“The Return of the King “at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography
The exhibition The Return of the King by photographer/artist Sigurður Unnar Birgisson comprises enlargements of passport-sized photographs of men aged about seventy, alongside photographs of flowers of Icelandic nature by renowned Icelandic photographer Hjálmar R. Bárðarson (1918-2009). The exhibitions will be opened at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography on Saturday 25 September at 14:00.
The juxtaposition of these two subjects may seem unusual. What could elderly men have in common with flowers? At first glance, all they seem to share is the use of a conventional, realistic approach in both cases – and also a harmony of form between them. But the exhibition poses deeper questions, delving beneath the surface to view the broader context.
Sigurður Unnar says: “The gentlemen in the exhibition are my flowers. I admire them for their beauty, and they are my guide towards how to live as a man. They all came to me to have their photos taken, and I met some of them again later.” The essence of the analogy between the men and the flowers is found in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 6:28: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. ”
Hjálmar R. Bárðarson’s flower pictures were published in his book Íslenskur gróður (Icelandic Vegetation) in 1998. He was a prolific photographer, who published many photographic books. His archive is in the keeping of the National Museum of Iceland, which has kindly permitted the use of the photos in this exhibition.
For further information about the exhibition, please go to https://reykjavikcitymuseum.is/reykjavik-museum-of-photography/exhibitions/the-return-of-the-kingsigurdur-unnar-birgisson
Sigurður Unnar Birgisson lives in Reykjavík, where he works at the Passamyndir photographic studio. He earned his BA and MA degrees from the Universität der Künste in Berlin, where he studied under Maria Vedder, graduating in 2015. Since graduation he has been involved in installations at the Háskar art festival, read a diary entry as part of a performance at the Mengi artist-run space in Reykjavík, directed his father in a music video of Teitur Magnússon’s song Bara þú, and worked for the Reykjavík Dance Festival in collaboration with Michikazu Matsune on The Viewers. Sigurður’s focus is on the human being as manifested in flesh and blood. To see examples of his work, go to www.sigurdurunnar.com.
The exhibition ends on 12 December 2021.
The exhibition ends on 12 December 2021