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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Decade

Ásmundur Sveinsson

Fæðing

Year
1949
Height
40 cm
Width
45 cm
Category
Skúlptúr
Sub-category
Tréskúlptúr

The work, made by Ásmundur in Reykjavík in 1949, is an oak sculpture of a female figure, symbolising birth. In a formal sense the work addresses material, mass and space. The material is oak, with which the artist works largely directly, smoothing and polishing the wood. The grain of the wood is a part of the composition, underlining the upward flow of the work. The piece rests on a weighty pedestal, which is also a part of the sculpture, and tapers to the right. Space plays a crucial role in the work, demarcated by white cords. These transparent cords have the effect of presenting to the observer’s eye an ambiguity in the dynamic of mass and space in the work; the cord binds together symmetrical elements of the piece, and functions both as an open and a closed form. This interaction of inner and outer space presents to us the import of the piece, which takes place “inside and out.” The observer can discern in the sculpture clear faces and hands, and a navel through which red yarn is threaded. Face to face with the sculpture, the observer will naturally ask him/herself: Is it a child, or a mother? We may say that the face and hands express the elation or suffering of the birthing mother; the navel, on the other hand, can only belong to the child. The observer may also see the piece as an unborn child in the womb. Birth can clearly be interpreted in a multitude of ways; but it is grounded in an idea of birth that relates to both mother and child.

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