World Premier at the 2017 Hill Country Film Festival – April 27-30

 

I don’t know if I am awake or dreaming any of this, or if in fact the making of our film, A Force in Nature, has reached its final conclusion, giving way to a new phase in the film’s life cycle. We helped it along through its conception and development, and now it’s about to be born out for the world to see and experience for the first time.

Finishing A Force in Nature was undoubtedly a personal challenge for me. Through the course of the ten years of production/post-production, I would often wonder if it would ever get finished, especially since this film was mostly self-funded. The close collaboration I had with co-producer and editor Vishwanand Shetti (aka. V.) during the past 6 years was not only an extraordinary opportunity to learn the art of perseverance and patience with getting the project finished, but also afforded V. and I the space to explore the depths of Jóhann’s life and his thought provoking art installations.

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The 2017 Hill Country Film Festival will be where the film will have its first public exhibition on Saturday, April 29. For me personally, this process of making this film has also fostered a long and lasting collaborative friendship with both V and Jóhann Eyfells, who continue to have an unwavering influence on me as a human being and artist.

Being an artist is nothing short of insanity, yet its the type of insanity the world needs right now, desperately! Its the right kind of insanity, in which we are challenged to allow ourselves to experience the unexpected and spontaneous, and be aware of the forces that keep us complaisant and indifferent. When taking action or making a gesture, an artist does so without hesitation because he/she knows that the expression itself has to be authentic and immediate. The artist does not allow fear to dictate the decisions and choices he/she makes, but rather fear is merely there to signal that an action and/or thought is to take place.

As is often the case, when in the presence of Jóhann, one is constantly put to the intellectual test. Recently, Jóhann Eyfells and I discussed the difference between the concepts of “instinct” and “intuition”. He asked me if I knew the difference. Hesitantly, I responded that I thought I had good intuition and instinct and admittedly used both words interchangeably, not really aware of the difference. Jóhann was quick to point out the difference to me, explaining that “instinct”, which comes from deep within our nature to feel, is spontaneous and tireless, while “intuition”, which is more connected with intellectual reasoning, is more deliberate and sluggish. That got me thinking. Once more Jóhann challenges me to get in the ring and participate in the fight against complacency, and to do that, I must be willing to jump headfirst into the dark abyss, in other words, the unknown.

Do you know the difference between “instinct” and “intuition?”

Hayden de M. Yates (director and co-producer)

Visit HillCountryff.com and book your festival passes now. A Force in Nature will be screening on Saturday, April 29 at 11am.

Iceland is recognizing one of their own

Johann’s sculpture has recently made headlines on the most important Icelandic publication, FRETTABLADID. See it below:

JohannNewspaper copyBe sure to also see the trailer for A Force in Nature here: https://vimeo.com/135532487

United Nations Exhibit Orlando Sentinel 1999

Sculptor’s Audience Is International

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“Work by past University of Central Florida professor, Jóhann Eyfells, will be in a United Nations exhibit. “You never know what this will lead to,” he said.

August 1, 1999 By Margaret Sloane Sentinel Correspondent

OVIEDO – Artist Johann Eyfells will have an international stage for his art.

The sculptor has been notified that one of his creations was chosen to be displayed in an art exhibition at the United Nations in New York City.

“It’s really wonderful to be part of something as top-notch as this show,” said the 76-year-old artist. “You never know what this will lead to.” One of his complex and philosophical pieces from a collection he calls “cloth collapsions” was selected for the U.N. show. It will be shipped to New York for exhibition along with works by artists from 35 countries.

Eyfells, who was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, will represent his homeland at the U.N. exhibit, which will open in September. You might think Eyfells, after 30 years of teaching at the University of Central Florida, would look forward to a quiet retirement. Instead, Eyfells is forging into the commercial world of art with the same passion he taught his students at UCF.

Eyfells’ cloth collapsions have never been shown before, and he hopes to make a statement in the art world with his unusual creations.

“I consider my work sculpture even though the pieces consist of several layers of porous cloth, because I use sculpture elements such as metal disks or rings when designing them,” he said. Although the artist is enjoying worldwide acclaim, his heart is still in the community where he lives. Eyfells is particularly excited to play a role in giving Oviedo international recognition. “It’s a strong beginning in establishing Oviedo as an artist colony and a worldwide center for the arts,” he said.

