Motivational Award 2019: Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson

Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson (b. 1987) was the winner of the 2019 Icelandic Art Prize’s Motivational Award for his exhibition Manuscript in D-Hall in Reykjavik Art Museum.

Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson has with great care adopted techniques and methods in relation to print, engravings, stamps and ceramics. He is nominated for his exhibition Manuscript in D-Hall, where he returns to an idea which was born during his study years. He already had a great interest in book art and the idea was to create pages from fired clay, each of which would be an independent work of art.

It is not an easy thing, firing such a thin clay tablet that it can pass for a page in a book, and it is impressive to listen to the artist’s descriptions of the long and delicate experimental process, where he gradually learned, by his mistakes, what would work and what wouldn’t.

When Leifur had made hundreds of the clay tablets, he painted on them random words and phrases which he had spent a long time noting down, from his own speech and other people’s. He rejected all lyricism but collected clichés and idle talk, fillers which we “chew” on, to use the artist’s own words, while we focus our thought on what we really want to say. Together, the clay tablets form a manuscript, a book which you walk into. The clay reminds us of the impermanence of language, which we shape and break at will, just like the artist’s material.

The selection committee is of the opinion that Leifur Ýmir memorably integrates the content and material in this exhibition which follows the viewer outside the museum and into daily life, where it keeps on brewing in the mind.

From the exhibition Manuscript. Photo: Owen Fiene.

From the exhibition Manuscript. Photo: Owen Fiene.

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