Reykjadalur (Archived) (2018)

 

 

Whilst in Iceland I wanted to collect and remember the things I was doing that were not from merely taking photographs or doing sketches. These would capture a moment that I could relay to others, but they are also flat, 2D, false representations of the actual colours, shapes, textures that I was encountering. 

 

I went on a lot of walks whilst there one being in Reykjadalur, meaning ‘smoky valley’ due to the geothermal river and hot spots running through it. This landscape was full of lots of lava stone of different colours, as well as other types of rocks, plants and muds. 

Some of these would be the same as what you would see in the UK whilst others were wildly different. 

 

I found myself being drawn to touch and experience being in the landscape by using my body. The Reykjadalur valley walk ended in a swim in the thermal river so there was an underlying element of engulfing the body even before reaching the river. 

I found myself picking up stones or plants and grinding them between my fingers, watching as the different colours came out from within them. There was a lot of really different colours and textures amongst even similar looking rocks/plants.

I then started to collect the rocks and plants in an active attempt to preserve this experience. I hadn’t planned on doing this so I had to eat my lunch early so I had a spare box. 

 

I collected along the whole walk but found the act of swimming in the river very emotionally involving so a lot of the collected pieces where from within or next to the river.

When back home I categorised the collected pieces into colour and textures. I had only one box with me on the walk so unfortunately all the pieces were all mixed up with each other.

 

I then worked with a pestle and mortar to grind all the pieces into powders. Some rocks crumbled instantly whereas others took a bit more hard work. 

The powders themselves were really nice aesthetically on their own, but I noticed their potential at being possible to make paint from using egg or water. 
This would also mean that they could be preserved better and longer, as I kept accidentally knocking the powdered stone as it was. 
I experimented with tempera paint, which worked really well with the stones and plants, the white stone was tarnished by the yellow of the egg so I also created a water based paint for these ones.

When back in the UK, I started to look into the paint samples I had made a bit more and work with them to create a more structured artwork. I had collected the data of the time and coordinates I had collected each rock/plant/etc. I am increasingly having an interest in a more institutional approach to archiving within my practice, hence already recording all the relevant information about the collected itemsI created these cards with information about the material as well as info now that it is a paint. On the backside of each card is 5 different ordering systems so that the piece can be rearranged depending on what piece of information is focused on. 

 © 2020 Claye Bowler

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