For the Pavilion of Iceland at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Katrín Sigurdardóttir designed a large-scale sculptural intervention for the Lavanderia—The Old Laundry at Palazzo Zenobio. Below is a link to a video tour of the piece, which fleshes out the piece in a way that photographs can’t, no matter how stunning they are.
The artist created a floating platform covered by an ornate, baroque-inspired design, measuring approximately 90 square meters. The outline of the architectural structure takes its form from the footprint of a typical 18th century pavilion. It intersects both interior and exterior spaces of this auxiliary building in the garden of the Palace, with two sets of stairs for access by visitors. The project is born from a career-long exploration of distance and memory and their embodiments in architecture, urbanism, cartography, and landscape. Sigurdardóttir’s work often includes highly detailed renditions of places, both real and fictional, that incorporate an element of surprise. The piece will travel to the Reykjavík Art Museum and then to the SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York. Sigurdardóttir will adapt the sculpture to the new architecture of each location, yet it will maintain its original footprint as well as the cut-out memory of the walls of the previous sites.
Eva Heisler, American poet and art critic, writes in the exhibition catalogue, “The raised floor, extending throughout the space and projecting outside the building, appears to slice through the Lavanderia. From the roof, guests look down on the tiled platform as it extends from the building on three sides… rather like seepage of the interior. Sigurdardóttir’s viewing platform is so intricate that it is the view. Traversing the decorative surface enhances awareness of the body’s relationship to space as one struggles to make sense of the building’s altered scale and the distraction of pattern at one’s feet.”
Sigurdardóttir explains her piece this way:
This work is about drawing. It’s about labor, and it’s about spatial immersion. I wanted to create a work that could be entered from different points, navigated in multiple ways, and viewed from several levels, so that the visitor is both in the work and at the same time able to observe herself in the work. This work is both new and familiar, familiar in that it will key into a twofold perception—to experience and concurrently observe oneself experiencing—a kind of existential trickery that I have played with in previous works. It is new in that it’s my first full-scale architectural interpretation.
Above image: Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s large-scale sculptural intervention for the Lavanderia—The Old Laundry at Palazzo Zenobio—at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Courtesy of the artist.
A tour of Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s large-scale sculptural intervention for the Lavanderia, the Old Laundry at Palazzo Zenobio, at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Video by Etienne Taburet.