Monday, December 18, 2017

Erla S. Haraldsdóttir. Geneis. 15 July-29 August 2017. Lund Cathedral: The Crypt Kykogatan 4, 222 22 Lund, Sverige.

Erla S. Haraldsdóttir. Geneis. 15 July-29 August 2017. Lund Cathedral: The
Crypt Kykogatan 4, 222 22 Lund, Sverige.

Tales from the crypt: an exhibition review. In one of the oldest buildings
in Scandinavia there is a stone cellar. It is filled with columns and a
well full of spring water. Light fills in this basement through the
windows the width of an adult human hand and there are tombs and grave
markers worn out relics of a Catholic past. This is the crypt a space in
the Cathedral of Lund, a university town in the south of Sweden. The crypt
is also an exhibition venue. Under the stewardship of Chaplin Lena
Sjöstrand, it is committed to exhibiting the art works of living
contemporary artists.

This summer I had the singular pleasure of attending Genesis, a new series
of paintings by Icelandic artist Erla S. Haraldsdóttir. This work is part
two of a series of paintings made based on the story of creation in the
Old Testament. One may ask: What is the relevance of making work in
addition to an already crowded image making tradition for Christian art
today? And possible answers could be for Erla that it is a vehicle to make
paintings. She is searching for a frame or a frame story. Her sources
include marginalia taken from illuminated manuscript book-culture of early
Christianity which also happened to be a time when the culture of lettered
people was tolerant and inclusive of the book making traditions of the
Islamic world, First shown in Hallgrims Church, in Reykjavik then Genesis
was shown some months later at Konstepedimein (The Epidemic of Art a
former childrens' Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden) and recently Genesis was
in Lund. Izlensk Tecknabokin, which is the product of recent developments
in scholarship in Icelandic manuscripts served, as a source book for Erla,
a further source of inspiration way my own art historical research into
the murals of Ndebele women living in South Africa.

Part of the first iteration of Genesis was shown again in the crypt. In
the new version the story of creation, the symbols or allegories became
more distilled and concentrated. A raven, a unicorn, a mysterious
landscape with unrecognizable heavenly bodies. Possibility and fantasy met
in the space of technically superior oil paintings on canvass which were
hung directly on the stone walls of the crypt. Many artist today are shy
to confront the weight of history that exhibiting in the church entails.
And while there are some modern and contemporary artists who do accept
this challenge of making work to be exhibited in a church, Erla
Haraldsdóttir accepted this and also endeavored to make an expression
about the artists faith, a trust placed in the creative process and
through her commitment to using color and imagery in evocative ways she
has successfully communicated her world of creation for the public.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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