From Iceland — WINNING: Auður Ómarsdóttir Goes For Gold At Kling & Bang

WINNING: Auður Ómarsdóttir Goes For Gold At Kling & Bang

Published September 18, 2018

WINNING: Auður Ómarsdóttir Goes For Gold At Kling & Bang
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Auður Ómarsdóttir is from two worlds. A former handball player who was raised in sport, in recent years she has dedicated her life to the pursuit of art, making works in a diverse range of media that include performance, painting, sculpture and photography. Recently, however, she took up handball again and, in an act of mindful decompartmentalization, decided to fuse her sport and art lives together in her new exhibition ‘Stöngin Inn,’ or “In off the post.”

“I think my coach said it the best,” says Auður. “He said to me: ‘You belong to two tribes.’ It’s both a challenge and a very good thing to be able to have both in my life—and to mix them. Sport has a lot to do with creativity and independence. And art is all about making decisions. I felt like I was trying to find my essence for this show. I wanted to represent myself in an honest way.”

Passion and glory

In both sport and art, decision making is everything. A devout multi-disciplinarian with a self-professed “all or nothing, slightly manic” temperament, Auður wrestled with various ideas for her solo show. “I’ve known about it for maybe a year,” she says. “I asked myself: ‘Who am I as an artist?’ and ‘What’s my natural way of creating?’ I wanted to be true to myself, so I decided to focus on painting. Sometimes I’ve done shows and added in a painting at the last minute and it became the main piece.”

“Sport has a lot to do with creativity and independence and art is all about making decisions.”

“Stöngin Inn” features a variety of paintings and sculptures. At the entrance to the show hangs a large black banner bearing the words “Passion And Glory”—a lyric from “Eye of the Tiger.” Inside, large paintings bear simple outlines of badges, trophies and shields. One large painting, with a bird insignia, proclaims simply: “WIN.”

So is Auður a naturally competitive person? “I think my competitive side is mostly me against myself,” she says, thoughtfully. “In sport, I’m often competing against my temper, as well as making mistakes. When that happens, it’s easy to put them on someone else, or make excuses. But when you’re an artist you’re responsible for everything.”

Running and screaming

The traits of creativity and discipline can be seen as key to both playing sports and art practise. Auður has enjoyed cross-pollinating the two in her approach to art making. “I have a pretty vacant mind, so I set myself goals,” she says. “I said I would publish a poetry book by the end of 2015… it came to the end of the year, and I made one copy on December 31st, because that was the goal. I think it’s important, because as an artist you’re your own master.”

The show, in the end, has become a way of working through the dual identity of artist and sportsperson. “I think I have to surrender to being both,” she finishes, with a smile. “I can be working in the studio, and going crazy—it doesn’t give me the same release. Then I’ll go and play handball, and be running around and screaming. And then I’m all balanced out and ready to go into the studio again.”

‘Stöngin Inn’ is on show at Kling & Bang in the Marshall House at Grandagarður 20 until October 7th. Follow Auður on Instagram and see her website here.

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