With his years of mentoring students, Eyfells is amazed at the talent in the community. He thinks small cities such as Oviedo should capitalize on their homegrown talent. Barbara Walker-Seaman, owner of the Artistic Hand in Oviedo, was one of Eyfells’ first students at UCF 30 years ago. “I think it is very exciting that a local artist of his caliber is involved in such a prestigious show at the U.N. His work is so unique and full of energy. It stimulates the imagination,” she said.

Eyfells’ work is symbolic of his belief that it is the outer world that triggers what to do next, a concept that he calls “receptualism.” Receptualism has strong ties to the idea that man needs to pay more attention to the nature of things and to conserve the world.

Eyfells has recently sold a few pieces of his work from another collection. When asked why there seems to be a growing interest in owning his artwork, he said that his age probably has something to do with it. “It’s just a theory, but when an artist is getting on in years, people are more apt to buy some of his work,” he said.

Some of Eyfells’ sculptures grace the front lawn of his home on Tuskawilla Road in Oviedo. His work took top prize in the First National Sculpture Invitational Exhibition at the DeLand Museum in 1992 and has been exhibited worldwide in both private and public collections.

Eyfells plans a large one-man show of his work at the UCF art gallery in September. To view some of Eyfells’ work or to contact him, you can log on to: http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/jeyfells/

Jóhann is an explorer of the mind.

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Jóhann, braving one of the worst rain downpours this city has ever experienced, came by to see me in Austin from Fredericksburg (1.5 hours away) to urgently talk to me about something. As we sat down over a warm cup of tea, he asked whether I was prepared to hear what he holds staunchly as his own conclusions about life, for which he felt he was repeatedly criticized and reproached throughout his life as an artist by many of his contemporaries.  He showed me a “Critique” of Nietzsche that he left for me to decipher.

Before I continue, I want to clarify some things that some of us may presume of this man. I know Jóhann to be a true intellect “par excellence”, in that his conclusions and understandings of life are not from the perspective of an impetuous egotist or self centered and thoughtless artist, but from his keen observations of life’s processes, that began very early in his own life. The innocence and constant curiosity he had as a child, is still to this day very much evident. For instance, as a seven year old boy he would keenly observe the spiral-like motions of swirling eddies on the edge of a fast moving Icelandic river, which would eventually lead him decades later to creating his giant monumental spirals.

Jóhann explores the mind to its deepest depths, the same way mankind today explores the vast expanse and mystery of the universe. I challenge anyone to explain to me the experiential difference.

After reading and deciphering two pages from this Nietzsche “Critique”, the following seems to be what drives Jóhann’s life and art:

Life goes beyond the limits that knowledge fixes for it, but thought goes beyond the limits that life fixes for it. Thought ceases to be a ratio, while life ceases to be a reaction. This is the essence of ART.”

I think visionary artists like Jóhann will doubt themselves at times and wonder if they are the genuine thing, the true spokesperson of the beyond, the channel for brilliance and God-like revelations.  Whist an artist is alive, his banal physicality stands before his extraordinary genius, but once departed from the physical world, the artist’s genius is then revealed for all to see and feel. Recognizing that brilliance, as observers, we often forget that such individuals were actually human.

Poem #25 – Spontaneous, Yet Slow in Birth

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(click on picture – password: “spirals”)

SPONTANEOUS, YET SLOW IN BIRTH

intentions of man

impelled by active moments of formative forces

conceived in boldness

sanctioned in birth by perception

finding inner consummation

in pinnacled forms of climax

sustained will against random nature

spirit-obsessed impulse of expression

transcending the laws of organic survival

forms of faith-inspired matter-of-factness

belie ritual births measured and slow

in irrational spontaneity of conception

mastered by the whole of experience

skilled intentions exists in sculptured matter

J. Eyfells – Stonehenge – 1964

The Opposite of Murphy’s Law

The life and work of Jóhann Eyfells is a constant reminder that “if something can go right, it will go right.” Since the first day I met with my friend Jóhann, almost nine years ago, my life has taken a whole new meaning, and for the better, without a doubt.

JEyfells2See this teaser, A Force in Nature (password: spirals), a feature length documentary film looking at the life and work of Jóhann Eyfells.