2016, Reykjavik, Iceland
Paintings is the title of artist GuðjónKetilsson’s second solo exhibition at Hverfisgallery.
The title relates to his two series of works on display; in one of them, Ketilsson presents his own artist palettes, numerous dishes and bowls, which he has used for blending his colours from the mid-1990s through 2015. They have accumulated in his studio over the years and now he has polished all of them down with sandpaper. The polishing reveals various colours, layer by layer the artist´s colour range throughout most of his career can be read like geological strata in nature.
In another series of works in the exhibition, nineteen of Ketilsson’s paintings dating from the 1980s become material for his new works, alongside texts (in Icelandic and English), which thoroughly describe each image on the canvas. The image on the canvas can however not be seen as he has cut each of these paintings into thin strips and glued them firmly together. The original paintings will, in effect, never be seen again. Remaining are paintings showing no image and a text that represents the image that once was.
On these works, Ketilsson comments: "For me, good facilities for working induce inspiration and I am always trying to create more space in my small studio, in order to restructure. Spatial restructuring has greater impetus for my creation of new works and results in a re-definition. These rolls of paintings from 1983-1989 had been lurking at my studio and I always had them at hindsight. But, I did not feel it was important to spread them in the studio as on the rolls I had written a description of what could be seen on each painting and from it I knew exactly which work it was. I knew I would never show them again as paintings. I unrolled them, cut them into strips and glued the strips together. I wanted to see the cross section because I have been working quite a bit with the Book as a physical object. The cross section looks like pages in a book. At the time I was doing this I attended an audio description for the blind and visually impaired, of paintings at an art museum, by audio describer and artist Þórunn Hjartardóttir. And things just came together. I decided that the paintings I had cut into strips, should receive such an audio description, language would become a major part of the work as it sort of describes itself."
Text: Birta Guðjónsdóttir Photographs: Vigfús Birgisson