Jóhann Eyfells at
The Corcoran

Confronting Nature: Icelandic Art of the 20th Century
October 14 - November 26 2001
http://www.corcoran.org/exhibitions/Iceland/index.htm


 

JÓHANN EYFELLS, 1923

Jóhann Eyfells studied architecture and art in the United States from 1945 to 1953. He worked as an architect, artist, and teacher in Iceland and the United States until 1969, when he took up permanent residence in Florida, as an artist and professor of art at the University of Central Florida.

In 1960 Eyfells began to produce abstract sculptures based on his experiments in chemistry and physics and utilizing the various transformational properties of metals, in particular aluminum, iron and copper. His name for these works, “Receptual Cubes,” is based on his concept of receptualism, a theory he has developed to explain the essence of his work.  Receptualism intertwines three systems into one, the scientific, philosophical and the mystical. For Eyfells there are no boundaries separating the three.

In their diversity of surface appearance these works resemble nature itself, especially lava formations of various kinds, and the artist has remarked that he has no objections to his own sculptures being mistaken for nature’s craftsmanship. His production technique closely follows natural processes, for example, the congealing of molten lava which in effect creates art on the same principles as the forces of nature. The technique that Eyfells has pioneered involves melting metal under all different conditions and adding to them natural materials that affect the outcome.  In their molten state the metals are then poured into casts which have been dug into the ground, often using large earthmoving equipment. The interaction of soil, metal, other materials, temperature, gravity and the like determine the final result. This represents a kind of compromise between the artist’s energy and that of nature itself, the co-creator of the works. Eyfells’ artworks may be described as the product of systematic coincidences.

When their processing is complete, the works are overturned so that they take on the shape of the excavation in which they have been cast. These “overturnings,” as he calls them, deal in particular with the interaction of material properties, visibility, and time. The latter concept – documentation of the creative act within time – is a fundamental aspect of his art.
                                                             - Audur Ólafsdóttir

 


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