Gabríela Friðriksdóttir
25 Sep – 15 Nov 2009
Darkroom presents Tetralógia (2005), a video work based on Icelandic mythology by Gabríela Friðriksdóttir (b. 1971).
Oral tradition is a central part of Icelandic culture. Friðriksdóttir says that she wants to follow Icelandic thinking to achieve a kind of discussion, but without actual dialogue. Although the listeners are silent, they are not passive. The storyteller must make the story so interesting in the telling that he or she is able to seduce the listener into the fantasy. Friðriksdóttir succeeds in this. She builds the mythological world of her works through careful planning and execution. The stage and the costumes are works of art in themselves. The modes of narration follow the visual language typical to the artist. In the beginning of her career, Friðriksdóttir drew pictures of her inner life, and now, years later, the same pictures come to life in her video works. In addition to their powerful and idiosyncratic visuality, sounds play an important part in Friðriksdóttir's works. The score of Tetralógia now on view in Darkroom is composed on the basis of the artist's own simple melody by Borgar Bor Magnason, Daniel Ágúst Haraldsson and Jónas Sen. In West Aurélie Charneux improvises with bass clarinet.

The sections of Tetralógia are named after the points of compass. The number four also refers to the four elements, earth, water, air and fire, and to the categories in Carl Gustav Jung's analytic psychology. The figures and events in the work represent collective archetypes that manifest themselves in myths, legends and religions.

In the section North (9:30 min.) a cold, strong wind is blowing, scattering haystacks to reveal gigantic figures and a mother. We are witnessing the spectacle of birth, accompanied by human voice. In the next section, East (7:08 min.), the heads of the human figures are sculptural, and their limbs incorporate elements that refer to the animal kingdom. Liquids are dripping and bubbling, dough is kneaded. The struggle is articulated by the dramatic score. Dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir writhes in the midst of the orchestra. Existence and transience are constantly present. The magical mood continues in South (7:31 min.), which lets us in to follow face-to-face prediction sessions. The intensity of the moment is emphasised by the strings. Will they dare to turn the last card? The work comes full circle in the fourth part, West (8:36 min.), in which the viewer meets a man walking in a forest. Smoke rises from the bowels of the earth, leading him to a cave. The man and the creature in the cave begin to collaborate. The man lifts up pieces of roots as winds play calmly in the background. Finally he liberates the creatures to continue their journey floating in the water.

Versations/Tetralógia was seen as an immersive installation in the Icelandic pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

The exhibition is supported by the Finnish-Icelandic Cultural Foundation.


On Thursday 24 September 2009 Gabríela Friðriksdóttir will speak in English about her artistic practice in the Kuvateatteri (Picture Theatre) of the Turku Arts Academy (Linnankatu 54–60) starting at 2 pm. Admission is free and the meeting is open to the public.
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2018