Existence

June 29 – August 25

Existence

An exhibition of oil paintings and watercolors by Icelandic artist Eiríkur Smith from the years from 1968 to 1982. The title of the exhibition, Existence, refers to the existential questions the artist grappled with in his work in this period. In this period, especially the later part of it, Smith´s work gained public favour and he became one of the nation's most admired painters.

Around 1968 Smith began to display a previously-unknown interest in figurative painting, mainly influenced by Pop Art. In his earliest works in this vein Smith plays the abstract expressionism of the preceding years and figurative Pop Art off against each other. These are polemical works in which defenceless people encounter inhuman forces, elusive in form. Over time his work became more realist in style but in content the artist increasingly looked inward and considered man's existence in the universe. Figures in natural settings, often juxtaposed with dilapidated man-made structures, abound, mirroring tensions between the physical and spiritual. Thus the works in this exhibition, though from different periods in the artist´s career, all reflect existential questions, regarding man's social being and man's existence on the boundary of spiritual and physical.

Curated by Ólöf K. Sigurðardóttir and Heiðar Kári Rannversson

 



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