Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson | Biennale de La Biche, Italy
Biennale de La Biche, Italy
12 May 2017
Biennale de La Biche is the smallest contemporary art biennale in the world. For its first edition, Alex Urso and Maess Anand, the project’s founders and curators, have selected fourteen artists from all over the world, one of them being Icelandic artist Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson. Although differing from one another, each participant was asked to conceive an artwork able to coexist with the environment of the location: the enchanting Caribbean island of Ilet de La Biche.
The title chosen for the 2017 edition is In a land of. This sentence, suspended and imprecise, wants to be a suggestion, an incentive to grasp the essence of the island as a geographically isolated place, but above all, a spot distant from all the limits and conventions of the contemporary art system. Moreover, the location is a transitory place, because it is slowly disappearing: due to the rising sea levels, the island is in fact gradually submerging, and in a few decades, it is destined to disappear.
The artist has been, therefore, invited to interpret the concept of a non-place, elaborating a work that can reflect the transience of time and absolute insecurity to which the island is currently subjected. Thus, the artworks themselves are no longer becoming monumental and durable fragments in the time line of art history, but fragile elements that decay, following the limits of the world they belong to.
Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson (b.1984) is a storyteller, a performer, a dancer, an object maker, an illustrator. He has a love for the absurd, by which is meant less an obsessive passion for the ridiculous, nonsensical or the odd, than a tender and caring attitude: he takes care of the absurd, he helps it to develop, he gives it a place alongside everything else where it can be your most disturbing neighbour and your best friend. More often than not Styrmir uses the written language as a genesis of his work. Written pieces are then adapted into live performances that activate obects, things and gestures. The performances and their narrative, that often are delivered as monologues, serve as an exhibition device for autonomous art objects. Styrmir lives in Amsterdam.