12. January - 17. February 2013
Drawings - Ingolfur Arnarsson
Drawing has always played an important role in Ingólfur Arnarsson's work. Pristine delicacy is a characteristic of both his paintings and drawings. The serene and contemplative mode of his drawings provides the viewer with a challenging opportunity to reflect on space and spatiality, light and luminosity, form and formality. Ingólfur has exhibited in Iceland and abroad, including solo exhibitions in the Reykjavík Art Museum in 1996 and the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, in 1992.
About the exhibition:
Ingólfur Arnarsson’s drawings lead a double life. From a distance they look like almost indiscernible units, precisely positioned colour variations, not discrete entities but parts of a calculated installation. The drawings seem effortless and the installation is notable for an equilibrium achieved by small but exact modifications of the space. Closer inspection reveals that each unit is a multilayered organic drawing in abstract tones or shades. Precise workmanship, delicate rendering, and almost obsessive repetition make plain the time spent on the work. Time thus becomes part of the work, while also bearing witness to the artist’s stance toward his task.
This exhibition presents drawings from the past two years and a series of forty drawings from 2007, as well as a photograph. The 2007 series forms a unity of gray-toned densely-worked graphite drawings and is thus a single work treating the values of a single color. In the newer drawings the texture is even denser and thus each drawing represents much time. While in the series the sense of time almost suggests a linear reading, each one of the newer drawings in effect conceals many drawings, so that time piles up on the pictorial surface. The photograph breaches the world of the exhibition, pointing beyond the space and displaying reality, and yet it underscores the reading that the drawings are a condensation of the reality that viewers will experience when they leave.
Drawing has long had a seat of honor in Ingólfur Arnarsson’s artwork. In addition to rendering drawings on paper Arnarsson has used drawing and watercolor in installations, and worked in concrete and plaster among other things. He has also drawn and painted directly on gallery walls and ceilings. Exhibitions of Arnarsson’s work are specifically tailored to each exhibition space and his precise, economical works have been dubbed minimalism. Here too a double life emerges, in the borderlands of minimalism and conceptual art. The latter plays a rich part in Arnarsson’s work. While minimalism seeks to empty the work of all references external to its own form and content, conceptual art seeks to objectify an idea originating elsewhere, beyond the artwork. Ingólfur Arnarsson’s work entails an interesting struggle with the notion of the artwork itself.
Ingólfur Arnarsson (b. 1956) earned a degree from the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts in 1979 and went on to graduate study at the Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands (1979-1981). In a career of more than thirty years, he has held solo exhibitions in Iceland at Reykjavik Art Museum (1996) and at Safn (2005) and has regularly shown his work at the Living Art Museum. He has taken part in exhibitions at the Centre for Contemporary Non-Objective Art in Brussels (1999), at the Drawing Center in New York (2007), and at the renowned Chinati Foundation in Texas. Following a visit to Iceland, Donald Judd, Chinati’s founder, offered Ingólfur Arnarsson a guest-artist residency; Arnarsson’s installation at Chinati has been continuously on view since 1992. From the outset of his career Arnarsson has played an active role in Iceland and abroad in mounting exhibitions of work by Icelandic and foreign artists. He was among the founders of Gallerí Suðurgata 7, an experimental space of the late 1970s, and was active in running the Second Floor (Önnur hæðin), a Reykjavik exhibition space open during the mid-1980s. Alongside his artistic production, Ingólfur Arnarsson has taught art, serving as Chair of the Multimedia Department of the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts from 1983 to 1993 and was a professor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts from 2000 to 2007.
Text: Ólöf K. Sigurðardóttir