THIS ISLAND EARTH
Stuart Richardson, Kristín Sigurðardóttir, Claudia Hausfeld, Pétur Thomsen og Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir. Curated by Katrín Elvarsdóttir
This Island Earth is the title of an exhibition that will be opened on January 20, 2018 at Reykjavík Museum of Photography. The exhibition is part of The Icelandic Photography Festival. In this exhibition, five photographic artists living in Iceland turn their gaze towards nature. Since the beginning, landscape photography has been a leading force in the Icelandic photographic scene, and its key mission has been to promote Iceland internationally and to preserve Icelandic national identity. The genre continues to play a crucial role in the photographic scene today. In This Island Earth, each artist´s approach is a highly personal one, which leads to a diversity in the composition and texture of the exhibited works yet parallels can be found. A common characteristic of the works, which include both photography and video, is that they all test our sense of reality in relation to nature and landscape imagery.
"This Island Earth addresses Icelandic nature in contemporary photographic art. One of the curiosities of Icelandic art history is that photography predates painting. Since the beginning, landscape photography has been a leading force in the Icelandic photographic scene, and its key mission has been to promote Iceland internationally and to preserve Icelandic national identity. In the past decade the movie industry has been showing Iceland's otherworldly landscape a growing interest, with an obvious tendency to use it as a backdrop for sci-fi tales of space travel and alien planets. Perhaps no wonder, as NASA astronauts trained for their Moon buggy expeditions in the Icelandic lava fields. It may thus be no coincidence either that the title of the exhibition — This Island Earth — comes from an old Hollywood science fiction movie. While the scenes from planet Metaluna were created in a film studio, they could as well have been filmed on location in the outskirts of Reykjavik's lava fields.
The works in the exhibition share that otherworldly atmosphere found in futuristic and fantasy movies. In the video series Undercurrent, Stuart Richardson records the landscape of a narrow fjord in the East, the only light source being the narrow beam from a lighthouse that sweeps across the deserted ground and exposes to us momentary glimpses that keep us in suspense of the unknown. Kristín Sigurðardóttir has created multi-layered compositions in her new series G-3/ Quadrant Alpha 1, 30205. The uncharted acres of Mars provide a guideline for sculpted atmospheres based on multi-layered photographic compositions that turn the familiar into the unfamiliar. Claudia Hausfeld studies holes and their opposites in her work Fores, working with the concept of foreignness. Her sense of isolation brought on by an unforgiving landscape surrounded by vast seas—this island called Iceland—forces upon her a feeling of entrapment that simultaneously serves as a key to explore perception. Pétur Thomsen’s landscape photography shows us how time leaves its poetic mark on the world. In his Settlement series Thomsen presents the viewer with shadowy scenes where artificial light creates an ominous atmosphere on grounds altered by the human hand. Hallgerdur Hallgrimsdottir takes the viewer on a dramatic journey to an unknown place in a series of black and white images called Fissures, where she mixes mystical nature with self-portraits she barely remembers taking.
Each artist’s approach is a highly personal one, resulting in a diversity of composition and texture. Yet parallels can be found – and all five artists present us with artwork that tests our sense of reality."
Katrin Elvarsdottir, Curator
Information about the artists
Hallgerdur Hallgrimsdottir (b. 1984)
After studying Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art and graduating in 2011 Hallgerdur returned to Reykjavik where she is currently based, making art, teaching and writing. Her work has been exhibited in various museums and galleries in Iceland and around the world, such as The Photographer’s Gallery in London, Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Fondazione Fotografia Modena in Italy, The Reykjavik Museum of Photography and Akureyri Art Museum. Recently Hallgerdur published her first photobook, Hvassast, which explores the beauty of the Icelandic everyday.
Claudia Hausfeld (b.1980)
Claudia Hausfeld studied photography at the Zürich University of the Arts and completed her BA in fine arts from the Iceland Art Academy in 2012. She has held exhibitions widely, amongst them in the Fotoforum Pasquart in Biel, Switzerland, Hafnarborg Art Museum in Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland. Her work is featured in several private collections both in Iceland and abroad and in the Hoffmann-Roche collection in Switzerland. She has been an active member of several artist run initiatives in Iceland, Denmark and Switzerland and is currently a board member of the Living Art Museum in Reykjavík. Additional to her art practice, Claudia shares the management of the photography workshop of the Iceland Art Academy
Kristín Sigurðardóttir (b. 1981)
Kristín Sigurðardóttir is a visual artist and a photographer from Iceland. She graduated in 2014 with Masters Degree in Photography from Parsons The New School Of Design, awarded Dean's Scholarships 2012-2014. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art from Iceland. Previous work experience include, Intern at Adam Fuss Studio, Teaching Assistance at Parsons and On Set Photographer for award winning Web Series „ That Reminds Me“. Her work has been published by Grymogea, Conveyor and shown in Iceland, UK, Faroe Island and the US.
Stuart Richardson (b.1978)
Stuart Richardson is photographer and exhibition printer based in Reykjavík. Originally a student of Russian and Japanese history, he became interested in photography while on a Fulbright in Vladivostok, Russia. The initial interest grew and he left academia to pursue photography. After moving to Iceland in 2007, he opened Custom Photo Lab, where he specializes in producing exhibitions for fellow photographers and artists. In 2014, his series Sodium Sun / Natríum Sól was exhibited at the National Museum of Iceland. The series was published as a book of the same name. Currently, he is a member of the class of 2018 of the Hartford Art School's International Limited Residency MFA. He has exhibited in Iceland, Germany and the United States, with upcoming shows in Denmark and Finland.
Pétur Thomsen (b.1973)
Pétur Thomsen studied art history and archaeology at the Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III, photography at École Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques, Montpellier, and at École Nationale Supérieur de la Photographie (ENSP) in Arles. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. In venues such as the National Gallery of Iceland, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography, and the National Museum of Iceland, Photoforum PasqArt Switzerland, Les Rencontre d’Arles France, Musée National d’Histoire et Art Luxembourg, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt Germany, Photo Gallery International, Tokyo Japan.
Pétur Thomsen has been nominated and received numerous awards and prizes. In 2004 he won The 10th LVMH young artists’ award. In 2005, he was selected by the Musée de L’Élysée in Lausanne for reGeneration 50 Photographers of Tomorrow. Thomsen is a founding member and former Chairman of FíSL, The Icelandic Contemporary Photography Association and one of the founders and co-director of The Icelandic Photography Festival.