Buckle - an exhibition of miniatures

25. October 2003 - 25. January 2004

Kjarvalsstaðir

Ferdafuda is an old Icelandic word, meaning a buckle or circle, or something that closes a circle. The circle has been considered the most perfect shape; it embodies infinity, a process without a beginning or an end. An infinite line that locks into itself and is always equidistant from the centre. On the line of the circle all points are equal, the line itself is without a centre and an edge, and it creates an arena of words and thoughts, like a round-table of equals.

The circle is a common motif for the wealthy and generous; they carry rings, and give rings.But as is generally accepted, true wealth lies within each person and in interaction with others.

The exhibition Ferdafuda does, however, have a beginning and an end. The journey began from Reykjavik and the first exhibition was in September 2001 in one of the smallest galleries in the country Slunkariki in Isafjordur.From there the exhibition travelled to Akureyri in 2002 and was shown in Ketilhus, one of the largest exhibition halls outside Reykjavik. After that it went to the Skaftfell arts centre in Seydisfjordur. In the spring of 2003 the exhibition travelled to Vestmannaeyjar and now the circle closes with this exhibition in Reykjavik. At every stop along the way local artists have been invited to participate with their work. In that way we wanted to forge a bond between various parts of the country with an emphasis on the participants shared field visual art butalso on the necessity for dialogue and discussion between artists. Many of the participants travelled to each location and met their colleaguesthere. The Ferdafuda or Buckle has now encircled the country and formeda complex and intricate circle of wealth. A circle of human wealth.

In connection with the ideology of this exhibition we can enter thediscussion of marginality:, who is on the margin, what is marginal andhow do we make that judgement? Is it correct to assume that the regionsare on the margin of the Icelandic art world? Is Iceland marginal in the European art world? Is the artist on the margin of the so-called artworld, rather than the centre and source of it? Is art in societymarginal to everyday consciousness, or is it part of its nucleus, thetrue core of a nations culture? Who judges? And on what parameters? What do we compare?

The question recurs over and over again, of whether the distance fromthe vortex, from the international art scene, hampers those who aredeemed to be at the margins of the western cultural circumcentre, both in geographic and ideological terms. The colonial period laid the foundation of a cultural transformation in the world, which led to European cultural dominance, and traditional European art became the model of all modern art. However, as the world became more and moreglobalized, western art was also influenced by aboriginal art from distant continents and these influences are still palpable in western visual art.

Today the evaluation and appreciation of art is still colonized by western standards, and this applies also to Icelandic art, because Iceland is culturally and geographically marginal, in the same way as Jan Mayen, Greenland, the Virgin Islands and Bolivia from thestandpoint of a European cultural centre. The cards are stacked againstthem, for wealthy western nations are in a position of power, backed bytechnology and methods of distribution, to swallow up the culturalconsciousness of less powerful nations, for their own benefit andrenewal, yet also causing turmoil and cultural transformations innations with less international influence. These are in danger of losing their cultural identity and of ending up in a limbo between their own unique origins and new ideas that have yet to take root. This situation can lead to the denial of former cultural values or to stagnation, butit can also lead to a fertile dialogue which is valid on an international level.

And here we are, on an island on the edge of the world. Although it is surrounded by the biggest moat in the world and the islanders should beable quietly to mind their own business, so far away from thehurly-burly of the world, still the worlds stormy seas disturb their sleep when imperialist-sharks swing their tails and thrash sandy plains in the east, while international organisations look on with vacant eyes. But, safe in his shell, the artist can offer ...a honey-sweetrefreshing drink of art, this cream of darkness that can soothe the pain and help one accept all sorts of obscenity with its clairvoyant magic... *

Yes, sensual pleasure is in the extremes, and the terrible beast of prey, Man, seeks to live up to his creator, all so uncannily old-fashioned and at the same time novel, like cave-paintings which were drawn by a faint flame under the expectant stare of the famished soul,where a miniscule fraction of the great creator lives. The need to create still lingers, on the edge, and finds validation in the eyes of those that come to see the creation. The witnesses, that are hopefully still possessed by insatiable curiosity.

Harpa Bjornsdottir
*William Heinesen.

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