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»» Katrín Sigurðardóttir exhibits in PS1
»» Nordic Dreamlands: Icelanders in Budapest
»» Overtures continue from Reykjavík to Upper Bavaria and Turkey
»» Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir brings strange creatures to Frankfurt
»» Gabríela Friðriksdóttir designs a globe for disabled children
»» Reykajvík gallery i8 at Paris Photo 2006
»» New additions to the CIA.IS archive of artists' DVDs
»» Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson bring out the polar bears


Inteview with Christian Schoen and Nína Magnúsdóttir
Real time festival in Reykajvík

More on the veteran artist who the Visual Arts Award honorary prize this year.
Magnús Pálsson

Bára Magnúsdóttir:
Snorri Ásmundsson
Enfant Terrible of Icelandic art and electoral politics

NEWS: Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardóttir exhibits in Galerie Adler, Frankfurt, New York

Creatures from a Hidden World

The Galerie Adler in Frankfurt shows new works by Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardóttir until January 6 under the title Slupophobia. These shocking but somehow fragile drawings have a strange power, as was noted recently in an article by Iris Rodriguez in Die Zeit. The gallery's press release leaves no doubt as to their own fascination with the material:

There is something human about them, somehow. At times there’s a head missing or instead they have huge black muzzles, hardly ever do they have eyes but still they always seem to feel. What exactly is hard to determine, but one thing is sure: They feel something, something human, pain, mourning, affection, despair, confusion.

On warped paper, the creatures of young Icelandic artist Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardóttir (1977, Reykjavík, Iceland) cavort in colourfully annulated shimmies, pulled-up ankle socks and fluffy tutus that raise the guttural sound generally reserved for the glimpse into a new mother’s buggy in most of the viewers. Still, the drawings are a long way away from belonging into a nursery, for when only watched long enough they begin to live, spew, drool, choke, crawl onto each other, finger, trample each other down, cause harm or just stand there mourning their dead.

Galerie Adler is proud to announce the first solo show of Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardóttir's hidden world in which these creatures with oozing jaws and hairy arms exist - a world on the other side of the looking-glass: The believe in elves, trolls and fairies doing mischief in the woods and harm to the people which is deeply rooted in the Icelandic mythology finds its way mechanically into the artist’s pictorial worlds: “I am very much Icelandic I think, and therefore my subconscious is full of what i learned and saw growing up in Iceland. I don’t deliberately try to do Icelandic things when I’m working. I just try to be honest.”

This honesty, a kind of self regard with safety clearance – for in spite of all, reason’s voice reminds you in the back of your head, the little wights are not real – the covered-up avowal of own mistakes and the search for one’s own standing the Sigurdardóttir’s drawings with the tales of mythological creatures. In sensitive yet ambivalent simplicity, the drawings look into contradictory emotions between laughing and crying, affection and disgust, compassion and gloating.

The fragile looks, the gently drawn tufts of hair, the ominous liquids, the colouring that might as well be socks as traces of wading through a knee-deep puddle of blood abduct the viewer into the realm of emotions. “The contrast between horror and beauty and the state of mind you get in when you don’t know when something is disgusting, beautiful, sad or funny. Have you ever started laughing when something sad happens? I have and I’m not proud of it…“

There is no huge stories, no string of successive actions guiding through the series. They come into being casually, gather like loose pages of a storybook all letters have disappeared from. The fight with the blender or tears shed over a broken washing machine – great gestures and heroic pathos are searched in vain in Sigga Bjorg Sigurdardóttir’s drawings. “When I am working”, Sigurdardóttir says, “I put all the drawings on the wall of my studio so little by little my walls are more or less plastered with drawings. The drawings affect each other and affect me when I am working on new ones. Each series then becomes like a family. It is not on purpose that one family has a lot of stripy clothes then, it’s more like a fashion in my studio at that time.”

It’s the everyday life, the usual, always a little surprising and always a little unnerving everyday life that the creatures have to cope with, sometimes funny, sometimes malicious, sometimes in entire resignation but always strikingly outspoken and without the façade of political correctness. They are snap-shots of a weird blend of emotions that goes beyond verbal description.

„I think we all mix up reactions to feelings sometimes. Also when you try not to think and edit yourself, which is the way I try to work, all your most extreme feelings come up and it is hard to hide it without lying. And I don’t lie when I’m working. The whole point is to be honest and tell the truth whatever it looks like.”


LIST Icelandic Art News. Page last updated 10 December 2006. Texts and images copyright © by the authors. For inquiries and contact information see about us.







There is more information about Sigga Björg's Frankfurt show at Galerie Adler, including lots of pictures.