In Media Res
When you entered this exhibition space you came from somewhere else. When you leave this space, you will go somewhere else.
Icelandic artist Hulda Stefánsdóttir has been reflecting on time over the last few semesters, as we all probably have. All this time that seems to be going to waste, all this time that we suddenly gained. The wait for the futurity, the wait for something to pass.
“Why are we constantly waiting for one thing to finish and another to start?” Hulda wonders.
The term in media res comes from Latin and means “in the midst of things,” and refers to when a narrative starts in the middle. But what does that mean, anyway? Shouldn’t that apply to all stories of the world? Each narrative is a result of another and the antecedent to the next one.
Hulda says that this has to do with her own approach to the artistic process. “I never approach it as a tabula rasa, a clean slate.” We start conversing about mankind’s primitive works of art, old stone carvings, markings in the shape of forms and lines. “I have been pondering over the basic human need to express oneself, both pictorially and abstract. This long and deep cultural history, how the works inevitably speak into a wider external context, both in time and space.”
Hulda Stefánsdóttir creates paintings that are sparse and deceptively simple, so that the texture of the surface becomes not only a background but a prominent feature. When we look closely a surprising depth and a wealth of detail are revealed, like low-pitched voices that we only hear when all else is silent.
In Media Res is on display at Berg Contemporary, Klapparstígur 16, Reykjavík.