The artist often presents found objects with which he interferes as little as possible, creating new works that investigate ideas of the self and of time. Fridfinnsson's practice encompasses photography and drawing as well as sculpture and installation. His works are linked, however, by a common sensibility and lightness of touch.
Hreinn Fridfinnsson is one of Iceland’s leading conceptual artists. His art is celebrated for its lyricism and stark poetry that transcends the often commonplace subject matter and materials he uses. He often presents found objects with which he interferes as little as possible, creating new works that investigate ideas of the self and of time. Fridfinnsson’s practice encompasses photography and drawing as well as sculpture and installation. His works are linked, however, by a common sensibility and lightness of touch. The exhibition in Malmö Konsthall is a retrospective that spans four decades of his work.
Fridfinnsson’s work could be characterised as conceptual, in the sense that it is ideas driven, or as Arte Povera in its use of everyday materials; much of it might be considered stripped down or Minimalist and some of his outdoor projects can be seen as examples of earthworks or Land Art. He explores landscape in a number of ways, including an ‘inside out house’ sited in a remote part of Iceland. Text and storytelling also figure prominently in his work.
The natural world is central to Fridfinnsson’s practice. He grew up in the magnificence of the Icelandic countryside, on a farm in the 1940s and 50s. He says it is impossible to separate himself from the landscape; it is in his body and part of his psychological make-up. The early experience of a vast unpopulated landscape and its rhythms is fundamental to understanding his work.
His vocabulary, underscored by a delicate sense of humour, encompasses doubling, dreams, folklore, perceptual tricks and the supernatural. Through these means, Fridfinnsson is searching for equivalence between one thing and another. Within this exhibition, for example, no one piece is more important or central. Instead, we find ourselves in the midst of a dispersed and non-hierarchical universe, where the wonder of a simple discovery is cause for celebration.
Born in 1943 in Baer Dölum, Iceland, Fridfinnsson gained prominence as a leading figure on the Icelandic avant-garde scene after founding the group SÚM with other artists in Reykjavik in 1965. He moved to Amsterdam in the early 1970s and has been living and working there ever since. In the year 2000 he won second prize in the Carnegie Art Award, and was awarded the Ars Fennica Prize.
’’Hreinn Fridfinnsson is a great Icelandic hero. He gives the subtleties of life a language.’’
Olafur Eliasson, 2007-10-08
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery in London and artist Olafur Eliasson.
Opening Friday 15 February, 7-9 p.m.
S:t Johannesgatan, 7 - Malmo