SculptureCenter is pleased to present Katrín Sigurdardóttir's Foundation, Iceland's representation in the 55th Venice Biennial in 2013. The work will be on view at SculptureCenter June 2-July 27, 2014 with an opening reception on Sunday June 1, 5-7 pm.
Foundation is a large-scale installation comprising a raised ornamental surface, mapping out the floor of a fictional 18th century pavilion. Hand-made tiles form intricate patterns in the baroque style, and visitors are invited to walk on the surface and experience it underfoot.
Foundation is conceived as a trilogy of installations. In the first, at Palazzo Zenobio's Lavanderia in Venice, the work intersected the walls of an ancient laundry. In Reykjavík, the work was located at the Reykjavík Art Museum's Harbour House, an old customs house in downtown Reykjavík. Now in New York, it will occupy the vast gallery of SculptureCenter, a former trolley repair facility. Foundation juxtaposes elaborate and ornamental decoration with the functional structures of these repurposed industrial buildings. In each of its prior iterations, Foundation intersected with the building structure cutting across interior and exterior walls and columns. The imprint of the architecture of the previous venues is visible, drawing a new pattern. Thus, the real story-of inhabiting three different buildings in three different countries-intentionally contrasts the fairytale of the baroque inspired floor.
The surface of the pavilion's floor, symbolizing opulence and leisure, contrasted by the building's structure, reference to labor, brings up questions of value and structures of power. The floor replicates artisanal tile construction and is handmade by the artist and her team as a way of questioning the limits between art and craft, as much as the concept of authorship in relation to production. This imaginary locus with its disjointed leveling, suggests an overlay in time and space, bringing to mind the mining of an archeological site, as much as the prospective structuring of architecture.
In its entirety this piece is an investigation around the concept of drawing. Foundation, metaphorically evokes the drawn line as the origin of thought, of artistic production as well as architecture and craft. Navigating this abstract space-where the contamination between different disciplines and forms of knowledge parallels the intersection of the floor plans-creates a unique emotional experience.
Katrín Sigurdardóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1967. Over two decades, she has explored the way physical structures and boundaries define our perception of reality. Through unexpected shifts in scale, united with a personal use of architecture, cartography and landscape, her evocative installations oblige us to look at the world surrounding us in a new way.
On Foundation, Sigurdardóttir remarks:
"A floor is in itself a place. A floor that relocates defies conventional logic. What type of floor moves? A surface that is preserved as an artifice, a relic extracted out of its original time and space. On the one hand, this work is a meditation on the uprootedness of art and the complexities evoked by removal, partition, transition and representation of art and artifacts. On the other hand I was thinking about the practice and vocation of the artist in society, past and present"
Sigurdardóttir's solo exhibitions include: The Icelandic Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, Reykjavík Art Museum and SculptureCenter, New York (2013-14); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010), MoMA PS1, New York (2006), FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon, France (2006), Sala Siqueiros, Mexico City (2005), and Fondazione Sandretto re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2004). Future exhibitions include MIT List Visual Arts Center in Boston (2015) and Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2015).
The exhibition is organized by the Icelandic Art Center, and is curated by Illaria Bonacossa, director of Villa Croce, Museo D'Arte Contemporanea, Genoa, Italy and Mary Ceruti, Executive Director and Chief Curator of SculptureCenter, New York. A 128-page catalog accompanies the exhibition, published by The Reykjavík Art Museum and Marsilio Editori, Venice. It contains texts in English, Icelandic and Italian, by Hafthor Yngvason, Director of the Reykjavík Art Museum, Katrín Jakobsdottir, Minister of Culture, Dorothée Kirch, Commissioner; the writers Eva Heisler and Kristín Ómarsdóttir; in addition to Ilaria Bonacossa, Mary Ceruti and Katrín Sigurdardóttir.