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News

»» Icelandic Artists at the Manifesta Biennial in Trentino
»» Ólafur Elíasson's Waterfalls in New York
»» Icelandic Art in the Heart of Chelsea, New York City

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Features

Shauna Laurel Jones:
Art Against Architecture
One of the most interesting exhibitions of the summer in Iceland was mounted at the National Gallery.

Jón Proppé:
Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, a.k.a. Shoplifter
With a work in the windows of MoMA and a roster of upcoming exhibitions, Hrafnhildur is an artist to reckon with.

Shauna Laurel Jones:
Katrín Friðriksdóttir
Katrin explores how and why ecological and human risks are artificially created.

Shauna Laurel Jones:
Katrin Fridriks Takes on Liverpool, Risk Management, and…Land Rovers

Katrin Fridriks’s schedule this fall is impressively full. Just having held a local exhibition in Reykjavík’s Lost Horse Gallery, Katrin, who lives and works in France, will be showing her work in Liverpool at the NICE08 festival and the Liverpool Biennial. And should you find yourself in Paris in September, you might also want to check out her artistic comment on the Land Rover.

Katrin’s involvement in the Liverpool Biennial began with an invitation to participate in an exhibition with four other artists in NICE08 – the Nordic International Cultural Events. Beginning on November 20 and conveniently overlapping with the Biennial, NICE08 will span the course of ten days, including exhibitions, lectures on Nordic history, and a theatrical staging of Snorri’s Saga. In addition to presenting Nordic visual art and design, music, film, and literature, this year’s festival will even include the opportunity for those claiming Scandinavian heritage to take a DNA test and determine “how Nordic” they actually are.

Ingi Þór Jónsson, founder and director of the festival, sees it “as furthering our cause to promote Nordic art and culture in the UK over the next four years.” Last November, Liverpool hosted ICE07, a festival of Icelandic culture and a celebration of the city’s historic links to Iceland.

Having seen Katrin’s work for NICE08, curator James Lawler invited her to present her own exhibition—made up risk boxes—at the fifth Liverpool Biennial – International Festival of Contemporary Art, which runs September 20 through November 30. The festival’s theme this year is Made Up, a celebration and exploration of the artistic imagination, whether it leads to the creation of fantasy utopias and dystopias, the navigation of the borders between reality and fiction, or the existential meanings conjured in states of extreme sensory experiences.

Through means of her risk boxes, Katrin explores how and why ecological and human risks are artificially created—and why they are sustained. Katrin uses abstract paintings as the basis of her three-dimensional sculptures, shadow boxes of sorts containing her mixed-media work. One piece in the series, entitled molecular spaces, is a 170 x 170 x 170 cm box made from energetic black-and-white acrylic paintings; inside, a number of test tubes filled with colorful swirls of paint are symbolic stand-ins for the databases of genetic material collected in Iceland as part of the human genome project. Turned upside down, some of the test tubes then become ammunition, and a model tank lurks in the background, poised and ready to fire. The work, Katrin explains, is an expression of the threat that collection of human DNA imposes: possibilities loom of insurance companies, for instance, accepting or rejecting applicants based on the “quality” of their genes. The risk here is, like so many other risks, born of and sustained by institutional desire for profit. (Perhaps visitors to Katrin’s exhibition might think twice before participating in the DNA testing that is a part of the NICE08 festival.)

Other “made-up” risks Katrin explores stem from the evolution of societies and developments of technology, the power of religion, the devastation of the environment, war, and, not least of all, crises over energy sources.

The concept of energy, in many applications of the term, has been an undercurrent to much of Katrin’s work over the years. Looking at her abstract paintings, such a statement is not surprising; many of her acrylic works, often quite large and with heavy impasto, explode with swirls and splashes of bright colors. She describes her work as an expression of “powerful and unforeseeable energy, as the geysers of her native Iceland.”

For this reason, it is not surprising that the UK-based car manufacturer Land Rover chose Katrin as the winner of a competition to create artistic work dealing with the company’s approaches to energy conservation. Land Rover will be presenting its newest model, the LRX, at the 78th Salon International de l’Automobile at the Porte de Versailles in Paris. Katrin’s souped-up LRX features her signature dynamic impasto painting, which she describes as resembling Landsat images. Applied directly on the car near the gas cap door, the swirls of paint represent not just landscape but waves of water alluding to hydropower, “the petrol of tomorrow.” As Land Rover has been working on reducing their vehicles’ CO2 emissions, the exhaust pipe on Katrin’s car is transparent.

The artist’s car will be auctioned for charity after the exhibition in Paris. But if you’re in Iceland rather than France, photos of the car will be on display at the Second International Conference on Energy Solutions for Transport, held in Reykjavík on September 18 and 19, 2008.

Before the busy Katrin Fridriks heads off to the Liverpool Biennial, she will hold a preview of her work in Reykjavík in early September. Visit her website at www.katabox.com for updated information.


LIST Icelandic Art News. Page last updated 13 August 2008. Texts and images copyright © 2008 by the authors. For inquiries and contact information see about us.

 

 

 

The photograph shows a mock-up of the large-scale installation Katrín friðriksdóttir will be exhibiting in Liverpool for the Biennial this autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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