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)

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.

An insight from Jóhann – Light, Sound and Movement

I recently spoke to the artist, and as usual, I come away inspired. He called to say that he had some hopeful news coming from Iceland that some individuals are taking a keen interest in his work. He seemed optimistic that more and more people are beginning to understand his vision, “almost to a tee.” Personally speaking, in the 8+ years I’ve known Jóhann, I’ve seldom thought of him as being anything other than optimistic.

As always, he asked how I was faring, and how both my children were. He was especially interested in knowing how my own pursuit of a Master’s degree in Motion Picture & Television Directing was getting on. I told him I was inundated with the richness of academia. With regards to A Force in Nature, I told him we were in full post-production and we expect to be close to finishing.

He paused for a moment and then said the following: “Directing is understanding darkness, silence, and stillness.”  At first, I did not get it, but he proceeded to elaborate and said that “light is a consequence of darkness, sound a consequence of silence, and movement a consequence of stillness.” Because light, sound and movement are so fundamental to the making of any movie, I was now re-engaged, thanks to Jóhann, as I reflect on the role I am playing as a director of our film, A Force in Nature. In short, I was re-ignited by a man almost twice my age as I step away from my own effortless tendency towards complacency.

http://vimeo.com/52449621

password: “spirals”

JEyfells