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Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt Presents Gabríela Frioriksdottir. Crepusculum

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents Gabríela Friðriksdóttir. Crepusculum on view 29 September 2011–8 January 2012.

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, “Crepusculum,” 2011. © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2011. Photo by Jirí Hroník

On the occasion of Iceland’s presentation as a guest of honor at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, the Schirn Kunsthalle will dedicate a solo exhibition to this country’s artist Gabríela Friðriksdóttir. Her approach is characterized by the use of a variety of media: drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures figure as prominently as installations, performances, and video films. In her works Friðriksdóttir assembles various cultural, religious, and psychological elements to unfold a unique aesthetic canon of signs, forms, and meanings. This becomes particularly evident in her films, whose surreal scenarios, abandoning all traditional patterns of narrative, confront the viewer with wondrous worlds in which dream images mingle with stories from Norse mythology and references to sexual psychology.

Gabriela Friðriksdóttir, born in Reykjavík in 1971, became internationally known for her involvement in the 51st Biennale di Venezia in 2005, where she represented her country as the youngest participant by staging her multimedia installation “Versations/Tetralogia” in the Icelandic pavilion. Besides solo exhibitions held, among other places, in the Migros Museum in Zurich (2006) and at the Prospectif cinéma in the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2007), as well as a show she shared with the US-artist Matthew Barney in the Akureyri Art Museum in Iceland (2005), her works were on view in group exhibitions in the Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2005), in the National Gallery of Iceland in Reykjavík (2008), and in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (2010).

Gabriela Friðriksdóttir has established herself as an integral part of a young Icelandic generation of artists who jauntily experiment with all kinds of genres and media as they are only peripherally influenced by the cultural traditions of Continental Europe thanks to the Nordic island’s isolated position. This attitude particularly manifests itself in Gabriela Friðriksdóttir’s numerous collaborations with musicians, designers, and theater makers. For instance, she worked together with both the French design office M/M (Paris) and the Icelandic pop star Björk Guðmundsdóttir. To the latter’s CD box “Family Tree” (2005), she contributed drawings and photographs and directed the video clip “Where Is the Line?” (2005), while the musician in turn acted in Friðriksdóttir’s films, as did many of her friends and artist colleagues.

In her oeuvre, the delight she takes in experimenting is expressed first and foremost in the great variety of media she employs, all of which are connected by a set of idiosyncratic aesthetic signs, forms, and meanings and which are characterized by a fusion of organic and synthetic materials, of delicacy and coarseness, of beauty and revulsion. This encoded canon, which can be deciphered only approximately, is further augmented in her video works, in which Friðriksdóttir fathoms the limits of human existence, of feelings and desires. Mysterious dream images offer insights into obscure regions of consciousness. The works oscillate between motifs from Norse legends and references to popular culture, from horror movies to heavy metal, and also include elements of sexual psychology, associations of spiritual exercises, and things past and present.

For the show at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir has conceived an installation whose Latin title “Crepusculum” means “dusk” or “twilight” and whose mythical spatial atmosphere results from the contrast between light and dark. In a dusky desert landscape—an intermediate realm between day and night—the artist’s mysterious system of signs is combined with a new film production, tones, and sounds, as well as eight original medieval manuscripts, to create a fantastic universe.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt
T (+49-69) 29 98 82-0
F (+49-69) 29 98 82-240
[email protected]

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