Wandering the land between the inner self and the roughness of the outside, a gap is oscillating back and forth. What lies around us reshapes and impacts our being. Solitary sensations shape our ability to interact with the outside. These intimate feelings can be triggered by our reaction to the slightest progressive changes. Rooted in our daily experiences, the environment has a powerful capacity of expression.
INFRA-GLOW gathers artworks by Carissa Baktay, Þórdís Erla Zoëga, Iða Brá Ingadóttir, Claire Paugam, Hye Joung Park, Claudia Hausfeld and Guðrún Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir, that provoke the intimacy of collective relationships between our bodies, our minds and our surroundings. The idea of imperceptible closeness between us, our mundane surfaces, and their fluid porousness is a starting point.
In Iceland, the gradually polarizing effects on human perspective caused by the summer and winter equinoxes twists our biological clock, highlighting the moments where our surroundings blend with states of intimacy and solitude. Leading up to and during the midnight sun, the illusion of additional time allows for new ground to be covered, a prismatic view where one could reflect, immerse, lie, or rest. In contrast, the eclipsing effect that begins to happen immediately after sunlight hours hits their peak, starts to reel in the peripherals, narrowing awareness through a threshold towards the interior. Organic and manufactured merge, allowing for the sound of our inner bodies to blend with the silence of our daily landscapes.
In Claire Paugam, Carissa Baktay and Þórdís Erla Zoëga’s works, microcosm meshes with macrocosm; mineral and organic blends; body and ore interlace; and the outlines between what is fresh and what is fainted in our memories collapse. From the resulting porousness, new narratives emerge.
Claudia Hausfeld, Guðrún Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir, Iða Brá Ingadóttir and Hye Joung Park bring us somewhere else; to an in-between of inhabited reality and deserted, vanishing horizons. The mind can lose itself in the background of their powerful inner landscapes.
Carissa Baktay cuts into this landscape to reshape its peripheries according to her sensations. Her mirrors are transformed into lakes, reflecting their coloured lights to dissolve the borders of an imaginary realm. In her process, from the seas and rivers to the intimate bathroom, bodies and surroundings hold a central place. Cleaning, washing, taking care; and restoring the value of the hairs she uses in some works until they fit into precious vessels, or glow in a giant braid.
Þórdís Erla Zoëga‘s actions similarly reveal a deep attention to her materials; light and glass. She walks us into a mirrored world, made of mesmerizing, fragile, and vaporous reflections. When she isn’t trying to melt separated bodies into one, she creates installations that seem to collapse and carry with the wind, as if a piece of dawn was about to be scattered by the first glimpse of an endless sun beam.
In between places, Claire Paugam infiltrates the museum space via its threshold. A giant tongue welcomes us inside her inner space; a rock on the other side seals the way. Her photographs lead us through to the edges of her subconscious, where reminiscing images are keeping an evocative narrative of disappearance alive. Within a half-light at the bottom of her memory, her surroundings seem to melt while enveloping us.
In Iða Brá Ingadóttir’s performance, a fluid communication between her body and the vivid natural environment arise. Translating a silent dialogue, the waterfall speaks to her in a ritualistic gesture of empowerment. Linear timelines cease to exist, leaving a blank space for a fluid cohabitation between human and nature. The viewer is invited to rest on a stone or a blanket, where the body may absorb the energies.
Hye Joung Park’s work is also restful. Shapes of paper and ceramics narrate the tale of a shell, forgetting itself on a white beach. In her process a correlative resonance between body and mind crystallizes in a choreographic movement. Introducing a chronicle of the timelessness of materials, the fragility and thinness of Hye Joung Park‘s work resonate with Claudia Hausfeld’s hut. The image and the object are looking at each other, codependent and with benevolence. They protect each other, like a shelter, hiding in the environment of the gallery as well as in nature. Inside and outside collapse again, potentially leaving an in-between.
