Sigurður Guðjónsson: Perpetual Motion
The Iceland Academy of the Arts sincerely congratulates Sigurður Guðjónsson on his exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
Perpetual Motion will offer a poetic exploration of materiality at the edge of the boundaries of perception, powerfully combining moving images and sound to activate the space and create an entrancing, meditative experience for visitors. The Icelandic Pavilion is curated by Mónica Bello and will be located in the Arsenale for the first time this year.
Sigurður Guðjónsson is best known for his striking time-based media works that often focus on man-made machinery and technical relics, investigating their enigmatic, hidden elements, just beyond our field of vision. The artist experiments with camera lenses, perspective, light, and motion, amplifying and observing these forms and the transformations that take place as they interact with their environment. Perpetual Motion will be staged as a split-screen installation, featuring a six-metre-high vertical screen connected to a large-scale floor projection that will occupy most of the Pavilion space. The screens will depict the constant drift of metal dust, amplified and magnified through the artist’s camera lens. Visitors can immerse themselves in the movement of the abstract material, as it warps and distorts, suggesting new shapes and imagery, such as the surface of an outermost planet.
The interplay of sound and vision features throughout Guðjónsson’s oeuvre. The artist uses intricate soundscapes as the foundation of his works, drawing out the acoustic properties of his visual investigations to create a stronger link to the subject matter. Perpetual Motion will include a visceral soundtrack, developed by Guðjónsson and Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson, which responds to the granulated texture of the matter in the moving images, using stacked electromagnetic sounds, that have been manipulated via granular synthesis. The soundscape will fill the Pavilion space, enveloping visitors as they enter the artwork, creating a deeper connection with the frequencies of the metal dust as it moves and pulsates across the screens’ surface.
This project has been realised in collaboration with Mónica Bello, the Curator of the Pavilion of Iceland. Bello holds the position of Curator and Head of Arts at the CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, fostering dialogues between artists, particle physicists and engineers at one of the world’s leading laboratories. Bello’s curatorial work focuses on the narratives in today’s techno-scientific culture and how artists instigate new enquiries around emergent phenomena.
A new catalogue about Sigurður’s career and practice will be published on the 21st of April 2022, to coincide with the opening of the Pavilion of Iceland. The book, which has been designed by Studio Studio (Arnar Freyr Guðmundsson, Birna Geirfinnsdóttir) in Iceland and produced in collaboration with the Reykjavik Art Museum and Distanz Publishing in Berlin, will feature artwork stills and installation photography of Perpetual Motion and selected recent and past works, with a curatorial essay by Mónica Bello.
Image: Sigurður Guðjónsson, still from Perpetual Motion, 2022