Fredrik Raddum's (1973) new exhibition "Hacienda Paradise - Utopia Experiment” opens Thursday March 23rd, at Galleri Brandstrup in Oslo. The exhibition consists of eleven new sculptures and an extensive installation created uniquely for the gallery space.
"Hacienda Paradise - Utopia Experiment” revolves around the human need for reinvention through relocating and migrating. The exhibition title takes us back to a group of dreamy homesteaders from Europe who left their homes to live on the Galápagos Islands in the 1930's. They all left in search for a better life and a new beginning, but their migration to what they expected to be a new Eden resulted in what today is referred to as "The Galapagos Affair”.
The Galapagos Islands are a small chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of Ecuador, to which they belong. The first to move was the German Dr. Ritter, who arrived with his lover at Galapagos in 1929. Shortly thereafter, European newspapers caught interest in the two lovers that had escaped civilization for a better and cleaner life in The Pacific, a modern day “Eden”. Their adventure made them celebrities and not long after their arrival, more people migrated to the islands in search for a new life. The following settlers was the Wittemer family, And shortly after an eccentric Australian woman settled down with her two German lovers and a servant. Her real name was Eloise Wehrbon de Wagner-Bosquet. She declared herself the “Empress of Forteana” and announced her plans to build a grand luxury hotel for rich yachters on Floreana. This is where paradise ends and the mysterious story of "The Galapagos Affair” begins, of which you can read about in Erling Dokk Holm’s essay about the exhibition "Hacienda Paradise - Utopia Experiment”.
The Baroness’ idea of building a hotel on the island was not popular among the other settlers. The small shack guesthouse was build and she called it “Hacienda Paradise”, but it was never idyllic.
With reference to the Baroness’ Hacienda Paradise Raddum takes hold of his own issues and has built his own utopian dream, the installation Hacienda Paradise. The fragile installation looks like it is built in the forest and brought into the exhibition.
The following collapse of Dr. Ritter’s utopian paradise is part of «The Gallapogos Affair», which is based on a series of events that resulted in a mystery that has puzzled historians ever since the 1930-ies. In the exhibition "Hacienda Paradise - Utopia Experiment” one can recognize sculptures echoing the people who migrated to the island, but the underlying subject of the exhibition is still universal, reminding us that we can change our surroundings, but we cannot escape from ourselves.