House of World Cultures, Berlin

curated by Valerie Smith

catalogue text by Anne Kirsten-Hege


Elín Jakobsdóttir’s work encompasses a range of media from 16mm and Super 8 to painting, cut paper, sculpture and photography. The boundaries between these territories are gently pushed as the artist lets her ideas and concepts wander freely through the spaces and possibilities offered by the various approaches ultimately seeking out a poetic result.

For Jakobsdottir, this theme of porous borders is best described by the French term “débordement” – a kind of overflowing.

As we move through real time and space, the human body encounters the limits of physical experience, the ‘imaginary’ is the inner realm that provides us with the means to overcome this limit and to overflow in the manner of a débordement. What interests the artist is the place of the imaginary, between sleeping and waking where we are taken when our experiences of the outer world are transferred through our emotions and subconscious. 

How does the concrete world of things relate to the world impressed on the artist by thought and memory?

The artist seeks out a kind of hieratic order hidden beneath the surface of the everyday, conjuring shapes and forms that echo the poetic mystery at the heart of Being. Like a musician improvising on different instruments Jakobsdóttir moves back and forth between media as well as between the outer and the inner world of perception, testing how traces in one’s memory connect or re-connect with a present, physical experience. Her attitude to time is rhythmic, the ultimate non-time within paintings expands into a compressed buckled loop of incremental pictorial changes within her films. With these small scale paper works at HKW, this looped tableau acquires a new trajectory that reabsorbs the archetypal characters of her films, the meticulous paper cutouts and the free hand spontaneous mark making of her earliest artistic endeavours into a palimpsest of forms where the macrocosm of the inner and outer worlds are held in poetic arrangements.


AKH 2012