Sóley Ragnarsdóttir: Organizing Principles
5 Nov – 30 Dec 2021

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As the second chapter of the INTRO development program, O—Overgaden is excited to welcome the solo exhibition by selected artist Sóley Ragnarsdóttir.

The hyper-decorative is particularly characteristic of Danish-Icelandic Sóley Ragnarsdóttir’s practice. In her first institutional solo exhibition, she presents a series of new works in the shape of paintings, sculptures, and two commissioned wallpapers altogether unfolding a marvelous and idiosyncratic symbiosis between materials, symbols, places, and stories.

With a sculptural approach to painting, Ragnarsdóttir colors and ornaments her works with synthetic as well as organic materials, mixing up acrylic and epoxy with shells, amber, and ocean-rounded pieces of glass. Referring to the British Arts & Crafts movement, that wanted to resurrect the aesthetic qualities of handicraft, Ragnarsdóttir insists on the validity and value of the decorative within the realm of contemporary art. The thousands of delicately executed brushstrokes, dots, and patterns, which repetitively fill every surface of the works, are also testament to an immense number of working hours and level of devotion that stand in stark contrast to the accelerating tempo of everyday life.

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, Ragnarsdóttir left vibrant Berlin to settle near the ocean in Thy, Northern Jutland. Surrounded by amber hunters, fishermen, and surfers she has allowed the ocean and immediate environment to enter her images. Large eyes made from the same material as surfboards and boats hang from the ceiling in fishing ropes in front of amber-tinted windows, while seashells and stones from the coast peek out. Nature is often perceived as the antithesis of culture but in Ragnarsdóttir’s eclectic universe the two are combined. As the title Organizing Principles suggests, she shares a poetic view of the world that breaks with the idea of classifying matter in separate categories.

Video by Christian Brems

Sóley Ragnarsdóttir (b. 1991) holds an Meister titel from Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany, and has exhibited at Städel Museum (Frankfurt), Kunstforum (Darmstadt), and most recently at Jean Claude Maier (Frankfurt). Organizing Principles is the culmination of her enrollment in O—Overgaden’s talent program INTRO.

The INTRO program is funded by Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen’s Foundation. The exhibition has received further support from the Danish Arts Foundation, 15. Juni Fonden, Beckett-Fonden, Knud Højgaard's Foundation and the City of Copenhagen.