Within the Hut's sightly purview is another couple, Guðrún Hrönn Ragnarsdóttirs’s reupholstered chairs. Fragments from the outside merge and cling to the typical pair. What was once soft, stable, and made for the purpose of functional comfort, is now an uncertain resting place for the mind to dwell and admire.
Here, in this infra-verse, connections between our inhabited physical and mental spaces take root in an expanded environment to experience new potential narratives of existence. The objects we create and the spaces we wander among to shelter our bodies and imaginations, are attempts to explore a fragment of sensation and invite the viewer to lie in the glow of a persistent twilight.
A copy of the exhibition's booklet can be viewed HERE.
Graphic design by Hugi Ólafsson.
Lighting Design by Rósa Dögg Þorsteinsdóttir.
Elise Bergonzi (1997) is a French visual artist and curator. Her work focuses on shapes, structures and objects that intertwine social, political and environmental aspects of our daily lives. Since 2021, she holds a BFA and an MFA from the Nantes School of Fine Arts (FR). Since 2022, she lives and works in Reykjavík (IS), completing an MFA in Curatorial Practices at the Iceland University of the Arts (IS). She exhibited her work several times in France and Germany and curated a number of exhibitions. Questioning the notion of inhabiting, Elise Bergonzi’s current project focuses on interconnections between the everyday life of our habitats and watery structures. She explores the potentialities of valorizing neglected structures by participating in a more fluid social ecology in and out of our artistic environments.
Daria Testoedova (1999) is a Buryat-Mongolian curator and art historian. Her initial interest was in the anthropological and ethnographic view of the fine arts of her indigenous Siberian roots. She received her BA from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, where she studied Bachelor of Arts and Culture, which has a deep dive into philosophy, sociology, and economics of the Art World. Now she is working on her Master’s degree in Curatorial Practice at the Iceland University of Arts, where she is combining her theoretical expertise and practical knowledge. Through her world, Daria explores topics like the democratization of art, public art, and the representation of marginalized voices.
Hannah Zander (1989, United States) holds a BFA in Studios Arts with an emphasis in Ceramics/Sculpture & Art History and an MFA in Arts Administration from Southern Utah University. She lives and works in Reykjavik while pursuing an MA in Curatorial Practice at the Iceland University of the Arts. Hannah has worked for and collaborated with art museums, public art committees, and art centers in the United States and Iceland. Topics she incorporates within her curatorial projects include: recontextualizion of collected works, connective experiences, alternative perceptions, public art & participation, and arts advocacy.
Carissa Baktay is a multi-media sculptor, born 1986. As an experienced glass maker she has earned degrees from Alberta University of the Arts, attended the Rhode Island School of Design with scholarship, and received her Masters’ from Universidad Nova de Lisboa. Using experimental technologies and mediums combined with time honored glass making methods, she has been invited to work in studios in Bulgaria, Norway, Finland and Portugal. Recently her work has been recognized with multiple grants from The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts, SÍM, KÍM, and the Icelandic Design Fund.
Carissa Baktay's process based practice is deeply connected to material and memory and by collecting and reimagining materials, she transforms their presence in space and presents a new poetic material understanding that shares the borders between art, craft and design. Ironic and playful, these mixed material sculptures come to life through intuitive process and intimate performative acts.
Claudia Hausfeld (b.1980 in Berlin, GDR) studied photography at the Zürich University of the Arts and visual art at the Iceland University of the Arts. She is primarily concerned with photography and its relationship to reality and space. In her practice, she focuses on analog aspects of the medium and on experimentation with material and surface, resulting in photographic works that border on the sculptural.
In addition to her artist practice, Claudia shares the management of the photography lab of the Iceland Art Academy where she teaches courses in the darkroom, amongst other things. She lives and works in Reykjavík.
