Diller Daniels is pleased to announce Adaptation, its Fall exhibition featuring Icelandic artists and friends Jóhanna Kristbjörg Sigurðardóttir and Páll Haukur, opening September 18, 2021. The two-person show is a modernist, mixed-medium presentation of abstract sculpture, paintings and drawings, that allude to poetry of process—adapting; accommodating; participating. The show’s title thus implies movement and change, emphasizing life cycles as nonlinear and yet continuous, while also centering the existentialist qualities of both Jóhanna's and Páll's humming, presence-making works.
The artists, both of whom attended Iceland University of the Arts, embody a drive and experimentalism that is entirely Icelandic, and in that, arguably heroic. Their work is devoid of contemporary self-consciousness and infused with an ardor that is native to the Icelandic spirit; when asked about her inspiration for making, Jóhannna commented that “there's some kind of force,” driving her. She said, “I would not know anything else, or I could not do without it.” Páll similarly notes a freedom within the Icelandic perspective, something more improvisational: “In Iceland, you're always kind of winging it. You just show up and you've got this idea, and then you just figure it out if it works or not while doing it.”
Perhaps their calm attitudes make room for rigor, which is evident in the thought and physicality of each artist’s work.
Two of Jóhanna's sculptural works on view, Part of B.W a movement (2015), and Part of Take on new shape my friend (2017), offer an anthropomorphic sensation that’s echoed in the musicality of her painting, Part of Wait a minute, (2019), which has the tenor of Kandinsky, perhaps a nod to her interest in Russian culture and classic texts. This particular trio, however, also demonstrates Jóhanna's aforementioned intuitive attitude, in the way gravity is assembled to achieve something unexpectedly balanced.
Two of Páll's works, an acrylic “unstable object” entitled Untitled traps (2021), and his painting, Untitled (2021)—a starburst of falling leaves—rest in the main exhibition cube the gallery’s space, in dialogue with Jóhanna's drawings, Part of Somewhere between green and blue (2020). The room is playful and bright, filled with light that the “trap” reflects and that his falling leaves give way to. The latter, the splintered mass of natural material, returns to this idea of life cycles, and grounds us in the effervescence of things.
Throughout this exhibition, there is an emphasis on doing. Jóhanna and Páll, both of whom are also professors of art (in Belgium and Iceland respectively), appreciate the cerebral but embrace the physical, the action. They commit to realizing something that could exist in no other form, and adapting to what must be.
For more information and to view available works, please visit our online viewing room