Morgunbladid 12. oktober 2002
Photographs and video installation
Þóra þórisdóttir has on more than one occasion put her work in a mythological
context, evoking the ancient idea of art as ritual, as it was before it became
art in our western sense. Moreover, this feature of hallow secrets seems to be
born and prosper naturally and effortless. The slaughtering of a lamb, a few
years ago, aroused a strong reaction and bordered on Þóra being accused of
illegal and immoral animal cruelty.
Now it’s the vineyard, an appeal to the fruits of nature and the ambiguous memory of the garden of Eden and the serpent, but at the same time the primal mother the people of Create interpreted as a goddess – perhaps the earth goddess Gaia – that play’s with snakes which encircle her arms. Þóra lets the camera observe a performance where she fills a barrel with Hungarian Villány wine – cheaper than filling it with water- and baths herself in it. After that she pours the wine back into the bottles and had then irrevocably put her mark on the production. The remarkable happened in the city of pécs – pronounced as page in English – in the south-west part of Hungary, that large sums of money where offered for the bottles with Þóra’s bath-wine. Although some of the Villány wine seems to have been left, as rows of bottles stand beside the television-screen and in front of the bath-towel on the rack, as a witness of the ceremony when the wine mixes with the body and the body with the wine.
In a series of pictures in the front hall the image of paradise is displayed where Eve talks to the serpent, but could easily symbolise the Earth goddess.Facing the pictures is another video where Þóra blends into the Hungarian public by wearing the distinguishing clothes of the women of Pécs. By obliterating the division between her as a foreigner and the citizens of the South-Hungarian city, the artist emphasises her empathy with the foreign notwithstanding her or their origins. Again a connection with ancient lore can be observed – this time of the stranger proclaiming that nothing shall be as before – which Þóra turns into a ceremony or a small self invented ritual to the glory of the unexpected and the unforeseen, when the future is not soon, but now.
There is a catch in these Hungarian rhapsodies of Þóra Þórisdóttir, that prove now as before her ability to revive ancient symbols without looking to the past.
Ragna Sigurdardottir / transl. Hörn