Sigurdur Gudmundsson – Nordic father of conceptual photography
On Friday 14 January, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard opens the exhibition Sigurdur Gudmundsson – Situations and Other Photo Works 1970-1982.
It has been a longstanding ambition of Galleri Bo Bjerggaard to show Gudmundsson's photographic works from the 1970s and 80s, which many people consider to be pioneering in conceptual photography.
Sigurdur Gudmundsson does not regard the works as actual photographs, but more as visual poems or sculptures. He calls them situations. The artist is not particularly concerned with the technical aspects of photography; for him, the camera is first and foremost a tool with which to express the concepts and ideas that interest him, and that he wishes to convey.
In most of the works, Gudmundsson himself appears as part of the motif. These are however far from being portraits; it would be more accurate to say that he appears in the situations as a 'stand-in', or as one object among other objects – whether these are punctuation marks/symbols, rainbows, bricks, books or other everyday items.
Art historian Sune Nordgren, who wrote the text for the catalogue which accompanies the exhibition, describes Gudmundsson's situations as an integral part of European conceptual art: "Together, they form a manual which might bear the title How to place yourself in a situation without knowing how to get out of it again. At the end of the day, it's about taking risks and the artistic outlook on life. […] Sigurdur Gudmundsson's photographic works possess a timeless relevance. They present fundamental assertions about the human condition, and also encompass what survivors call humour. This will always be a good argument for showing them once again to your fellow human beings."
Sigurdur Gudmundsson was born in Reykjavik in 1942, and lives and works in Iceland and China, respectively. Gudmundsson has held many solo exhibitions in the UK, Sweden and Germany, amongst other countries, and several of his situations were included in Louisiana's group exhibition Nature – Art as far back as 1980. The exhibition at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard will be the largest presentation in Denmark to date of the artist's early works.
Gudmundsson's early conceptual works are represented in several international collections, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo and Reykjavik Art Museum.
The artist will be present in person at the opening reception, which will take place on Friday 14 January from 4.00 - 6.00 pm. Sune Nordgren will provide a brief introduction to the exhibition at 5.00 pm, after which Sigurdur Gudmundsson will present a performance.
The exhibition Sigurdur Gudmundsson – Situations and Other Photo Works 1970-1982 can be seen until 5 March 2011.
Our next exhibition will be of new paintings by Ivan Andersen, which will open on Friday 4 February.
To request photographic material from Sigurdur Gudmundsson's exhibition, please e-mail Bolette Skibild at: