i8 gallery at Art Basel
For Art Basel 2014, i8 Gallery will show works by three principal members of the Icelandic avant-garde artists’ collective, SÚM. Although short-lived (1965-1972) and lacking an explicit unifying manifesto, the impact and influence of SÚM has nonetheless been marked; effectively defining the course of contemporary art in Iceland.
Some efforts to account for SÚM’s significance have set the artists in direct opposition to the political and cultural establishment of the time, but since the group’s inception, the SÚM artists themselves have rejected such political or sociological contextualization. In fact, despite their diverse range of artistic approaches, the intentions of the SÚM artists were always aesthetically based. Influenced by bigger movements such as Dada, Pop Art, and Fluxus, the young SÚM artists, like other young artists elsewhere, were experimenting with a radical reevaluation of artistic expression within their own particular environment and experience.
i8’s booth will feature works from Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Hreinn Fridfinnsson, and Kristján Gudmundsson, working artists in their 70s that perhaps best exemplify the SÚM spirit. In a selection of seminal works from 1970 -1980 as well as more recent works, each artist can be seen to embrace the unique “poetic conceptualism” that has come to be associated with SÚM and indeed throughout their own individual practices. The show will include work from Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s photographic series Situations (1970-1980) and recent porcelain sculptural text works; from Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Attending, a photographic work from 1973 and Autumn leaves, an installation with found Ginko leaves; and from Kristján Gudmundsson, two- and three-dimensional works of graphite and paper from the ongoing series, Drawings. Art Basel 2014 will present a rare opportunity to view these artists together, both in this late stage in their career and in their early beginnings in the context of SÚM.
Sigurdur Gudmundsson (b. 1942)
Lives and works in Xiamen and Amsterdam
Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s visual poems, sculptures, performances and particularly his photographic works are imbued with the dominance and beauty of nature. His vintage photographs from the 70s series Situations, is comprised of staged situations confronting the balance between nature and culture. Human existence is depicted in a humorous and pointed manner, as part of nature; a Heraclitian moment. Gudmundsson’s work was most recently shown as a part of the Ends of the Earth, Land Art exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles and Haus der Kunst in Munich. Situationswas featured at the 2012 Sao Paulo Biennale.
Kristján Gudmundsson (b. 1941)
Lives and works in Reykjavik
Gudmundsson’s work is defined by the essential, both in form and concept, working as he describes, “within the tension that exists between nothing and something”. His acute aesthetic investigations include his Drawing series, a search for the essence of drawing in the juxtaposition of graphite and paper through a variety of two- and three-dimensional forms. He has been steadfastly consistent in his four-decade long exploration of the terms and foundations of drawing and painting, and the visualization of time and dimensions, and cause and effect. Gudmundsson has taken the basic equations of drawing and writing to their limits and in the process has upended the most basic assumptions about what a drawing or writing is. His drawings combine layered cardboard ribbon reliefs, large rolls of industrial paper, graphite blocks, and mechanical pencil leads with the results bordering on sculpture. Gudmundsson’s work was recently shown as a part of theEnds of the Earth, Land Art exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles and Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Hreinn Fridfinnsson (b. 1943)
Lives and works in Amsterdam
Fridfinnsson’s work explores the poetic and philosophical in everyday human experience. Hreinn’s vocabulary, underscored by a delicate sense of humour, encompasses dreams, folklore, doubling and perceptual tricks. By using different media in his research, he utilises an economy of means to evoke a rich panoply of associations. The artist’s primary materials are by nature frail or illusory: glass, gold leaf, paper, mirrors, and everyday objects. His artistic attitude has been characterized as a constructive interpretation of humble things, one that transforms the familiar into the new while also incorporating the very process of transformation into the work. Fridfinnsson has exhibited widely, most notably with his 2007 solo show at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and his recent participation in Ends of the Earth, Land Art exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles and Haus der Kunst in Munich. Fridfinnsson’s work was featured at the 2012 Sao Paulo Biennale.
For further information on the artists or the works shown at Art Basel, contact Audur Jörundsdóttir on +354 695 8388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Art 45 Basel Hours:
Tuesday, June 17 – 11-8pm (Invitation Only)
Wednesday, June 18 – 11-3pm (Invitation Only) & 3-8pm (Vernissage)
Thursday, June 19 – Sunday, June 22 – 11-7pm