February 9, 2015 - MIT List Visual Arts Center - Katrín Sigurdardóttir
February 9, 2015

Katrín Sigurdardóttir

Both: Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Unbuilt 9 – Doctor Gunnlaugur Einarsson Residence, Sóleyjargata 5 – Architect: Sigurður Guðmundsson, 1926, 2014. C-print, 28 7/10 x 38 1/5 inches. Courtesy the artist and Meessen De Clercq, Brussels.

Katrín Sigurdardóttir
Drawing Apart

February 13–April 12, 2015

MIT List Visual Arts Center
20 Ames St., Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02139


Katrín Sigurdardóttir’s sculptural practice repeatedly examines how physical structures affect perception. Her works gesture towards real locations, employing shifts in scale and fragmentation to systematically question the truth of both memory and history. Sigurdardóttir’s exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center will consist of two bodies of work—Ellefu and Unbuilt Residences in Reykjavík, 1925–1930—both recently completed as part of the commission for this project. The works are executed according to an intensive set of processes that hinge on draftsmanship, each with a level of detail that is carefully removed, destroyed, or otherwise obscured. 

The objects in the series Ellefu—”eleven” in Icelandic—are abstracted, miniaturized sections of the artist’s childhood home in Reykjavík. Sigurdardóttir methodically regenerates these segments of exteriors, rooms, and passageways based on her on-site surveys of the architecture, which she develops into highly refined technical drawings.  These drawings form the basis for constructing the individual works, from prototyping and mold making to casting, joining, and surface polishing. The finished objects are seemingly austere floor-bound sculptures that partially conceal signs of their making, their surfaces rendered without evidence of personal history. 

For Unbuilt Residences in Reykjavík, 1925–1930, Sigurdardóttir selected a group of unrealized architectural plans of houses from the city’s archives. These plans reflect traditional building methods and materials as well as extensive changes in the architecture of Iceland during that period. Sigurdardóttir redrafts these basic architectural plans to create drawings from which she builds models of each residence. Once the models are built, she then destroys them by various means only to reassemble them from the remains. The eroded structures evince a history imagined through a process as rehearsed and anticipated as it is left to chance.

Public reception and conversation with the artist: Thursday, February 12, 5:30–8pm 

Conversation between Katrín Sigurdardóttir and Mark Jarzombek, Professor, History and Theory of Architecture, MIT School of Architecture + Planning 
Bartos Theater, E15 Lower Level 

Upper Atrium and galleries

Katrín Sigurdardóttir: Drawing Apart is curated by Jeffrey De Blois, Curatorial Fellow, and Paul C. Ha, Director, MIT List Visual Arts Center. 

Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Julian & Barbara Cherubini, the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund, the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Office of the Associate Provost at MIT, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the MIT List Visual Arts Center Advisory Committee, and the Friends of the List.

Katrín Sigurdardóttir at MIT List Visual Arts Center
MIT List Visual Arts Center
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