Baptism by Sugar
The exhibition Baptism by Sugar featuring works by Ragnhildur Weisshappel presents artwork created from sugar cubes that she colors using a specific dipping technique. White-purified sugar cubes, all similar in shape and size, are delicately dipped into a mixture of paint and water. The cubes absorb the blend, and within seconds, the colors adhere to the sugar grains. The goal is to have the cubes semi-painted, with the artist in control of the process. Each sugar cube behaves in its own way, resulting in unique color patterns. The cubes are then arranged side by side, forming a composite whole from many individual sugar cubes.
The works in the exhibition touch on ideas of quantum physics. In the realm of quantum physics, subatomic particles can exist in different states and even multiple states simultaneously. Particles like photons, electrons, protons, and neutrons can behave as waves, like sound, and as particles, like grains. This fascinating behavior means that the state of a quantum system cannot be precisely measured, only the probabilities and potential states, determined ultimately by chance. Unlike classical physics, where objects have measurable and fixed properties, quantum physics relies on probabilities.
One artwork in the exhibition measures 119 x 119 cm and contains 6400 colored sugar cubes. The potential arrangements of 6400 cubes involve a number starting with 1 followed by 21,592 zeros. What happens if you rotate the cubes? The possibilities multiply and become astronomical. Introduce more colors, and the possibilities, and consequently the possibilities in potential artworks, become almost endless. It's natural for the mind to struggle with the idea of such magnitudes. It seems too chaotic. There must be one way better than another.
Ragnhildur's work, and that of other artists, revolves around making decisions. She must find the best possible options to discover her truth in artistic creation. How challenging is that when the potential choices are infinitely many? Are some options better than others? The answer is yes. Some possibilities are better and more intriguing in art. If not, all paintings in the world would be unpainted, just as all music would be silent, books unwritten, and films dark. Without better choices, the Universe itself would be empty, and non-existent.
Ragnhildur always dwells in possibilities and contemplates different paths. It is a great fortune and privilege to have the ability to do so, and we should respect and preserve it. Without diverse perspectives and imagination, life would be purposeless, even dangerous. In the sugar cubes artworks, art emerges in the clouds of endless possibilities. Ragnhildur manages to activate our imagination to see inexhaustible possibilities and experience freedom within them. With such interactivity, art may crystallize.
Ragnhildur Weisshappel studied art in Iceland and France. She works in all media and uses it as a tool to translate from one thing to another. She has partaken in numerous group exhibitions in museums and exhibition spaces in Iceland and abroad. Ragnhildur lives and works in Svarfaðardalur, Iceland.
Artist: Ragnhildur Weisshappel