20.10 - 19.02. 2023
Transits - Reykjavík Art Museum
Over his career, Sigurður Guðjónsson has experimented with a broad range of materials from technical devices and domestic appli- ances to workshop parts and metal debris. Light, movement, and sound are manipu- lated through an imaginative process that is treated in various formats in his works. In this exhibition, Guðjónsson employs obsolete apparatus and media such as bulbs, radios, tapes, and slide projectors. He observes such objects with close attention to reveal some of their formal qualities on the screens and in the sculptural installations. The new, large- format installation Oscillation is presented here for first time, accompanied by works made between 2016 and 2021.
Lately, the artist has embarked on spatial compositions comprising large sculptural installations in which he is interested in the visitors’ movement. In Oscillation, Guðjóns- son explores the possibilities of spatial transformation through film. Similar to his work for the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Perpetual Motion, the work expands formal limitations by distorting the image via a set of cylindrical tubes that are used as the projection surface.The cylinders are placed vertically within the room, across which the projection beam transforms the visuals into a wave-like effect. The materiality of the work is enhanced by the movement, vibrations, and oscillations of the colours, in contrast to the darkened environment.
Interested in conveying phenomenological experiences to the viewers, these works find reference in minimalism. Exploring the concepts of time and space, and the chang- ing perceptions of the tangible order in our vicinity are of the greatest importance in Guðjónsson‘s work. He raises awareness of the prefabricated materials, their func- tion, and their parts – that through the work vibrate and become warped in close-up scales. These images are framed plainly by using screens and spatial structures that in- vite their circumvention. The artist manages to convey the simplest forms, determined to avoid adding any other meaning, instead, he is interested in just that which is made visible when the perspective changes. His works are not tied to a narrative, but instead, they interrogate the pulses of matter, and the ongoing shifting and alteration in the margins, the sequences that are made dis- cernible with the lenses or cameras.
Transits elevates the choice of the artist in seeking simple, observable forms, in underlining the physical spaces occupied by the artworks, and the expanse of the room surrounding them. Each work in the exhibition invites the viewer to consider the overall com- position. It seems that each new installation invites us to think about the nearby artworks and to scrutinize the room in search of a thorough purpose; to experience the quali- ties of scale, scope, volume, progression, permutation, resonance, modulation, gravity, and lightness. In the appearance of angles and the intersections across the space a presence of and an appeal for movement is created, and calls for a dynamic spatial and visual response. Sound is a key to each of the works, often combined with a deep explora- tion of the limits of the image and their liminal spaces. Despite the unvarying and droning pitch, the sound of the works as a singular voice draws attention to the sustained and looping events underway.
In Transists materiality is emphasized over objecthood. The artworks in the exhibition adeptly combine compelling visuals and soundscapes that convey the Guðjóns- son’s fascination for our physical surround- ings. As a unique composition, it brings attention to concepts of time and space and the exploration of materiality at the edge of perceptual boundaries.
Mónica Bello, curator