‘Closed Enough’ is an exhibition of nine artists based in or associated with Iceland: Halla Einarsdóttir, Logi Leó Gunnarsson, Eygló Harðardóttir, Brák Jónsdóttir, Joe Keys, Martha Lyons Haywood, Una Björg Magnúsdóttir, Amanda Riffo, Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir. The exhibition was conceived by Icelandic artist Una Björg Magnúsdóttir and Newcastle-born Joe Keys, who emigrated to Iceland in 2018. It features work by artists at different stages of their careers, but who have all exhibited frequently in Iceland.
The exhibition has been evolving between all those participating, through meetings both online and in person, and the title, ‘Closed Enough’, is a play on the feeling of distance and closeness. It speaks of a sensitivity towards the comforts and shelters that arise through the imposing influence of Iceland’s weather conditions, but also to a poetics of things within and out of reach, and the reorienting of things near at hand, a process similar to that described by Sarah Ahmed in her book, Queer Phenomenology. It also evokes how galleries and museums appear to place things out of reach, but how these things, through the sensibilities of their making, may still reach back to lives lived.
Alongside the exhibition the artists will make a series of lithograph prints produced by Hole Editions, Newcastle, a fine art collaborative printmaking workshop, specialising in stone lithography. A catalogue designed by Chris Petter Spilde will also be presented.
The town of Gateshead sits across the River Tyne from the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, and both have great cultural institutions and interesting creative scenes. The connections between the unique Icelandic art scene with the North East of England resulting from this exhibition will create a rich cultural exchange.
The exhibition is part of ‘Assemblage II: Time and Space’ hosted by the Department of Art at Northumbria University and organised with The Cultural Negotiation of Science Research Group (CNoS), The BxNU Institute (BxNU), and Vane.
Halla Einarsdóttir (born 1991, Iceland) Working predominantly with performance, sculpture, and video, Einarsdóttir takes the role of a narrator weaving various source materials and allowing them to feed her vocality, gesticulation, and delivery. Leaning on a tradition of feminists dealing with the question of myth, she examines transgenerational knowledge and the multifaceted nature of reclaiming names and narratives. She operates somewhere between myth-receiver and myth-giver, often exploring the ways in which narratives have been instrumental in establishing and maintaining epistemological hierarchies and systems of control.
Logi Leó Gunnarsson (born 1990, Iceland) Leó Gunnarsson works with sound, sculpture and video in unexpected compositions and installations that often take over the exhibition space. By activating everyday materials in combination with music, recordings and sound equipment, he enables the audience look at and listen to familiar things in a new way.
Eygló Harðardóttir (born 1964, Iceland) Harðardóttir produces works, both two and three-dimensional, in the form of abstract paper sculpture, installation and bookwork. Materials such as paper – found, made, or sourced, coloured remains, plastic, wood, graphite and glass are the origin of the idea and the key to exploring the potential of the medium.
Brák Jónsdóttir (born 1996, Iceland) With a practice rooted in sculpture, Jónsdóttir develops totemic installations that mimic and enhance natural forms, adding a surreal touch that feels both futuristic and prehistoric. Possibly startling at first, a sense of tenderness and humour inhabit Jónsdóttir’s works that act like tools to imagine other worlds that exist, have existed or might exist.
Joe Keys (born 1995, United Kingdom) Keys predominantly works with found material through sculpture and printmaking. The works he makes reflect systems of organisation in daily life, with a dry humour and consideration for overlooked and under-appreciated objects. In recent times he has focused on poetic text works, drawing and collage. Since living in Iceland, Keys has found a great interest in artist books and their history in the country and further afield. This has led to making many collaborative publications around exhibitions and happenings, as well as producing individual publications.
Martha Lyons Haywood (born 1990, United Kingdom) Lyons Haywood’s sculptures and installations are results of tentative deliberations through physical play and intervention of materials, space and environment. She dedicates time to existing objects and to the innate natures of materials balancing ‘beauty in tension’. Much of her work is made up of found, natural and organic materials which allow her to play with alchemy and to create dialogues between harmonies or crises in our surrounding cultures: life/death, material/environment, human to human, the authentic/the surreal, the absurd/the necessary, love/romance, sadness/humour.
Una Björg Magnúsdóttir (born 1990, Iceland) Björg Magnúsdóttir is an artist whose interdisciplinary practice takes the form of installation, sculpture and images. The hyper-familiar often appears in her work, with sculptural stage designs that narrate scenes that feel oddly familiar yet out of place. By imitating reality with obvious artificiality, she re-renders common scenes with unsuspected objects, sounds and fragrances.
Amanda Riffo (born 1977, France) In her practice, Riffo creates exercises, documents experiments inspired by cognitive science and optics, and all kinds of misunderstandings. Her retinas being radically altered by strong astigmatism, her work has evolved into a permanent questioning of reality. This practice has been reinforced by working for movie sets aside from her studio practice.
Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir (born 1985, Iceland) Sigurjónsdóttir’s works are concerned with ‘the basic gesture of making art and the fundamental building blocks of it – line, colour, composition’ but have the sense of being part of a narrative which is only glimpsed in fragments.
For further information or images please contact: Paul Stone, Creative Director
tel: 0191 490 1294, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Vane, Orbis Community, 65 High Street, Gateshead, NE8 2AP UK