Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson Ladies, Beautiful Ladies Helsinki Contemporary
BIRGIR SNÆBJÖRN BIRGISSON – Ladies, Beautiful Ladies
Helsinki Contemporary presents the opening of Icelandic artist Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson’s exhibition Ladies, Beautiful Ladies on Thursday, November 27th at 5-7pm.
A scientific article back from 2007 claims that men have “a blonde moment” when encountering an image of a beautiful blonde woman. This means that their mental performance declines, mimicking the unconscious stereotype of a blonde. This article has puzzled the Icelandic artist Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson ever since.
The two-part exhibition project Ladies, Beautiful Ladies follows up on the latest developments of Birgisson’s ongoing project focusing on the question of politics of representation, addressed through the visual negotiations of blondes in our cultural environments. The theme of blondes has reoccured in Birgisson’s work for over a decade now, the subject matter varying from blonde nurses to blonde Miss World contest winners.
In Ladies, Beautiful Ladies Birgisson presents a variety of works that reach from paintings on canvas via installation on site to works on paper. What connects all the different media is the issue of how identities are made and shaped, distributed and retold, rooted and rebounded.
The work Blonde Musicians consists of over 400 old LP covers – only a selection of them presented in the exhibition – dating from the 1960’s to the 80’s, which Birgisson collected from fleamarkets. He painted over the covers in pastel colours, cropping out everything in the background, focusing on the figure that is then left visible: obviously, a blonde beautiful woman.
“The repetition in the work deals with both the reclarification and volume of the mass-produced things – finding it interesting to say the same things often and all over – and the way in which through repetition it deletes the original meaning and gives room to a new and other meanings.”
The exhibition underlines the actively politicized versions of what is beautiful and how that is used and abused – from any sides of the equation, wishes, wants and fears. The works confront the theme of what is believed and seen as beautiful. They are not illustrations, not an explanation of a phenomena or a clarification of an effect. Neither are they celebration or glorifications of the inherent quirkiness of our relationship towards beauty and blondes.
The first part of the exhibition project was shown in ASÍ Art Gallery in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson (b. 1966) is an Icelandic artist, graduated in the beginning of the 90’s. Blondes have reoccurred as a theme is his work for over a decade. His works have been seen in group shows and solo exhibitions in Europe and North America in both galleries and museums, e.g. Stop for a moment – Painting as Narrative, group show, Projet4L, Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art 2002; Pleasure Principle, group show, Kling & Bang, Reykjavik 2011 and Galleri Björkholmen, Stockholm 2011 and Blonde Miss World 1951-, solo exhibition, Reykjavík Art Museum 2007.
The exhibition has been supported by Embassy of Iceland in Helsinki, Icelandair, Icelandic-Finnish Cultural Foundation, Icelandic Visual Arts Fund and Muggur.
Image: Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson: From the series Blonde Musicians, 2011-2014, oil on LP covers. Photo: Vigfús Birgisson.