Tying in the Winter Solstice Sky with Svava Thordis Juliusson

Posted by Christine Vu, December 21, 2016

Svava Art

"I am compelled to make work, which functions as a response to my environment and my background, which includes the places and people from my childhood and place of birth."

Hamilton based, Iceland born, Svava Thordis Juliusson, was the perfect artist to take part in an installation inspired by the land of fire and ice on the Sky Yard. Her sculptural piece, Black Line - Squiggly with White is made of industrial materials that transports the space into a Northern oasis.

How does it feel to honour and share a piece of your culture through your art?

It feels really good to be able to share aspects of my culture through my work. My background is a constant in the development and, in many respects, the decisions that are made around, how my work is presented. The landscape, the air, and the colours of Iceland are embedded in my psyche. So too, is the language - the titles of works often come to me in Icelandic, which often results in challenging or odd translations of feelings or ideas that don't necessarily make sense in English.


What is your approach when it comes to site-specific work? What did you consider about the space before creating Black Line - Squiggly with White?

I approach site-specific work through a couple of different lenses. Through one lens, I consider the site's physical environment, its architecture, and its purpose if it has one. The other lens, is through my (mostly) intuitive approach to making objects and material.

Making Black Line - Squiggly with White, marks the second time I've been asked to develop a site-specific work for The Drake. In 2015, I was honoured with an invitation to develop a work on the grounds of The Drake Devonshire for the group exhibition Plein Air, curated by Mia Nielsen. So when asked to make a work for the Sky Yard, which featured aspects of and about Iceland, I jumped at the opportunity and the challenge. And I knew, upon seeing the wall I was tasked with animating, that it needed to be a line made of rope that might appear to have been drawn by hand. The obvious colour choices - black with a hint of white - are a nod to a winter solstice sky.

Svava Art

What do you think about when you’re creating?

I try to keep my mind free of distraction and on the task or activity at hand, though all too often, my mind wanders to a list of chores, or things needed from the grocery store. I love this quote by Agnes Martin on the subject: "I have a vacant mind in order to do what the inspiration calls for. And I don't start to paint until after I have an inspiration, and after I have it I make up my mind that I'm not going to interfere, not have any ideas."

Do you ever think about what situations or special moments might be shared in the space when people are among your work? What scenarios do you imagine might happen?

I do hope that people experience my work with open and intuitive minds. It's hard to imagine what might happen, but I witnessed an interesting interaction with one of my large-scale installations. It is a mobile-like suspended work made up of rope and coloured acrylic plexi-glass, which was first presented at Hamilton's Supercrawl in 2014. It was installed in the family zone and to my great pleasure, the kids really seemed to love it To my surprise, one child loved it so much that she hugged, kissed and licked it.

Experience Black Line - Squiggly with White in person at our Winter Solstice Party on DEC. 21.

Posted in: Art

Tags: Art  Sky Yard