Páll Haukur Björnsson
Páll Haukur Björnsson studied fine art at the Iceland University of the Arts and completed an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2013. His recent one-man show at the BERG Contemporary gallery exhibited, among other things, works that inhabit an undefined space between art and design. "They are essentially unique editions that are able to shift between these categories. They are what they are, but they are also part of a larger context of works that are intangible or almost indefinable – but in a certain context or spectrum they all belong in the same galaxy," says Páll Haukur.
‘There is something in this contrast that I find interesting – Cold geometric steel lines with something that we connect with softness, beauty or freshness – to play at confounding how we perceive things’
Páll Haukur, 2020
In his work Páll Haukur flows seamlessly between different art media, including print, painting, sculpture and performance. "I am very interested in sculpture and both untitled (boxes) and the geometric shapes [herma 001] involve working with two different forms; supernatural, transcendental forms that are mathematically perfect and do not exist in nature as such, and then interweaving those with natural forms," he explains. "Seen as a form of meaning-making, nature is as much 'manmade' as other cultural concepts – both belong to a kind of language that we use to create the world or imbue it with meaning.
Herma 001 is based on a golden-ratio like mathematics. The geometry derives from me following some predetermined rules and then the flowers are introduced as an aesthetic concept into the mathematical structure." Páll Haukur says the flowers are also part of a colour-based research into what he calls 'extraordinary colours' in Icelandic nature, inspired by having lived abroad and experiencing cherry blossom trees and colourful plants in bloom all year round. "It's a myth that there are no colours in Iceland other than delicate little flower beds that only last for a short time – between which Iceland is grey, brown and pale yellow."
‘It's a myth that there are no colours in Iceland other than delicate little flower beds that only last for a short time’
Páll Haukur, 2020
Páll Haukur says the concept of the work is essentially a simple mathematical experiment that has been complicated. "Untitled (boxes) is a six-sided cube that is assembled according to mathematical laws, and then it is just the nature of the material and how the images reflect that causes it to be in constant flux – when you walk around the box it is constantly changing, the colour changes and the images change," he explains and adds that it is possible to assemble the box in 3,020 various ways. "There is something in this contrast that I find interesting – putting these hard, mechanical elements together with something that is interpreted in a completely different way. Cold geometric steel lined with something that we connect with softness, beauty or freshness – to play at confounding how we perceive things."