Exhibitions - Sigga Björg Sigurðardottir & Latefa Wiersch

Galerie Adler

  Date: 30.10.2010 - 08.01.2011

When mountains move in Iceland, it's nothing out of the ordinary. After all, elves might be living inside! Before undertaking major construction projects, businesses and government agencies usually check their plans first with an elf expert. In fact, the majority of the population believes that elementary spirits such as trolls exist, or at least doesn't rule out the possibility. They are part of life on the harsh island just like volcanoes, glaciers and geysers. Where people are forced to do battle with the forces of nature, there are always some inexplicable phenomena, and where reason fails, fantasy and lore step in, to which Iceland owes a whole panoply of supernatural creatures.

Icelandic artist Sigga Björg Sigurðardottir (*1977) dips into this inexhaustible pool of mystical beings to pick out human behaviors and problematic emotions as central themes in her drawings, murals and animated videos. Like little hairy beasts, her impish creatures make all kinds of mischief, spilling bodily fluids in the process, gagging and spitting, dripping and drooling. Some of the scenes are quite revolting, and yet they express deep-seated emotions. The figures scream and cry, badger and torture one another.
"The contrast between horror and beauty and the state of mind you get in when you don't know when something is disgusting, beautiful, sad or funny... Have you ever started laughing when something sad happens?", so the artist.

A similarly queasy feeling and hard-to-describe mix of emotions arises when examining the assemblages created by the young German artist Latefa Wiersch (*1982). Like Sigurðardottir's creatures, Wiersch's objects also seem to emanate from a different, very mysterious world.
A protective lampshade shields the light shed on a pair of red shoes placed underneath it, from which an indefinable, fleshy mass oozes. In this work, titled "Heim" (Home), the impression is like peering into a hidden cellar corner or secret sleeping nook where someone has made their home and left behind some enigmatic clues. Associations with both cosy security and horror arise. Home, sweet home?
A little old wooden house prompts ambivalent feelings in those who enter, seeming by turns intriguing and somehow morbid. The viewer becomes part of the sculpture, intruding on the private realm of an absent inhabitant who has used red light for drama while creating a homey atmosphere with the belongings he has left behind.
In Wiersch's hands, found objects become hybrid sounding boxes, overgrown with soft garments. They inspire feelings that fluctuate between intimacy and distance, provoked in part by the growling and wailing noises emerging at irregular intervals from inside.

With new drawings, murals and videos by Sigga Björg Sigurðardottir and intriguing objects by Latefa Wiersch, the dual exhibition "BEAST" launches an interesting dialogue between Iceland and Germany. Both artists experiment with melding contradictory notions such as good versus evil, beautiful versus ugly, scary versus pitiful, cute versus monstrous. While Sigurðardottir interrogates her Icelandic roots, instinctively putting her impressions on paper, Wiersch collects everyday objects which she turns into assemblages that function as emotional projection surfaces. Neither position leaves the viewer cold, both offering a chance to venture into the realm of conflicting emotions, between laughing and crying, fondness and aversion, pity and malicious glee.