Iða Brá Ingadóttir
Iða Brá Ingasdótttir is a multi-disciplinary artist from Iceland, whose creative practice spans a wide range of mediums including: writing, illustration, installations, video, photography and art performance. With a deep engagement in the Icelandic circus scene over the years, she has also lent her talents to costume design and scenography projects. She has a degree in holistic health and has worked within the field of healing arts for a number of years which has influenced her creative practice on many levels. Iða Brá applies a kaleidoscopic approach, always changing depending on the angle with which you look, with a signature organic, magical, and feminine connection to the deep mythos of Nordic nature. Playful and mysterious, there is still an equal amount of sharp clarity that pierces through veils of illusion and the noise of superficial society.
Hye Joung Park
Hye Joung Park lives and works in Iceland.
Originally from South Korea Hye first came to Iceland as an cultural exchange student in 1997 aged 19. Her love for Iceland and art shaped her adulthood and Hye graduated with a BA from IUA (Iceland University of the Arts) in 2005 and MFA from Slade school of Art at UCL (University College London) in 2009. Hye lived and worked in Korea until 2017 participating in residencies and group shows and also having solo shows. Hye finished a diploma in Ceramics from Reykjavik School of Visual Art in 2019 and a diploma in Art Education in 2021 since she came back to Iceland in 2017.
Her works are collected by Dungal Art Fund and shown at Ásmundarsal, Gallery Suðsuðvestur and other artists-run galleries in Iceland. Along with her art practice, Hye is a lecturer at the Arts Education Department in the IUA and teaches art for children.
Claire Paugam is a multidisciplinary French artist (b.1991), who lives and works in Reykjavik and recipient of the Motivational Award 2020 delivered by the Icelandic Art Prize. After graduating from the Master of Fine Arts program of the Iceland University of the Arts in 2016, Claire has exhibited in Iceland and abroad, such as the Young Art Biennale in Moscow (2016), The Icelandic Photography Festival at Gerðarsafn Art Museum (2018) and has had several solo exhibitions such as Attempting the Embrace n°31 at the Reykjavik Art Museum (2021) or Essentially Untitled at Ásmundarsalur art space (2022).
The core of her artistic practice is to raise questions about the matter by confronting a sensitive experience with common systems of rules and representation. Shapelessness, disorder, entropy and the feeling of letting go are major themes she explores. Each project comes with its own materiality and structure, which allows her practice to embrace a vast range of materials. The artist uses her intuition as a tool of investigation.
Guðrún Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir
Guðrún Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir lives and works in Finland. She graduated from the College of Fine Arts of Iceland's School of Fine Arts and Crafts and later studied in the Netherlands at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht. In the winter of 2006 to 2007, she studied for a teaching license at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Since she finished her formal art studies, she has exhibited regularly all over the world, and her works are owned by public art museums and private museums here at home and abroad.
Recently, Guðrún Hränn has worked with installations consisting of photographs of objects from our immediate environment. While traveling, she uses the camera to document everyday things that for some reason catch her attention. It can be because of nostalgia, color, shape or because they seem strange, different and even comical. Although the things documented are recognizable from our own environment, they are presented in a different way than usual and therefore give reason for speculation and closer examination. The works reflect the intimacy of the moment and the place, while they refer in their own way to another time and space.
Þórdís Erla Zoëga
Þórdís Erla Zoëga (1988, Iceland) graduated from Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 2012. Þórdís’s practice is driven by material research as well as investigation of digital intimacy, post-humanism, science fiction and connection. She works in multiple mediums including installations, sculpture, paintings and video. Her installations evoke the interrelationship between human and its surroundings.
Playing with the properties of inorganic materials and her use of dichroic film, Zoëga has studied the digital aesthetics of our everyday life, dissected and displayed so as to reveal the interaction and the way we connect to each other in our modern world.
Zoëga has exhibited her work in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Basel, the Czech Republic, and further worldwide. In Iceland, she has exhibited at the Reykjavík Art Museum, The National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Arts Festival, LÁ Art Museum, Akureyri Art Museum and Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum. She is currently Seltjarnarnes town’s honorary artist of the year. She is represented by BERG Contemporary, a leading Icelandic gallery.