“Rocks are slowly disappearing much like mankind is doing now” so says Jóhann Eyfells.
An aging Icelandic sculptor living in America shows his unwavering devotion to the creative process in spite of the physical struggle he must face every day, just to be recognized or understood as an important artist of his time. A Force in Nature is a self-reflective 5 year chronicle of Jóhann Eyfells, a 93 year-old Icelandic man, continues to create ambitious works of art. Through an exploration of his processes, breathtaking glimpses of his Icelandic roots and a gathering of perspectives ranging from his closest friends to the family he left behind in Iceland, this documentary reveals the forces that shaped Jóhann’s long life as a creative force.
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My approach as a director is both participatory and omniscient. Through my own experience of being in Jóhann Eyfells’ presence witnessing his transformation, and listening to him speak of his “Receptualist” art and of his profound experiences living with his late wife Kristin, the camera becomes my eyes. This film reveals both artists and the mystifying and captivating insights into their work. As a witness to Eyfells’ journey, I have become aware of my own process as a filmmaker. Upon first gazing at Eyfells’ sculptures, the spectator is initially repulsed by the raw unrefined crudeness of it, but soon is allured by its mystifying abstract forms. This is achieved with the use of slow tracking and smooth dolly shots. Other times, through the use of hand held shots, the audience is brought up close and personal with the artist and his creative process. The curiosity to find meaning and understanding in his work is the driving mechanism of the film, allowing me to explore various key elements of his life; the Iceland of his childhood, his undying love and devotion to his late artist wife Kristin, and his own expression as a sculptor.
Jóhann Eyfells left his Icelandic homeland and family at the age of 23 to carve a life for himself in America. Starting out as an Icelandic amateur boxing champion, he became an architect, a university teacher, and finally, a world class sculptor. The story reveals the various forces that shaped his early life in Iceland, a land of fire and ice, where nature’s own explosive foundry continues to sculpt and shape our planet today. The same raw forces are the critical ingredients that allow him to forge such a large body of work as a sculptor and thinker. The sheer beauty and raw power of Iceland’s constantly shifting landscapes contrasting with the gentle quiet serenity of Texas Hill Country serve as a backdrop to the film.
He had a major show entitled Power of Passage at the Reykjavik Museum of Art in Iceland. He was also a major exhibitor at the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS), and represented Iceland at the 1993 Venice Biannale, the United Nations and at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
See the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/213382491