Eggert Pétursson: In his own words...
I always had this space in mind when I was painting the works for this exhibition, all the way back to 2011. I had by then already completed a number of works based on the area around my summer cottage in Úthlíd and especially the surrounding lava fields. In fact, I made a solemn statement that I would stop working on the motif of these lava fields. I have pretty much kept my promise, and so I progressed further up the slopes of the mountain Bjarnarfell, where I found ravines and gullies that excited me. I explored the vegetation and noticed how each of these ravines had their own character. In the summer of 2011, I mapped out the ravines and succeeded in capturing the characteristics of colour, light and vegetation of each one. The works became six in total, two of which can be found in this exhibition, with the addition of one painting that can be interpreted as a return to the world of lava. This time it is not the lava from the fields around Úthlíd, but that of Herdísarvík, an area with a variety of ferns.
When my works have been reproduced in books, I have sometimes found that they will appear upside down. This made me think that maybe I could paint works that could hang any which way. The paintings from the ravines are in fact aerial images and one should not imagine anything as being up or down – instead I mark them on the back with a circle on which I indicate the cardinal points: south, north, east and west. Nor is there one correct way to install the work or to approach it and experience it.
I am in fact creating the conditions for an artistic experience, without dictating. In the ravines, there is a steady flow down the hill, and through the paintings there is a flow of both water and light. The paintings can be seen from a distance as maps, even though the flowers are in fact actual size. I have really dissolved everything, and I am not always certain whether I am painting a stone, water, the flowers or the light. The mere size of the works should allow the viewer to walk into the work, even to be enveloped by it. What is presented is my mapping of a certain period and experience – a hike.
I hope my works do not lie to anyone. Everything we see and sense in nature spurs a process that mostly takes place in one’s head. Therefore, I do not recognise anything that would be called a conflict between reality and imagination.
It may seem funny that a great influence on my own art is a man who was celebrated not as a painter but an artist who mostly worked in engravings. This is the seventeenth century Dutch artist Hercules Segers, who I first came across in a book when I was about twelve years old, and I have been fascinated by his work ever since. It is said that he was the favourite artist of Rembrandt, who owned eight paintings by him and attempted to refine one of his works. But other than that quite little is known about the man himself. His works were of landscapes that he had never seen himself, and a certain sense of modernity and adventure can be found in them. As for myself, I have certainly seen, even though the divide between research and impression in my works is sometimes blurred.
Eggert Pétursson (b. 1956) lives and works in Reykjavik. He studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, Reykjavik, and the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Eggert has exhibited at the Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Reykjavik Art Museum - Kjarvalsstadir, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam, Kópavogur Art Museum – Gerdarsafn, Hafnarborg - The Hafnarfjördur Center of Culture and Fine Art. Eggert received the second prize of the Carnegie Art Award 2006 (touring exhibition to Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Nice and Copenhagen). In 2016 the Pori Art Museum in Finland presented a major show of his works, encompassing his career from early childhood to the present day