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Sigurður Guðjónsson: Perpetual Motion

22 October, 202215 January, 2023

Perpetual Motion extends from Sigurður Guðjónsson’s practice of examining the fluxes of energy found in material things. In experimenting with lenses, light, and motion, he amplifies and observes specific forms and objects, and reveals the energies they hold. Highly magnified images of metal dust are projected onto a giant split screen that results in a poetic, multi-sensory experience and transforms the space sculpturally. Shifts and disruptions on a micro-scale, in a compelling and profound order, are made visible in the work.
Guðjónsson emphasizes aspects of this tangible event and the continuities that occur within it in one unbroken stream. What occurs during this stream seems to be suspended in time, and becomes reliant on the dynamics on screen and the accompanying granulated sound composition. The visual nuances of the imagery reflect and converse with the detail in the soundscape. The screen becomes a window into another space where we might discover a multi-layered micro-world that, though eerily familiar, has never before been seen.
In Perpetual Motion Guðjónsson observes and captures the energies and frequencies of material substance in an ongoing and personal fascination with the hidden and untouched places that surround us. In creating ‘spaces of discovery, and in the processes in which he creates these spaces, Guðjónsson’s eye for the nuances of nature and an interest in transforming them into poetical immersive experiences is exposed.
-Text by Mónica Bello, curator of the Icelandic Pavilion
Perpetual Motion premiered earlier this year at the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, where Guðjónsson represented Iceland. This exhibition at BERG Contemporary marks the first showing of the work outside of Venice. Furthermore, this occasion marks the grand opening of a new exhibition hall, an extension of the gallery that has been in construction over the past few years.
Sigurður Guðjónsson is best known for his striking time-based media works that often focus on man-made machinery and technical relics, investigating their enigmatic, hidden elements just beyond our field of vision. The artist experiments with camera lenses, perspective, light, and motion, amplifying and observing these forms and the transformations that take place as they interact with their environment.
The interplay of sound and vision features throughout Guðjónsson’s oeuvre. The artist uses intricate soundscapes as the foundation of his works, drawing out the acoustic properties of his visual investigations to create a stronger link to the subject matter. Perpetual Motion includes a visceral soundtrack developed by Guðjónsson and Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson, which responds to the granulated texture of the matter in the moving images using stacked electronic sounds that have been manipulated via granular synthesis.
This project has been realized in collaboration with the Icelandic Art Center and Mónica Bello, the curator of the Icelandic Pavilion.
An exhibition catalog has come out in conjunction with the exhibition, published by DISTANZ, designed by Studio Studio, produced and supported by The Icelandic Art Center, The Reykjavík Art Museum, and BERG Contemporary. Furthermore, a new exhibition by the artist, curated by Mónica Bello, opens at the Reykjavík Art Museum on 20 October 2022.


BERG Contemporary
Klapparstígur 16
Reykjavík, 101 Iceland
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