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Artwork at KEF

Isavia has invited artist and curator, Kristín Scheving, to curate a series of art exhibitions which utilize the lighting systems in juxtaposition with videoart at Keflavík International Airport. The exhibitions are unique in that the visitor is present in the installation upon walking into the customs checkpoint all the way upon entering the departure lounge. Scheving has worked for over a decade doing similar projects with light installations and video-art in public spaces.

Gaia Breathing Variation lll
Gaia Breathing Variation lll (2017) by Sigrún Harðardóttir

The project is a pilot series. Selected Icelandic artists will be exhibiting works throughout 2018. Their work comprises of many aspects of the capabilities of the moving image that are especially fitting in the non-place of in-between that is an international airport. They connect light and video in ways that bring an element of presence to the visitor’s experience of the location.

The cultural landscape of today is in many ways defined by the images presented to us on screens. In a variety of contexts, a screen can trace memory and imagination, as well as equally geographic layers of the physical landscape- it is on the screen in which they are folded into a projectionable entity. The screen, however, is an apparition in itself, made through the transmission of light. Emerging from a site of public consumption, this exhibition series expands notions of light and electronic images from the art museum and is mobilized into a new spatial recognition that is part of the experience of motion, transit, and spectatorial life.

Three Icelandic artists will be exhibiting works between January and October 2018. Besides presenting images of the Icelandic landscape, the works also traverse between imagination and sensibility in a layered movement that travels from the surface to the interior. Using the imagination to record sensory perceptions, the works are strung between two worlds, or perhaps three, like a secretary between the imagined world, physical reality, and our technological condition. These works provide an intersection between spirit and body in which technology is at the synaesthetic forefront.

Misty Blue Rain
Misty Blue Rain (2015) by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir

The series begins with Sigrún Harðardóttir’s Gaia Breathing Variation lll. In the work, an opening in the earth is shown and from there we make our journey inward. In a pulsing manipulation of the breathing already inherent in the body of the earth, it is further impressed on us how much this earth is also our body. With  Gaia Breathing Variation lll, we see deconstruction and construction in the same miasmic breath. With the rhythms relayed as visual sequence, a tone is presented that is equally as penetrating as the vision. One can enter through the same porosity and open capacity for sensing with sound and vision in unison that only video can present with precise harmony.

From our entry into this opening in the earth’s skin, we go to a scene presented at the precipice of two worlds. Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir’s Misty Blue Rain captures a conversation between a man and a woman in an oneiric atmosphere filtered by a fractal lens as though laying bare the dimensions at our disposal. The artist seems to be waking up from a magical and transportive dream to a man’s voice who asks her critical questions about her existence that she answers with reflections from the dream. Ásdís uses the mirror, a device used for centuries to interrogate the nature of reality and especially that which predicates cinema. One of the first devices used in dioptics, the mirror is used as a trope for seeing through and understanding the projection of reality from device to image.

In the last exhibit we are taken to the inner spheres of the brain where our world is received through nerves and processed into knowledge and awareness. In Haraldur Karlson’s Brain (2014-2067), the beauty of modern technology enables a poetic choreographic voyage inside this intensely studied and remarkable organ. A variety of shapes, masses, lights and movements experiment with the viewer’s boundaries of this familiar yet unfamiliar phenomenal galaxy inside our heads.

Brain (2014-2067) by Haraldur Karlson

The power of the electronic image as a surface of mediation is shown in these works. As a surface, the screen mediates the inner and outer, both of which are a certain projection from ones own consciousness that regulates how we perceive and differentiate between internal and external stimuli. The screen becomes a place of transference, a glimpse of expansion from which to interpret the miasma of senses collecting information from your surroundings. However, the surface is also where connection and empathy takes place - where we touch, and are touched in turn by experience.

The way in which we experience images can help us find ways in which to read the world. The non-place of the airport is a multi-local site in which many events occur - taking journeys from one place to another, arriving, departing, flying and landing, accumulating sensations and experiences and being open for new ones. The works chosen for the exhibition series represent these transitions as well as represent some of the things you can find in Iceland to take with you on your journey - the intangible things. Inner and outer experiences convalesce into what one can process into memory. With the multitude of screens vying for our attention as we process our experiences, the image of a thing is presented to us as a surface tension of reality. The screen is presented to us as an entity itself, although one whose surface is projective, an omnipotent presence that can be refashioned like a cloth showing the surface tensions of the cultural impressions it absorbs. The screen is also a historically mnemonic place of encounter where recollections and reimaginings all take place within the same frame.

As in Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project, begun in 1927, to chart the sometimes overwhelming visual cues in public, commercial spaces characterizes the history of modernity and its obsession with visual surfaces. The play of surface, in fact, is the history of modern visuality, ornamentation, and the very aesthetic roots from which we project the screen’s surface.

Text by Erin Honeycutt

Sigrún Harðardóttir

8. February- 21. March
Gaia Breathing Variation lll (2017)

Sigrún Harðardóttir was born in 1954 in Reykjavik. She is a visual artist working in different mediums although technology continuously plays a running thread throughout her work. Culminating from an interest in working mainly with 2D art in the form of painting, her work has expanded into complex interactive environments. Sigrún studied in the postgraduate visual arts program at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. She has an MA in Multimedia Communication, specializing in interactive installations from the University of Quebec in Montreal and a BFA from Iceland Academy of the Arts. Sigrún is currently based in Reykjavik

Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir

22. March - 3. May
Misty Blue Rain (2015)

Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir was born in Reykjavik in 1976 and works consistently with video. Her work revolves around themes of disguise, transformation, ritual, and play. Her works are performed both in-person and live via the internet, a medium which is well-suited to the temporal and spatial dimensions explored in her work. In her performances that often use poetry, Ásdís uses ornate motifs that have both mundane and metaphysical connotations. She has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MA in New Genres from UCLA. She has participated in numerous group shows in Iceland and abroad including the Tate Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Roma Film Festival, and TBA 21. She is currently based in Reykjavik.

Haraldur Karlsson

30. August - 10. October
Brain (2014-2067)

Haraldur Karlsson (1967) has specialized in experimental video art for the last couple of decades. Karlsson holds a diploma in Mixed Media from the Icelandic Art School in Reykjavik and BA degree in Media Art from AKI (Academy of Arts and Industry) Enchede, The Netherlands. He studied Sonology at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Between 1999-2009, Karlsson worked at the Icelandic Art Academy as head of Media Lab. Karlsson has had numerous exhibitions, performances and lectures both in Iceland and abroad. He is currently based in Oslo.