New installation by Björk Viggósdóttir. In her work, Björk often assembles multiple and diverse media. During the exhibition period, Björk refreshes her installation with staged live performances, changing the environment and giving the installation an altered appearance. As the title of the exhibition suggests Björk refers here to the natural phenomenon of gravity, an invisible force that constantly affects our existence and everything in our surroundings.
Björk graduated from the Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2006 and has participated in numerous exhibitions and artistic projects since.
Curated by Klara Þórhallsdóttir.
About the exhibition:
Gravity – Circular Motion
The visual world of Björk Viggósdóttir is highly symbolic. Her works are assembled from diverse materials to form multilayered installations.
Her materials are apt to be mundane objects familiar to us from our daily surroundings, such as envelopes, curtains, ropes, mattresses, work lights, and parasols, to name a few. Björk Viggósdóttir gives such objects new roles in her work. She upends their customary symbolism, so that we briefly forget their mundane purposes. In this world of symbolism and mundane objects there are laws that we don’t necessarily notice but which dog our every step. As the exhibition title announces, Björk Viggósdóttir is alluding here to a key fundamental of nature, a force that, while invisible in and of itself, directly influences our existence and our acts.
Earth’s gravitational force is a safety restraint that keeps the world together and us earthbound. Two forces are required to sustain an object’s motion; the clash between effort and rest becomes a motif here. Björk Viggósdóttir’s three-dimensional work challenges our faculties, as the artist requests our participation. Swings are a major element of this exhibition, as tools for perceiving gravitational pull through our own body weight. We sit down, rest our weight, and feel how we are able to relax all the muscles that we otherwise use to keep ourselves upright.
In this way we can harness earth’s gravitational force and feel perfect equilibrium within its very pull; yet we are in a constant tug-of-war with this mighty power. Despite the centrality of this natural force, which keeps life going on its circular journey through time-space, we are also compelled to overcome it, even battle it. We rise through buildings in elevators, fly through the sky in airplanes, and rocket into space in spacecraft. Yet when we fly in dreams we tend to use swim strokes, swimming being the only weightlessness we know.
The second part of the installation is video works. They are composed of fragmentary images collected by the artist in her travels. The mood intrigues as our attention is drawn to different angles on those moments when our gaze is caught by a flag luffing against its pole or fixes dreamily on the dividing line between sea and sky. A reflective air permeates these sequences, blending with an earthbound equilibrium: we are both at rest and in motion.
The installation may be read as an invitation of sorts to reflect on our passage through the world, as the artist asks us to reassess what we know about ourselves. Perhaps we all have our feet on the ground, doomed to live with the pull, but in our minds there are no limits. We forget ourselves in daily toil and disbelieve that we can advance our own hypotheses—create our own theories of perfect equilibrium. After all, we live in a fairy-tale place, a bewitching existence, since the only true magic lies in the mundane.
Björk Viggósdóttir (b. 1982) lives and works in Reykjavik. She has taken part in group exhibitions both in Iceland and abroad. She has put her hand to diverse projects since graduating from Iceland Academy for the Arts in 2006. Notable among them are the choreographic work Fresh Meat, staged with dancer Sigríður Soffía Níelsdóttir in London and Iceland in 2009, and Soundscape, a sound installation at Berlin’s MMX gallery (2010). She exhibited video work at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York and took part in the 2009 Reykjavik Arts Festival. She had a hand in the National Theatre’s 2006 production of The Bacchae, in which her video piece was part of the set.
Text: Klara Þórhallsdóttir, Curator