Melanie Jame Wolf
Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson, Graphic Novel Virus (detail), 2020. Courtesy the artist.
At the entrance to Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson’s solo exhibition Earth, Water, Air, Fire at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, a black hole opens as an ink drawing on paper in contrasting colours. Thousands of shoes move in a circular motion until they gradually spaghettify. The first of two exhibition rooms opens with this humorous commentary critical of capitalism. The central works of the exhibition are four large-scale ink drawings on paper. Amidst the elements, one can trace the time the artist went through to make the drawing grow organically across the paper. The sounds of his “Organ Orchestra”, a series of ceramic instruments corresponding to the vital organs of the human body, flow through the space in accompaniment. Nature inside the body is made to resonate with the 4 elements that surround us.
The second exhibition space – intimate, dimly lit, can only be visited alone and contains a series of drawings from the artist’s journal, the Graphic Novel Virus. It marks collective and very personal memories of what happened during the first wave of Covid-19 and the first changing experiences within a post-Covid world.
Guðmundsson’s work moves between performance, drawing, music, and sculpture, with a penchant for the absurd. Starting with stories, a drawing may evolve into music or a sculpture, which then becomes the beginning of a performance. He prefers not to know where his creations will take him, exploring new frontiers of the mind.
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, he now lives in Berlin. He has exhibited and performed internationally, most recently in Autumn Bulbs II, Reykjavik Art Museum (2020), The Thirteenth Month, Gallery BERG Contemporary (2019) and Trippy Tiptoe Tour through Hreinn Fridfinnsson’s exhibition To Catch a Fish With a Song at KW, Berlin (2019). When it was still possible, he toured through Europe with the performance What Am I Doing With My Life?, including appearances in the Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2017). He is a grantee of the Icelandic Art Center. www.styrmir.eu