25. febrúar 2022 á Visir.is
Íslenski myndlistarmaðurinn Kristbergur Ó. Pétursson opnaði einkasýninguna Paintings and poems í Amsterdam fyrir nokkrum vikum síðan í Wg Kunst salnum.
Sýningin stendur til 27. febrúar, næstkomandi sunnudags. Blaðamaður hafði samband við Kristberg um þetta spennandi verkefni.
Ferill Kristbergs spannar bráðum þrjátíu ár en hann lauk listnámi árið 1988. Myndheimur verka hans á sér þróunarsögu sem má rekja til grafíkverka og teikninga í Amsterdam, þar sem Kristbergur lærði. Síðar beindist áhugi hans meira að málverki og hefur hann hvað mest unnið í olíumálverki, akríl myndum og síðastliðinn áratug einnig tekið til við vatnslitamálun. Aðspurður segir Kristbergur að þetta tiltekna verkefni sé búið að vera í bígerð í rúm tvö ár. Hann var svo heppinn að finna þennan sýningarsal úti en hugmyndin að sýningu í Amsterdam á sér langan aðdraganda og má rekja aftur til níunda áratugarins.
Listaverk sýningarinnar eru öll ný verk sem Kristbergur vann sérstaklega fyrir þennan tiltekna sal og þessa sýningu. Hann fékk nákvæma teikningu af salnum frá aðilunum sem reka hann og því gat hann hannað sýninguna fyrir rýmið, verk fyrir verk. Kristbergur segir að það hafi heilmikið að segja um heildar útlitið á sýningunni.Það er þó ekki bara myndlistin sem kemur fram á sýningunni, eins og titillinn Paintings and Poems gefur til kynna.
„Innblásturinn fyrir þessi tilteknu verk kemur úr dálítið óvæntri átt. Ég tók upp á því fyrir tíu árum síðan að byrja að skrifa ljóð,“ segir Kristbergur en í upphafi vissi hann ekki nákvæmlega hvað hann vildi gera við þessi ljóð. Smám saman hafi ljóðin svo farið að seytla yfir í myndirnar.
„Megnið af þessari sýningu eru beinvísanir í þessi tilteknu ljóð sem ég hef skrifað.
Ljóð Kristbergs fjalla um mannlega tilvist og náttúru og búa yfir húmor, ásamt því að vera stundum drungaleg. Í listsköpun sinni deilir hann persónulegri reynslu í bland við þverstæðukenndan raunveruleika en segja má að listaverkin á þessari sýningu mætist akkúrat á milli ánægjulegs tímaleysis náttúrunnar og blákalds raunveruleika þess sem er hér og nú.
Olíumálverk Kristbergs búa yfir lögum af mörgum jarðlitum. Hann hefur átt í tilraunastarfsemi með ljóðin sín þar sem hann felur þau undir málningarlagi á striganum. Þannig eru orðin sem slík gerð óhlutbundin inn í línum og lögum sem mynda listræna heild ólíkra listmiðla.
Kristbergur Ó. Pétursson has ended up in gallery WG Kunst. A large, sturdy man who is quietly busy hanging his paintings. I am amazed at the striking resemblance between all the hangings. A series of related paintings. All in a moody dark black and grey. If you look closely you can see letters depicted on it, forming words that go in all directions. On another wall I see smaller works but made in the same color and style. Vague figures, half depicted. You only see head, arms and chest. Strikingly often the arms are raised. As if they were nailed to the cross, but you don't see a cross. Hands gesticulate and heads move. Everything is in subdued shades and all canvases are different.
The first impression is one of surprise. Despite the similarity between the hung work, the overall overview is far from boring. What you would expect when there is so much similarity in the art presented. There is a quiet calmness emanating from this work that feels good. Whether the content of the work justifies that remains to be seen. I don't know Icelandic and I don't know what the shadowy figures on the canvas are going through. It could be all misery what it's about. But if that is the case then it does not at all disturb the impression of silence and harmony that hangs in the gallery.
It looks like etchings hang on another wall. I see faces there too. Admittedly vague, but unmistakable. They are heads with speaking eyes, grimaces and wild hair. But also frightened eyes. Suffocation and torture? Suddenly I see the similarity with Rembrandt's etchings. The artist told me about his fascination for Rembrandt. Who was also so apparently carelessly able to put down the details that are not in the heart of the drawing. Many years ago, Kristbergur studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. And now he is back in Amsterdam for the first time, with this exhibition.
The texts on the canvases turn out to be poems. The artist is also a poet. A combination that you hear more often, but for the first time I see them in each other's presence. Poems in paintings. Like in a womb. Like they need to be hidden. They are equally important. The words are painted and the painting contains words. And the poet coincides with the painter.
You can't decipher the words. They are so obscure. They look like words carved into an ancient rock wall. Signs like in a cave, hieroglyphics from a distant past. Messages from another world. You can only guess at the meaning of these messages. Kristbergur clearly does not want to be an open book for the viewer.
It makes me curious about his poems. What are they about and what do these canvases tell when viewed for a longer period of time. Because looking longer is necessary at this exhibition. His art is not easily won over.
The artist gives me a bundle of poems and I read it in the evening. They are written in Icelandic but also translated into English. In the poems I find the same peace as in the paintings. With few words and in a clear language. But perhaps this assumption of tranquility is just as deceptive as it is in his art. And is it about the existential questions of life. I also find a somewhat hidden reality in his poems. Is the artist doing well or badly? Does he hide behind perspective and humour?
On the wall at the entrance of the gallery hangs a long row of drawings on paper, unframed and smaller than A-4 size. I call them drawings but they are made with different materials. Paint, pencil, gesso, etc. Mostly in a dark palette. Although I must say that in this series the most variation has been made in hue (the word color would be misplaced) and representation. Again many faces, mostly vaguely depicted. But still with more drawing. A figure behind something like bars. Is it another suffering Christ we see here?
Without being able to explain it, I feel sympathy for Kristbergur's work. The work is mainly spherical. It represents a mood. Perhaps especially that of melancholy.
And it is a sympathetic world that he sketches. Or maybe not the world because it is full of evil, but the way in which the artist accepts that world. As someone who has accepted that life is not easy. Trying to live with that. Without judging.
Icelandic nature is beautiful and exudes a kind of tranquility, but beware. Existence is extremely fragile. Although the inhabitants are never dramatic about it. There is an obviousness to life at the Arctic Circle that can easily mislead us. Like everything is safe there. But nature is so impressive, so impressive and so overwhelming that you automatically become modest. And so Kristbergur's art remains modest and calm. But if you look closely you can find much of the human drama in it.