Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Katrín Sigurðardóttir at the Met. Metropolitan Museum New York. by craniv boyd

Katrín Sigurðardóttir at the Met. Metropolitan Museum New York.


"What do you think of Alice in wonderland at the Metropolitan?"  A distinguished professor in art history recently asked me. I could not say as is often the case when viewing art works and art installations in person. Being in front of new and unfamiliar artwork can sometimes remove my urge to describe and categorize it. After a week my mind returns to the mezzanine exhibition space at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, a small project space type viewing area between the two floors of the modern wing. Recent artists to exhibit there are Bill Viola, Tony Oursler and Neo Rauch, bankable artists with proven track records at major museums, now in the space we have the Icelandic, yet New York Based Katrín Sigurðardottir who is at a different stage of her art career making a dramatic installation that is partly baroque and partly site-specific at the same time.


The work consists of two sculptures one closed room, and one folding screen-like structure that looks as if walls in a room were dancing themselves apart in a fun house mirror. The closed room is a scale model, a slightly shrunken version, of a 17th century boudoir of a Parisian apartment. The Real boudoir is housed on a lower floor in a different department of the Metropolitan. The model is of a hexagonal room and most walls have one-way mirrors. The lighting of the interior is such that it produces the affect of being able to peer into the room and simultaneously obstructs the viewer from seeing their own reflection. One walks around the closed system attempting to see oneself in a mirror inside, but is frustrated and unsettled by seeing a room with no entry and mirrors that reflect themselves and the empty room they are in, into infinity. The lighting has a greenish cast to it, the hexagonal boudoir is recreated in mono-chrome white. It is a pristine space, a display that one can never enter, a stage where the furnishings and decor are the sole actors.


The complementary piece to this installation is the folding screen like surreal space. It completes this binary of opposites, it is "open" to "closed" across the hall. This sculpture takes the motif of the same room and folds it in on its self, the walls or wall segments rather are skewed into fun house perspective. They progress in a loose spiral from normal ceiling height to half a foot in height. There are a number of portals or arches one can walk through and under in this study of the shrinking space. One is slightly disoriented walking around and in this sculpture. It is inviting. This work of Katrín's photographs well. Depending on where one places the camera, you get an image that shows a room with an improbable space. This carnival aspect makes this part of the whole piece the more visitor friendly and less confrontational of the two.




Did the artist depart from the hexagonal room because of personal affinity with the Stuðlaberg, often six sided columnar basalt rocks, commonly found in Iceland?


Is the closed space of a beautiful interior a metaphor for the island nation of Iceland, for its beautiful landscape and relative isolation?


Or is the unraveling space a stand in for Iceland's tumultuous economic state, a baroque room with a riotously Topsy-turfy perspective, a room that shrinks as it dissolves? by craniv boyd ©

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.