THEN - Birgir Snæbjörn, Gísli Bergmann o.fl.
Private view … then …part 4 is a group exhibition that explores notions of place, displacement or non-place. These models, whether real, remembered; or imagined are theoretical constructs that concern contemporary culture. Such ideas and ideals are constructed into narratives, as seen in these paintings and sculptures, that reflect on the emotive and psychological state (space) amid a place. Be it romantic or utopian, there is a suggestion that something is awry. then …part 4 is the first exhibition in Iceland, forming part of a series of touring European shows. ‘then’ is a London-based organisation of international artists, whose aim is to exhibit, publish and discuss matters concerning contemporary art and life. Stefan Bottenberg (Germany, Belgium, UK) relives his childhood memories in which suburban architecture of his native Belgium form the subject for his unusual wool and plywood embroideries. His ideal villas’ lay bare the hollowness of the urban ideal. Gisli Bergmann (Iceland, Australia, UK) shows paintings about perception: they depict glimpsed memories from encounters between anonymous silhouetted figures situated in the Icelandic landscape of his childhood. Miles Henderson Smith (UK) also considers the structure of place and space - such as the idea of place constructed/remembered. His cardboard city presents an imagined space constructed from aspects of all the cities he has visited. Along side his paintings, these represent the generic faceless places of travel. Birgir Snaebjorn Birgisson’s (Iceland) focuses on the viewer and his/her relationship to well-being. His delicate paintings of blonde nurses confuse the symbol of care with dubious sexual fantasies providing disturbing questions about the nature of our ailments. Tom Merry’s (UK) sculpted heads are born out of his fascination with city crowds and portray the faceless inhabitants of contemporary dystopias. They are anonymous and mask a potential for insecurity and alienation. Andrew Child’s (UK), pieces reflect on utopias and ask what it is that makes up such perfect places. The atmosphere is pleasant, yet there is clear dislocation – absence that simultaneously creates desire for such idylls and discomfort at its impossibility. A catalogue including an essay by Dr Jonathan Dronsfield will be available for sale.