Pathway by the seaside at Ægisíða
Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir’s COLUMN II acts as a kind of holy concrete city gate, shrouded in dignity and grandeur, standing by the seaside of Ægisíða. The negative space forms the shape of a column, but since ancient Greek times, the pillar has been a recurring theme in architecture around the world. Historically, columns been used to reference greatness, power and wealth, in government buildings, banks, educational institutions and in the driveways of those more fortunate. It also refers to nature, the human body, and kingdom of heaven or the divine. Ancient Greek culture, or the cradle of civilization, is the heritage that Western nations consider when documenting their history. By pointing to, but at the same time removing, the phallic symbol and making the pillar a two-dimensional hole, corridor or intangible phenomenon, Ragnheiður has paved a new path where she waits for the viewer to walk through the value-laden side and become a participant in rethinking and rewriting the story on its own terms.
Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir (b. 1975) works in various media; sculpture, installations, films and photography. The artist’s background in visual anthropology is often visible in her works, taking on a feminist basis with ideas on knowledge creation, values and merit, in addition to which she researches and reveals class divisions and systems of power in society. Ragnheiður received an MFA from Bard College in 2012 and an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College in 2001. She has exhibited her work at Reykjavík Art Museum, Gerðarsafn Art Museum, Kunstschlager Gallery, The Living Art Museum and at the Sequences Art Festival in Reykjavík, Göteborgs Konsthall and Cecilia Hillström Gallery in Sweden, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Soloway Gallery and Franklin Street Works in New York City, among other venues. Her work can be found in the collection of major museums in Iceland and private collections abroad.