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May 23, 2013
Iceland, the land of the midnight sun and geological hot spots, will have its own floating stage at the Venice Biennale's 55th International Art Exhibition which officially opens on Saturday, June 1st. Artist Katrín Sigurdardóttir has created Foundation (2013), a site-specific sculptural installation for the Lavenderia/The Old Laundry at the Palazzo Zenobio in Dorsoduro—one of the six sestieri of Venice.
Foundation by Katrin Sigurdardottir at Venice Biennale
Iceland, the land of the midnight sun and geological hot spots, will have its own floating stage at the Venice Biennale's 55th International Art Exhibition which officially opens on Saturday, June 1st. Artist Katrin Sigurdardottir has created Foundation (2013), a site-specific sculptural installation for the Lavenderia/The Old Laundry at the Palazzo Zenobio in Dorsoduro—one of the six sestieri of Venice. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrin Sigurdardottir at Venice Biennale
By superimposing an elevated, highly decorative surface onto the Lavanderia, Sigurdardóttir married the Palazzo Zenobio's two buildings, the pavilion and the laundry, as one. The pavilion, symbolizing the opulence and leisure of the owner, is contrasted by the laundry’s historic associations with labor. The surface pattern of the platform replicates artisanal tile construction and is all hand-worked. Sigurdardóttir chose to use art materials instead of traditional flooring materials to emphasize an understanding of the tiled surface as sculpture and a map of sorts that might be walked upon and experienced from shifting angles. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
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 Palazzo, with two sets of stairs for access by visitors. Upon entering the work, visitors will first climb the stairs leading from the garden to the platform, and then bend down to pass through the truncated doors of the building. The work extends beyond the confines of the Lavanderia’s walls on three sides and allows the public to navigate diverse interior and exterior spaces. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
Visitors can also climb stairs to the roof of the building and look down on the sculpture’s large footprint and intricate patterns. The size of this architectural piece dwarfs the building, and thus takes on a familiar theme in Sigurdardóttir’s oeuvre, the playful manipulation of scale. Notably, Iceland lacks its own pavilion in the Giardini, and therefore the floating, disembodied structure of Sigurdardóttir’s sculpture takes on a special significance. The outline of the form becomes a metaphor for the outline of the national space. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
Katrín Sigurdardóttir explains, “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." Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
"We chose materials, which are all appropriate in indoor and outdoor conditions. The work will go from the summer heat of Venice, to the winter cold of Reykjavík before it will shown entirely indoors at the SculptureCenter. The materials in the work are sourced equally from tile and flooring suppliers—i.e. the substrate, the adhesive, the grout, and from sculpture compound suppliers, such as the various materials that compose the tiles themselves" —Katrín Sigurdardóttir

Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.

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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
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Foundation by Katrín Sigurdardóttir at the Venice Biennale
Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s project for the Icelandic Pavillion at the Venice Biennale will be on view from 1 June to 24 November, 2013. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.
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Foundation by Katrin Sigurdardottir at Venice Biennale
Iceland, the land of the midnight sun and geological hot spots, will have its own floating stage at the Venice Biennale's 55th International Art Exhibition which officially opens on Saturday, June 1st. Artist Katrin Sigurdardottir has created Foundation (2013), a site-specific sculptural installation for the Lavenderia/The Old Laundry at the Palazzo Zenobio in Dorsoduro—one of the six sestieri of Venice. Photo by: ORCH_ orsenigochemollo and courtesy of the artist and the Icelandic Art center.

Created as the feature project for the Icelandic Pavilion, this 90 square meter tiled intervention features an ornate, baroque-inspired platform that references the spatial poetry and memory-laden surfaces of the Palazzo's gardens and passageways. Sigurdardottir is best known for her highly detailed renditions of place, both real and fictional, as well as her playful scale shifts that examine perspective and navigation. The invited artist worked with her team to incorporate artisan tile construction and hand crafting methods into the historic spaces. The project is born from Sigurdardottir's career-long exploration of concepts linked to architecture, urbanism, cartography, and landscape. In this instance the artist wanted to incorporate tile work, specifically, in order to explore how the surfaces might change over time due to the varying conditions of the project's future locations.

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