Bjarki Bragason - Part of a part of a part, Episodes I-III
The title of the show points to a research conducted by the artist into time, language and the layered story of a place.
In his work, Bjarki Bragason often confronts issues regarding historical events and ideologies and how they effect individuals, often employing the combined narratives of fictional and living characters. His work looks at identity, language and time. Letters Between B and C, a recent solo project at Sudsud Vestur, juxtaposed a personal botanical collection with an archive of fragments of endangered and extinct Hawaiian plants, acquired through correspondence with a botanist in Honolulu following a research conducted at a local history museum. The body of work was exhibited as part of the group exhibition Nordic Art Today:Can You Remember the Future (2011), in St. Petersburg, Russia and as part of The Distance Plan (2012) at Favourite Goods, Los Angeles.
The exhibition, which occupies the museum’s three halls, presents a body of work in three different episodes, where questions of time and history are manifested in sculptures, photographic installations and videos. Themes which run through the exhibition are observations and investigations into how ideology marks it self in built and imagined spaces, and how the idea of time and historical significance is preserved and built. In the main hall, a photographic installation and a video deals with fragments of the former home of Walter Gropius (1883-1969) while he served as the director of the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany. The Haus Gropius, built in 1926 and destroyed during fighting in 1943, was rebuilt after the second world war, but as a drastically altered building, due to reservations on the part of the East German government towards the Bauhaus. The new building which was built using some of the material of the previous one was despite the intentions of a Dessau local to reconstruct the Gropius house a closer relative to the ginger bread structure from the story of Hansel and Gretel than the clean lines of the modernist villa. Following the demolition of the second building Bragason dug in the piles of the combined ruins which render it hard to tell which stone belongs to which era. Other works in the exhibition follow questions of architecture as a marker and maker of time and the contradictions involved in research where one must kill the subject in order to understand it. The works follow the past six months of Bragason’s residency in Berlin and research done in the ancient Bristle Cone Pine forrest in the Sierra Nevada and Wroclaw, Poland. Those works include searches for trees which have been declared the oldest non-clonal trees in the world and central European buildings, rebuilt in the mid 1950’s.
Bjarki Bragason (b.1983, Reykjavik) studied visual art at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and Universität der Künste in Berlin and completed an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles in 2010. In 2008 he received the Dungal Grant and the Guðmunda Andrésdóttir Scholarship, and in 2009 was a Lovelace Family Scholar at CalArts. In 2012, Bjarki received the Icelandic state stipend for visual artists and has spent the last six months in residency in Berlin. He teaches at the Reykjavik School of Visual Art and currently sits on the bord of the Living Art Museum.