Power of Passage – Reykjavik Museum of Art – Jóhann Eyfells

A major exhibit of Jóhann Eyfells’ collaption along with a video installation by filmmaker, Þór Elís Pálsson at Iceland’s Reykjavik Museum of Art.

As the title suggests, Power of Passage explores the passing moment and its image. The focal point of the exhibition is the large scale Cloth Collapsion by Jóhann Eyfells (b. 1923) which is shown alongside a three-channel video installation created by video artist Þór Elís Pálsson, using his own interviews with Eyfells about his philosophy of art and life.

The exhibit is from September 12 to January 6, 2013

See the trailer for A Force in Nature, a full length documentary film about the artist.

http://vimeo.com/50200612

Jóhann Eyfells takes on the art world.

David Hickey
David Hickey

David Hickey (born circa 1939) is an American art and cultural critic. He has written for many American publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper’s Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He is currently Professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Distinguished Professor of Criticism for the MFA Program in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of New Mexico.

John Rajchman
John Rajchman

John Rajchman (born June 25, 1946) is a philosopher working in the areas of art history, architecture, and continental philosophy.  John Rajchman is an Adjunct Professor[1] and Director of Modern Art M.A. Programs in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He has previously taught at Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and The Cooper Union, among others. He is a Contributing Editor for Artforum and is on the board of Critical Space. John Rajchman received a B.A., from Yale University and Ph.D., from Columbia University.

My challenge to both John Rajchman and David Hickey:

Dave Hickey, in the 1990’s, stated “nothing new has happened for 30 years.” I don’t agree. I feel, Mr. Hickey has to redeem himself. He has to reevaluate that statement. He says that nothing new has happened during my lifetime. That made me loose interest in investigating what he was saying. In fact, I don’t think I read anything by him since that statement because I judged it all worthless. I need a different kind of attention. As a thinker and an artist, I need to be aroused, not be put to sleep. In a way, putting people to sleep is common now. They should be giving lectures to a group of cows. No kidding! Have you ever seen a cow look up? They don’t look up. They just act like “life is wonderful.”

John Rajchman I believe does have an insight in what I do as an artist. Yet, I also question some of what he writes. He stated that “The house (materiality of life) has not been designed yet”. The word ‘design’ in this context I find questionable. It implies that creation or birth is intentional and that there is a Creator behind it. That’s a very culturally correct phrase to say, yet in my mind, birth is unintentional in it’s purity. John Rajchman writes “the jurisprudence of the singular,” I say, “the laws of chance.”

My fundamental questions to people are, does infinity have to have a starting point? Are beginnings the opposite of infinity? Is everything made of two halves?
If you ask a scientist today why the solar system works the way it does, his response would probably be because it simply does. There is a word for the solar system in Icelandic which literally means “Circular Nonsense.”
This acceptance of nonsense or unexplained events around us is the basis of faith. Even though it is nonsense, we have to have faith in it, in order to enjoy it. Chaos and delirium are necessary, for we should accept them for what they are. They are simply things without an end product or result. My recent sculpture, Plus and Minus Zero, represents the eternal synthesis of the infinite past with the infinite future. It’s the strangest unity in the universe. It’s also hard to distinguish between a Creator/Super Author and the actual creation or product. It’s a synthesis of contrast.

Only eternity is autonomous and self sufficient, and only a birth implies an absolute critic. We need a new perspective, period.”   Jóhann Eyfells

 

Dave Hickey’s response made April 24, 2012:

“I was wrong. I am writing a book called Pagan America to make up for it, so I’ll have to wait for redemption. Thanks.”  David Hickey

Receptual Cairn V

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Receptual Cairn V - Photo by Hayden de M. Yates

 

“The piece you are looking at above is titled “Receptual Cairn V”, a powerful representation of two significant ideas. First, the idea of “receptualism”, a neologism which encompasses Eyfells’ conceptual approach to art, teaches us that existence is very fragile, organic and inorganic. Although this piece seems so massive and indestructible, it is quite fragile and temporary. This “power of passage” eliminates time, and we are left with an unencumbered reality which is calming. Secondly, the cairn, a way finding symbol, expresses the primal nature of necessity and chance, for Jóhann Eyfells did not create this piece with hammer and chisel, rather he let it form itself from molten materials poured into molds then fired at the foundry.”   Sherryl Brown

1999 – World Artist at the Millenium – United Nations Exhibit in New York

Johann Eyfells is a sculptor, architect, and art professor. He was born in 1923 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 1949, he married Kristin Halldorsdottir, a former Icelandic model and dress designer, who made her own career as an artist alongside of his. He has studied at several universities, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1953 and a master’s degree in fine art in 1964.

Eyfells began producing abstract sculptures in the 60’s based on experiments in chemistry and physics, utilizing the various transformational properties of metals, especially aluminum, iron and copper. Minimal in nature, his art is non-objective and often conceptual in approach. His use of materials varies between metal, wood, paper, cloth, and latex rubber.

Eyfells’ creative drive is to document the interaction between time, space and gravity. His work is based on the concepts of receptualism, a theory he developed to explain the essence of his art.

Eyfells is credited with inventing the word ‘Receptualism’ when discussing his work. Eyfells’ work deals with the process of materials. Minimal in nature, his art is non-objective and often conceptual in approach. His materials vary between metal, wood, paper, plastic and cloth. Eyfells’ objective is to document the interaction between time, space and gravity. Many of his sculptures appear to be lava or geological formations. In Central Florida he is known as the Grandfather of sculpture.

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“Johann Eyfells takes sculpture back to its prehistoric nature, obviating the civilized idea of it as the engineering of space.”
— Donald Kuspit, Art Critic

Jóhann Eyfells exhibits at the 1972 Olympics in Munich

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The Art Department of Florida Technological University (FTU, now the University of Central Florida) was the only United States University Art Department chosen to officially participate in the 1972 Olympic Games. Held in Munich, Germany, from August 26 to September 10, 1972, the FTU art faculty led by Walter Gaudnek were commissioned to create giant symbolic sails and sculptural elements on primitive boats, conceived and built by Jóhann Eyfells, as part of a two week art marathon ritual. The works were built and painted in full view of the public and sailed across the Olympic Lake in the Olympic Park.

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The large, floating totems fulfill part of a commission received by Dr. Gaudnek from the Olympic Spielstrasse Committee. In the background is the Olympic soccer, track, and field stadium. FTU was the only American university represented at the Spielstrasse Activities. The Icelandic sculptor, Johann Eyfells, and Steve Lotz, FTU Art Department Chairman, co-created with Gaudnek for the 10 day period of the Spielstrasse activities during the Games.