Hreinn Friðfinnsson in Messen De Clercq
Hreinn Friðfinnsson is amongst three artists exhibiting in Messen De Clercq. Friðfinnsson´s work, Untitled, perfectly complements the exhibitions of Lieven De Boeck and Adam Henry, with subtle photographic diptych.
Questioning the refraction of light in many works, Friðfinnsson is here showing a photographic diptych produced ten years ago. The Amsterdam-based artist has assembled a coherent body of work, rich in ideas and frequently guided by physical phenomena which constitute our perception of things and the world.
The diptych is composed, on the one hand, of a picture where you see a crystal prism mounted on a tripod and the artist’s left hand, capturing the rays of the light spectrum. On the other hand, only the right hand is in the picture and the rays land in the palm.
Besides revealing the colours of light that make up white light, these pictures show the light being received. A fine metaphor by the artist as a receiver of colour, painter of the world to come. Colour can disappear at any time, run like water through your fingers any second. The precarity of the moment is probably accentuated by the simplicity of the photos taken in a park in autumn. They are not part of a specific aesthetic exploration, other than in the subject itself: light, its composition, its components. The perpendicular hanging of the photos is a reminder that an angle of incidence is required for rays to be refracted.
The artist Olafur Eliasson, known for his explorations of light phenomena, briefly contextualizes Fridfinnsson’s research in his beautiful text devoted to his elder colleague: “The Icelandic light shapes one’s senses in a special way; it changes the way one perceives objects. The relation between objects and daylight or twilight calls for a constant re- composition if the objects and of ourselves” and he finishes his paragraph with this sentence which could be a description of the diptych: “If I were an object, I would be a subtle one, perhaps a quasi-object, continuously transformed by light”1. In the diptych, the subject continually transformed by light is the artist himself.
1 in Hreinn Fridfinnsson, “Having Hreinn in Mind”, Serpentine Gallery, London / Reykjavik Art Museum, 2007, p. 25.
In the full text, we perceive that Eliasson has great deal of admiration for Fridfinnsson and it is not surprising that the success of the presentation of Fridfinnsson’s works at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 2012 was acclaimed by the critics and voted as one of the top 10 highpoints by Art in America. Far from the bustle of the art world, Hreinn Fridfinnsson nevertheless continues to attract interest by distilling works combining conceptual rigour, dreams and magic.