Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir | Places at Galleri Christoffer Egelund
OPENING RECEPTION FRIDAY MAY 29TH FROM 5.00-7.30 PM
STEINUNN ÞÓRARINSDÓTTIR / PLACES / 29.05.-20.06.2015
Gallery Christoffer Egelund proudly present the exhibtion PLACES by the Icelandic artist Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir.
Walking into Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir’s Reykjavík studio can be a little disconcerting at first, even daunting, as if you had crossed a threshold of some kind and entered another dimension, another world. It is also astonishing. The crowd of life-sized and partial figures of plaster, cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze and glass encountered throughout the several rooms seem to be a special breed of beings, anonymous, androgynous, part human, part alien. Scattered about the studio are also many sculptures of beautiful wings, surely a sign of visitants from other worlds. Some of these figures are free-standing, others are hung on the walls or seem to emerge from them. Still others were placed on pedestals while the unfinished pieces were stretched out on tables as if anaesthetized, waiting to be awakened by the artist’s transformative, animating touch.
Þórarinsdóttir has always made figurative sculpture and since 1977, the forms have been primarily life-sized. She wants her sculpture to occupy the same space as the viewer, not confrontationally but as doppelgangers and alter egos, as something directly experienced. Her preference for figuration was not common at the time and because of it, instead of first studying at the Iceland Academy of the Arts where almost all Icelandic artists go for their foundation courses before completing a degree abroad, Thórarinsdóttir went to England and attended Portsmouth College of Art and Design, then the Portsmouth Polytechnic, completing her education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy, all institutions where the figure was admired and taught. In Iceland, in Reykjavík, her uncanny progeny appear everywhere, familiar presences on the streets of the city, around the harbor, in public and private buildings, churches, parks and other locations.
As an artist who frequently shows internationally, her figures slip effectively into other locations in repercussive dialogue with the selected site. Innovatively installed, with theatrical flair, they are sometimes presented as haunting ensembles of upright figures by the sea, encircled by ancient trees, poised on gleaming elongated pedestals that loft them skyward into the blue or replicated in shining panels that function as backdrops. Other times they appear as a single figure or in pairs, seated on a park bench, a rocky outcropping, or standing, arms and head thrown back, facing the world yet enveloped in their own poignant silence and solitude. One particularly gripping figure—in reality a head and torso–was placed on the ground as if buried, its head facing upward, arms pressed to its sides in Job-like pain and resignation. A recent work consists of two cast iron heads and torsos close together, their powdery surfaces a beautiful orange-gold, emerging from a square four-foot tall plinth, their reaction centrifugal as they pull away from each, separate but proximate, a microcosm of the human condition.
Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator, essayist and critic who contributes to several publications in the United States and abroad. She writes regularly for Art in America and is a contributing editor at ARTnews.
Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Europe, Japan, Australia and USA. Among them are Scandinavia Today touring USA and Japan, The Beijing Biennale, Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney, Kolonialen, Opening exhibition of the North Atlantic Bridge in Copenhagen, Heads, Figures and Ideas at Osborne Samuel in London, Fresh Figures and Abstractions at Scott White Contemporary in California, The National Gallery of Iceland and The Reykjavík Art Museum, Sculpture at Pilane in Sweden with 7 other sculptors, among them are Tony Cragg, Ursula von Rydingsvard and Jittish Kallat.
Her work is in many prominent public and private collections worldwide. Among them are The National Gallery of Iceland, The City of Reykjavík, The collection of Carl XVI Gustav, the King of Sweden, The State Hospital in Copenhagen, The Danish Banker´s Association, Hall Financial Group in Texas, Kathryn Hall Vineyards in California, Royal Carribbean, Cliff Lede Vineyards, The Estate of Sir Rocco and Lady Forte in England, The University of Aberdeen, Scotland, The City of Hull in England, The Elgiz Museum, Istanbul, The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, The Brauer Museum, USA, Mission Hill Family Estate, BC, Canada and Cawdor Castle in Scotland.
Galleri Christoffer Egelund cordially invites you to the opening of Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir “Places” Friday the 29th of May from 16-19. The artist will be present during the opening reception. The exhibition will run until 20th of June 2015. Opening hours: Monday-Friday from 11-18, Saturdays from 12-16. For further information and press photographs, please contact the gallery at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at +45 33 93 92 00.