In her evocative sculptures and installations, Katrín Sigurdardóttir (BFA 1990) explores the way objects, structures, and spaces define perception. Examining distance and memory, she mines the forms and methods of architecture, archeology, and geology. While alluding to real locations, her work dissolves traditional representation to reach elusive and untethered experiences of place.
Sigurdardóttir’s sculptures in this exhibition tell a double story. They are representations of real objects, but simultaneously display a material transformation, as the sculptures journey from their place of origin to this exhibition. These “migratory” works replicate domestic objects from Sigurdardóttir’s personal history, resulting from a process spanning three sites of production: Reykjavík, New York, and San Francisco, as well as the transit between. The sculptures are originally cast in a soft material that intentionally erodes as they move towards their destination, and at each point of transit the missing parts are replaced with a harder, more resilient material. Their appearance recalls geological sediments and seismic migration where time and movement can be read through layers, strata, and striations. The title of the show refers to a geological phenomenon, where minerals or geologic texture change within pre-existing rocks.
This process of replacing and renewing the sculptures, one piece at a time, recalls Theseus' ship, and questions the sculptures identity. But it also tells a larger story about place, memory, and the unfolding narrative of human life through time and space.
As Sigurdardóttir’s process embraces wreckage and erosion along with careful reconstruction — the works recall the traditional Japanese repair method of kintsugi and related aesthetics of wabi-sabi, which centers on the appreciation and acceptance of transience and imperfection.
In the Emanuel Walter Gallery, Sigurdardóttir’s works are placed within a large surface installation, produced in collaboration with current SFAI students, where the participants contribute their own histories in parallel with her sculptural objects. Through this collaboration, Sigurdardóttir seeks to bring in additional narratives of place, allowing for the direct imprint of exhibition visitors, whose presence will augment the surface throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Metamorphic is curated by Hesse McGraw, SFAI Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs; and organized with Katie Hood Morgan, SFAI Assistant Curator and Exhibitions Manager.
About the Artist
Katrín Sigurdardóttir was born in Reykjavík, Iceland. Her works have been shown extensively in Europe, North America, and South America, and are included in numerous public and private collections. In 2013, she represented Iceland in the 55th Venice Biennial. Notable solo exhibition venues include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London; MIT List Visual Art Center, Boston; and FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon, France. In 2014, her large-scale work for the Venice Biennale traveled to Reykjavík Art Museum, Iceland, and SculptureCenter, New York.
This exhibition is supported by the The Harker Award for Interdisciplinary Studies, which supports artists-in-residence at San Francisco Art Institute. The Harker Award was established through a generous bequest by artist and SFAI faculty member Ann Chamberlain and is administered by the San Francisco Foundation.
SFAI’s Exhibitions and Public Programs are made possible by the generosity of donors and sponsors. Program support is provided by the Harker Fund of The San Francisco Foundation, The Phoebe Snow Foundation, Institute of Museums and Library Services, Grants for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation, Creative Work Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, Fort Point Beer Company, and Gregory Goode Photography. Ongoing support is provided by the McBean Distinguished Lecture and Residency Fund, The Buck Fund, and the Visiting Artists Fund of the SFAI Endowment.