Kristján Guðmundsson

Stockholm, 25.2–11.4  2010

In March this year’s Carnegie Art Award exhibition will reach the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. The first prize winner is no other than the Icelandic artist Kristján Guðmundsson, with whom we have worked for several years. To give the Stockholm audience a broader presentation of the artist we open our third solo show together, this time in the Stockholm gallery, on the 25 of February. In the show are included, among others, the sound-absorbing pieces with which Guðmundsson won the Carnegie Art Award.

“Kristján Guðmundsson has been impressively consistent in his explorations over more than four decades of the terms and foundations of drawing and painting, and how time and dimensions, cause and effect, can be visualised. /…/ In these sound-absorbing paintings, he has characteristically, and with a shrewd wink at minimalism, once again merged material and idea into aesthetic objects replete with meaning.”

“In the course of Guðmundsson’s career that spans forty years, his art has consistently defied conventional logic by combining such disparate elements as colour and sound, breaking new ground in the examination of the medium of painting.”

Thus wrote the Carnegie Art Award jury in its explanation as to why Guðmundsson was presented with the award in 2010. That Guðmundsson brought home the Nordic countries’ biggest painting award, even though he rarely paints, is a typical gudmundssonesque contradiction. In his work, a wry sense of humour and gravity are intertwined; idea and execution closely joined.

Guðmundsson’s work is minimalistic, to say the least. All unnecessary elements have been taken away and simple, hard materials such as steel, graphite and plastic are used to form basic shapes. But Guðmundsson is not only a minimalist, he is also to a large degree a conceptualist. Behind each work lie issues concerning science, artistry and human behavior. The artist himself describes his oeuvre as an exploration of “the field of tension that exists between nothing and something”.