Ásgerður Búadóttir: Facets of Life
Ásgerður Búadóttir (1920-2014) was a pioneer of woven art in Iceland, her work combines ancient craft techniques and the independent creation of modern art. Ásgerður mainly worked with Icelandic wool and during the 1970s her magnificent tapestries drew well-deserved attention for their original use of material, where wool and horsehair create a whole, with a rich materiality.
Ásgerður studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, under the tutelage of Kurt Zier, among others, and later at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen, in Wilhelm Lundstrøm’s painting department. Ásgerður was a self-taught weaver, apart from one short evening course. After studying in Copenhagen, she bought a weaving loom and brought it with her to Iceland, thus marking a definite path in her artistic career. She was an active participant in the Icelandic and Nordic art scene from the start, her art education was very useful to execute artworks in a brand-new medium.
The power of the drawing was always an important foundation in Ásgerður’s work, her whole work is characterised by rich materiality and restrained methods. Ásgerður used few colours, mainly only natural sheep colours, but in the 1960s she started dyeing her own thread, thereby adding blue indigo, as well as common madder root and cochineal giving carmine, yellowish-red and russet shades.
At an international art and crafts exhibition in Münich 1956, Ásgerður received the gold medal, marking the start of her splendid and influential career. The exhibition Facets of Life covers Ásgerður’s work from her entire career, from figurative sketches and smaller work during her study years, to larger abstracts which are among her key works.
2020 is the one hundredth birth anniversary of Ásgerður Búadóttir. To mark the occasion, Reykjavík Art Museum holds a retrospective of her work, and later in the year, The National Gallery of Iceland will host a group exhibition, where Ásgerður’s work will be examined in the context of a few modern artists who use weaving in their art.