SPARK PLUGS 9TH EDITION
Layers unraveling is the 9th edition of the Spark Plugs exhibition series; presented annually at the end of the 1st semester of the MA in Fine Art; curated for the first time by students of the MA Curatorial Practice launched by the IUA’s Department of Fine Art in 2020. Over the course of this semester, the students have unraveled and deconstructed their artistic practices, layer by layer elaborating new understanding of their work. The exhibition Layers unraveling showcases these ideas and processes to date – a kind of spark plugs, ready to ignite something new. In their works, layers of textiles, paint, sounds, and forms are untangling, as well as the connections between body and space, our relationship to our surroundings. Materials unfold, threads unwind. Hidden histories and constructed narratives are discovered and uncovered.
Deepa Iyengar’s work grows from being carried away in unconscious processes. With a series of routinely executed movements such as automatic writing, sketching, list writing, or rearranging on her studio wall; she builds layers of thoughts and creates spaces of development. Her studio feels like stepping into her mind, in which – at any moment – something new could arise, out of her control. Precisely installed in the exhibition space Kubburinn, Deepa catches our eye with her work Balance of Power. Despite the small size of her work, we can feel the piece filling the space. Andreas Hopfgarten showcases 12 pieces in his photography installation. Large prints are hanging from the ceiling or are fixed to the wall and floor. He unravels his story traveling through Iceland but changing its narrative: While taking on the role of the “lonely traveler”, he consciously shields off or creates his own layers of truth. In his work A place does not become a place until someone has been there, Andreas deals with modern tourism and colonialism, and the privilege of being white and male whilst traveling through Iceland, always maintaining an ironic touch. The power balance, indicated in Deepa’s work, takes on another shape in juxtaposing Andreas’ installation to the paintings of Júlíanna Ósk Hafberg. Júlíanna works with soft, round, flowing forms, opposing the masculine shaped world of squares. Focusing on the shape of the frame, she finds it to be as flexible as the soft fabric canvas and explores the possible organic characteristics of its appearance. By painting a green frame to the white wall, the space becomes part of her three pieces Allt sem er vont, vont finnst þeim vera fallegt. / Feelings on paper, Óráðnar tilfinningar / Textile, and Snúllur / Small textile.
In the unusual exhibition space L292, Kristín Einarsdóttir has installed her sound installation titled Bergmál af öðrum stað / An echo from another space. Through the black curtains surrounding the room and blue light, Kristín creates a calm space, where visitors are invited to take a seat and spend time. In her sound piece, waves from Reynisfjara in the south and Hjalteyri in the north of Iceland meet – recordings from different places and times. The ocean – its rhythm, colors, shapes –, as well as working with spatial and time-related layers are constant subjects in Kristín’s oeuvre. In a never-ending loop, the waves coast into an imaginary shore.
In Naflinn, Victor Manceau invites the visitors to travel within his work, creating a world on the border of reality and surrealism. The Invitation depicts various forms of the image of nature – textile, photographs, painting, and sculpture – which constitute several layers of its representation, imagined or real, starting with the unknown territories, the “Terra incognita”. A different way to present nature is proposed by Thora Karlsdóttir, in Naflinn on our left hand side. She shifts the focus from humans acting in and experiencing nature, to nature as the fundamental force of being. She shows a drone video of her land-art project, which depicts the sentence “The earth loves you, do you love the earth?” written in red capital letters on a hill in the west of Iceland. In representing this original work on video in a new surrounding and context, Thora creates another layer of her gentle environmental activism, opening a space for discussion. Love the Earth is an ongoing project. “Do you only take from the earth or also give back?” she asks, verbally sitting in front of her work, or implied through her piece.
Sarah Finkle explores space and the body in relation to it. Her work called Tenuous, exhibited in Hulduland, starts from a sense of anxiety, finding a way to protect body and mind. By stretching layers of delicate textiles into the room, she creates a space where visitor and work are in a constantly changing dialogue. Working in the space, she always finds new ways to define it. In this fragile surrounding of threads, Megan Auður places her work Samastaður / Sharing bench, a bench made from wood and clay, creating a ground for conversation about sexual abuse. Framed prints of soft forms, reminding us of female bodies, can be seen on the wall. In Iceland, no support groups for survivours of sexual abuse exist. Through her artistic practice, Megan wants to initiate such a support group. Continuing this string of subjects silenced too often, Íris María Leifsdóttir wants to ponder things that may not be said aloud. With her grandmother, Íris performs the song Það sem ekki má by Jón Múli Árnas at the opening. While recontextualizing the song, she reflects on the changes in society that constantly affect what is allowed to say. For her research of Greenlandic materials that led to her work Rare earth elements, Íris was allowed to take the materials back to Iceland, for which you need a special approval. These materials, burned on metal plates, are shown in the exhibition space.
In the room behind Hulduland, Alexis Brancaz’ work Can I rest for a while? draws us in. His work shows a moment of everyday life between sleeping, dreaming, and awakening, in which Alexis consciously overlooks the initial sense of narrating. Through individual connection to the scenes in his video, associations define the layers of meaning, unraveling in an intimate space between viewer and work.
JÚLÍANNA ÓSK HAFBERG
ÍRIS MARÍA LEIFSDÓTTIR
Sara Blöndal graduated with a BA (Hons.) in Theatre design from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London in 2015 and is currently in the MA program in Curatorial practice at the Iceland University of the arts.
She has mainly been working in theatre and film since 2010 and has a production company called Muninn Film.
Sara considers herself to be really good at proplem solving, collaborating and drinking coffee.
Iona Poldervaart (* 1996, Switzerland) is studying in the first year of the MA Curatorial Practice at the Iceland University of the Arts. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Biology from the University of Zurich. In her curatorial approach she focuses on interdisciplinarity, experimentation, and collaboration.
Sunna Dagsdóttir (b.1997) grew up in Hiroshima and Berlin and moved to Reykjavík 2017, where she finished her BA in German and Art Theory from the University of Iceland. She is now in the 1st year MA Curatorial Practice programme at the IUA.