The Un-homely - New Art from Iceland - Pressemitteilung

The Un-Homely – New art from Iceland

Sigurður Guðjonsson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardottir

Video, photography, painting, drawing

September 14 – October 21, 2006
Gallery opening reception on Thursday, September 14, 2006, 6-9 pm

Sigurdur Gudjonsson        Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardottir     Ragnar Kjartansson       ´                            

Despite Iceland’s small population, it is home to a surprisingly big and lively community of
interconnected musicians, filmmakers and artists. Their art reflects the raw natural surroundings and
wild landscape of the country and the long dark hours of wintertime. They often cope with this
environment with irony and a unique sense for the grotesque.

The films by the Icelandic video artist Sigurdur Gudjónsson breathe an oppressive silence, sough
despair, pant fear. The tangled fragments of a dreamlike tale about desolation, self-inflicted failure,
longing and denial, have convened to form a mystical requiem of shades.
Filmic and musical elements are of equal importance in these atmospheric works. Sound, vision and
cut are the means in the artist’s search for a not so much intellectual but physically and emotionally
perceptible abyss that Freud called the “Un-homely”.
Sometimes the artist freezes the results of his quest in dark and strange photographs.

A dense and restrained iconographic language raises its unsettling voice in the oeuvre of Sigga Björg
. Rooted in painting, drawing and textual elements her work unveils the funny and sad
activities of a group of troll-like figures. Her series of depictions of small, “ordinary” events, reprise the beings in image after image - here facing the viewer blankly, there with head buried in a fur-clad lap, and all too often surrounded by the traces of ambiguous liquids, or of violence.

The legends that haunt so many Northern European countries are recognizably present in the images.
Since Ragnar Kjartansson’s graduation from the Icelandic Academy of Arts in 2001, his career has
been characterized by experiments with visual art, music and theater. He works simultaneously as an
artist and a musician and considers himself mainly as a performance artist. He is a member of the
popular electronic band Trabant. The artist does videos, paintings and installations which are always
related to his performances. His pieces are characterized by the play between contradictory feelings;
sorrow and happiness, horror and beauty, drama and humour.
Wherever Kjartansson is, his stage is. As for his motivation, he says: “Art is for me like the Blues: I use it to purify my soul.”

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