woman" exhibition was presented for the first time in Beijing in 2007 and was embraced by both the Chinese people and by the international media. Later the same year it was presented at the WOCEF Biennale in Ichon, Korea and was on view for the first time in Europe at Momentum Kunsthall in Norway from June 14th to September 1, 2008. "The Terracotta Woman" will be exhibited in Sweden at Edsvik Konsthall, Stockholm from May to September 2009. Plans are underway to exhibit this phenomenal body of work in the near future in New York.
The Terracotta Woman
Xi'an is well known for the Terracotta Warrior Museum. The archaeological excavation of these sculptures uncovered exclusively male warriors. The Terracotta Woman project is Marian Heyerdahl's interpretation of the famous terracotta soldiers from Xi'an transforming them into women. An army of 60 women and children sculpted in original uniforms as soldiers, officers and generals symbolize different stories as victims of war. Heyerdahl makes a statement confirming the continuous evil of the human race. She is focusing on the universal heritage of women suffering the atrocities of war, and as history repeats itself the project is also a comment on contemporary political issues of society.
Both feminine fragility and strength are integrated in the masculine power of the terracotta soldiers. By remodeling the front of the terracotta soldier and adding objects and symbols, this conceptual approach contributes to new interpretations and new understandings regarding human existence and perseverance. In appropriating Chinese cultural heritage and incorporating the contemporary art scene, the artist melts the past and present with the future. Each sculpture is freed from its cultural bonds and given a soul of humanity where the viewer can identify himself or herself.
The Terracotta Women was presented in February 2007 in Beijing at the 798 Space Gallery, and in April 2007 at the WOCEF Biennale in Seoul, Korea. Chinese media showed an overwhelming interest in "The Terracotta Woman", a 50 min. documentary of the project was showcased in September 2008 by Shaanxi TV in China. The project has been covered internationally on TV and newspaper through Associated Press, NTB and Reuters International, besides specially documentary and news presentations in NRK Norway, Sweden, Denmark and RAI Italy.
A catalogue has been published for this exhibition with texts by the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre,the Italian art historian Lorella Scacco, the Chinese art critique, curator Wang Baoju from the Today Art Museum in Beijing and by the Director Dag Aak Sveinar of the Punkt in Norway.
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