MARGRÉT H. BLÖNDAL: Aerotics / Loftleikur

3 September - 10 October 2020 i8 Gallery

"Sometimes I turn the medium around, approaching sculptures as drawings or drawings as sculptures. Text becomes a frame, words define a space and give me a footing — so I don’t float away." - Margrét H. Blöndal

"My works are installations. I work across media and form. Sometimes I turn the medium around, approaching sculptures as drawings or drawings as sculptures. Text becomes a frame, words define a space and give me a footing — so I don’t float away. It is stimulating to read a text where I feel the cadence. Phrases with repetitive patterns or a deep undercurrent ground me. Words can be coordinates that air flows around. I sense existence as a universal space made up of smaller chambers containing particles in constant motion. Landmarks are vital, not only to get from one place to another but also to grasp reality, to have a chance to sit down and catch your breath. Some phrases expand a sense of space, others move you through time. Then, there are certain words that are put together in a way that you want to taste them again and again.


It is impossible for me to foresee what will happen inside an exhibition space, the preparations are always different. The installation will be a reaction to the space. I cannot make a three-dimensional work without a connection to the space. The work can live beyond the exhibition, but the original space is the spark, just as photographs spark the drawings. A photograph is an anchor, a mainstay for the eye. From there you can swing in any direction the brush pulls. A mix of pigment, water, and oil becomes the material and the eye picks up lines, volumes, and rhythms. As I’m drawing, the photographic image dissolves into universal features recognisable in plants, animals, glaciers, rivers, maggots, debris, textiles — everything that is created — in both micro and macro worlds. By the time a drawing is finished I’ve forgotten what I was looking at, but the photograph still exists and sometimes becomes an independent work. 

The installations are assembled from a few elements, each of which is an integral part of a whole where there is an exchange between chords and silences; air, ticking, play. I have an assortment of materials collected at different times from places around the world. I choose the materials based on their properties. Colour is an important factor, and malleability, yes — something that can be bitten, pinched, cut, crumpled, glued, rubbed, nailed, torn, knitted, stroked, torn, darned, and stretched. Symbolic meaning, no — because then I would be narrowing my options by putting thought ahead of possibilities. Personal references and memories follow. At the beginning of the installation I can work with the materials, but then I have to somehow bring the exhibition space inside me to make room for something new — unknown and disobedient. I am unable to transfer memories into the work, but, by manipulating the materials, the rationale for their choice will eventually become clear. When I am connected, another kind of concentration takes over and all but makes the work — as if on its own. The material finds me and takes its place in the space.

I chose visual art as a form of expression, I chose the place where the words escape. In the process of the work I become wordless, perception flickers from one glimpse to another, and I have to close my eyes because I cannot handle all the parallels around me."


Based on Margrét's recent conversations with fellow visual artist, Ingólfur Arnarsson

Even though Margrét H. Blöndal's drawings express through a subtlety and a lightness of touch, they still feel exceptionally generous. They extend and complicate the spatial eloquence that is encountered in the sculptural works through the fluctuations between abstraction and representation. This makes the experience of looking at Blöndal's drawings one similar to seeing something familiar in the twilight, its presence curiously reassuring but its form somehow remaining unsettled in the waning light. It is in this sense that the drawings create a place where a form is on the verge of becoming something, and the quiet strength of the work is in how it holds that space, allowing it to breathe and shift; for it to be active, enlivened. As a viewer we become immersed in the works' complexities and concious of its generosity. And yet as generous as the work is, it is also defiant, it resists being explicable. Language feels too coarse to convey the eloquence of the drawings, they are beyond translation, and are all the better for it. - Gavin Morrison

Margrét H. Blöndal (b. 1970) lives and works in Reykjavík. She has her MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and her BFA from The Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts. Major solo exhibitions include presentations at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts (US) and Reykjavík Art Museum (IS). Her work has featured in numerous group exhibitions, including the 6th Momentum, Moss, (NO); Manifesta 7, Trentino (IT); and Kunstverein Baselland (CH). In 2009, she was the artist-in-residence at the Laurenz Haus Stiftung, Basel (CH).

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