From Iceland — Making Of An Artist: Persian Carpets And Frost Activities With Þórdís Erla

Making Of An Artist: Persian Carpets And Frost Activities With Þórdís Erla

Published November 9, 2017

Making Of An Artist: Persian Carpets And Frost Activities With Þórdís Erla
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Þórdís Erla Zoëga is a visual artist based in Iceland. She received her BFA degree from the Audio Visual department of The Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2012, and has since exhibited widely in Iceland, and in Stockholm, Berlin, Basel, Amsterdam and more. At home, she has made works for the Reykjavík Art Festival, Gerðarsafn, Icelandic Dance Company and the Reykjavík Art Museum. Her work deals with intimacy, symmetry and balance. We asked her to talk us through a few of her formative influences.

Film: Triadisches ballet (1922) – Oscar Schlemmer
When studying Art History at FB (Fjölbrautaskólinn í Breiðholti), I remember when we started learning about DADA and Bauhaus and I thought to myself that this was finally getting interesting. I think DADA is still very relevant and fresh today even though it is a one hundred year old art movement and the Bauhaus aesthetics are coming back to us. Last year I made costumes and did set design for the Icelandic Dance Company for their show DADA DANS, and this film by Oscar Schlemmer was a big inspiration.

Impossible objects: The penrose triangle (1934) – Oscar Reuterswärd
Impossibility in its purest form. Simple objects seem to make sense at first glance, but if you look closer, you see that they are impossible. Works where you have to take a moment to realize what you are looking at always really speak to me, and this geometrical form keeps sneaking back into my works.

Installation: Frost activity (2004) – Ólafur Elíasson
This piece is a large scale installation that uses architecture and geometrical shapes to trick the eye and the perception of space. I wish I could have seen this work when it was exhibited at Hafnarhúsið in 2004, since I have a mild obsession with optical illusions, symmetry and floor materials.

Object: Persian carpets
There were always a lot of persian carpets in my family’s home. I associate carpets with being at home and family life. I started drawing and painting carpets when I was really homesick living in Berlin. What I like about them is that each one is unique and they are never perfect even though they strive for symmetry and balance.

Installation: High Plane VI (2007) – Katrín Sigurðardóttir
I stumbled upon Katrín Sigurðardóttir’s work ‘High plane’ in 2007 at Iceland’s Museum of Art. I remember how excited I felt when climbing up the stairs, not knowing what was above me, and putting my head through the hole at the top of stairs. I was immersed in a land of ocean and glaciers and saw another head bobbing around on the other side of the space amongst glaciers. Two giants in nature. I think this work sparked my interest in making works where the viewer is also a participant.

Video: David Attenborough – Deep ocean – Lights in the abyss
The beauty of the unknown and how much there is that we don’t know about our world and will never know. Our world is sci-fi.

Installation: Zimoun – Sculpting Sound
Zimoun uses really simple components to make large-scale installations with paper boxes, motors and ping pong balls to create artificial nature sounds.

Read of the makings of more artists here.

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