Critics’ Picks

David Levine, Sepulchral City, 2016. Performance view.

David Levine, Sepulchral City, 2016. Performance view.

Reykjavik

“That Time”

Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum
Hamraborg 4
October 27–December 18, 2016

Coinciding with Iceland’s election week was the opening of the second iteration of the Cycle Music and Art Festival in Kópavogur, an extensive program of concerts, performances, and lectures accompanied by a longer-running group show titled “That Time,” curated by Eva Wilson. Derived from Samuel Beckett’s one-act play, the show’s title refers to how art and music exist differently in time. The festival attempts to defy habitual approaches of presenting art and music as separate fields through a strong emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary practices. It presents work by about fifty artists, both local and international; some participate in the exhibition through ongoing radio broadcasts and performances. Standout works include David Levine’s Sepulchral City, 2016, a performance by actors who recite Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as they move freely through various spaces in the museum. The actors perform for everybody and nobody, yet always for themselves, allowing for the audience to wander in and out of the work and to listen while engaging with other pieces. In contrast to this is the installation Surface Costumes, 2015, by Rachel de Joode. Here, the Dutch artist has photographed and then reworked tangible surfaces such as clay, paint, and stone through an extensive technique in Photoshop. By making these images into costumes, she turns these materials back onto themselves, creating a strange feedback loop. Beyond how temporal awareness is composed and utilized through art and music, the title of the show refers to a time and a world beyond our human perception, which in the geological wonder of Iceland seems a little closer to grasp.