“Ok. The title came pretty early on in the process. It´s a pretty cheesy play on words, its sounds like dying but with the extra E (dyeing) it spells the action of colouring something. Dyeing Adolescence. But it all makes sense, the focus in the title is both the deterioration in the sound of DYING and the beautification or elevation in the spelling of DYEING – Adolescence.”
Dyeing Adolescence was a solo show by Guðmundur Bragason that ran from march 22nd – 29th at the Iceland Academy of Arts. The work is about the artist’s relationship to Iceland (as an Icelandic guy who was raised in Sweden). In conversation he described Iceland as being in a stage of ‘adolescence’ and as a visitor to the island this concept intrigued me greatly. Everything was so new to me in my short stay there that I had barely begun to see the forest for the trees. I was delighted and interested in everything I saw as it belonged to a not yet habitual environment.
In this state I found Bragason’s one step remove intimacy to the country a good way to gain a new perspective on the place myself. However the decoding of the materials he used requires more of an insider’s knowledge. For this reason I got a lot from Dan Meththananda’s piece on Bragason’s work “Teenage Kicks I”. A sophisticated breakdown of the exhibition and Bragason’s practice in general, which can be found if you click on these words.
“Bragason avoids both directness of much contemporary art coming from Iceland, or non-Icelandic artists’ common tendency to exoticize, and reduce the land into a sort of filmset for soft core rock porn fantasies. (I, for one would love to shoot a soft core rock porn fantasy movie) With the sensibility of both an insider and outsider, the strength of Bragason’s work in Iceland lies in how it plays differently to Icelanders and foreign viewers. Perhaps it is the only show I have seen that comes off as naive to the local audience, and sophisticated to outsiders, rather than the reverse.”