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Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson: Fake Flowers
3 June–25 June
Pálshús Museum, Ólafsfjörður
When a beautiful rose dies beauty does not die because it is not really in the rose. Beauty is an awareness in the mind. It is a mental and emotional response that we make. We respond to life as though it were perfect.
Agnes Martin, Beauty is the Mystery of Life.
In the show Fake Flowers, we are offered false impressions. Art and especially paintings have through history been said represent a window to reality, but what is that reality and is art, all considered, anything more but an illusion or fake.
The artificial beauty of fake flowers can fascinate in many ways. The artist Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson inherited a collection of fake flowers from his mother. She had been a flower enthusiast. Birgir felt he had to do the collection and its story justice. Several ways were possible. Fake flowers are replicas of live ones and therefore it was interesting to make prints on paper from the flowers, archive them as some sort of replicas of replicas. Live flowers, regardless of their beauty, refer to impermanence and the fact that existence is only temporary. We can therefore picture fake flowers, as a means to deny the impermanence, at least postpone it. In the show there is also one painting by Birgir, related to Eyjafjörður. It is based on an old press photo of a couple that used to run a foster home in Hjalteyri. A home that has been in the news recently because its operation has been highly criticized. The image of the home and its declared kindness turned out to be a fabrication or fake.
Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson was born in Akureyri in 1966 and studied at The Icelandic College of Art and Crafts in Iceland and École des Arts Décoratifs, Strasbourg, France. Birgir addresses political, social and historical issues in the present day. He expertly combines sensitivity and tenderness with the sober content of his work. The earnest, murmured narrative conjured up by Birgir compels the onlooker to address critical thinking, by unveiling the innocent character and all the gentleness that emanates from his work.