11 June - 22 August 2015 i8 Gallery

15 years ago, my son came to me and asked if I would take part in a performance he was preparing, which I admit I thought a great honour. I had been allowed to contribute to an event shortly before, his graduation piece for the Iceland Academy of the Arts.


In that piece, he sang an opera for 10 days straight which was obviously self-composed and sung in nonsense Italian. He played the part of a count, singing of love and betrayal, wearing a white curly wig, on a homemade stage in Rococo style. All of his mother’s silver was used to create this palazzo, as was a silver place setting for one. There he was, this count, from 1pm to 5pm singing and eating, with all his mother’s silver. 


The mother blushed with gratitude at having the opportunity to participate in this event by cooking chicken and trimmings for him during these demanding days. It was particularly memorable when we drove to the Academy on the fifth day to prepare for the performance. The artist was overjoyed that there were only two days left of singing and eating and he had neither lost his voice nor been institutionalized with a nervous breakdown. 


Shortly thereafter, it was time for another performance where I was told to spit on my own beloved son over and over. My son came to my home with several of his friends who set up very primitive gadgets because their friend had not become so famous then and monetary resources were scarce. Everything went according to plan – I spat and spat, and if we take a closer look at the earliest recording from fifteen years ago we can perhaps see that the spitting wasn’t quite whole-hearted. The mother who had drenched her son in spit, found this a bit funny, but what did it matter? We left it like that. 


Then, five years passed. Mother and son had aged and matured, the gadgets and cameras had become swankier, and people had started taking their roles seriously. The play has been repeated in this manner for the past 15 years. It has become a family tradition. Ragnar and his friends come around to my house with lights and flashy gear, we have some coffee and cake, go into the living room, and record the performance. Afterwards, Ragnar showers, the gear is packed, everyone kisses goodbye, and life goes on. 


It is trying for a mother and an actress with a fifty year acting career to spit on her own son – the son who has never been anything but a true blessing and has always made her laugh should life get difficult around them. This performance would never have existed had it not been for the enduring love and true respect they have for one another. 


- Guðrún G. Ásmundsdóttir 

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