VENICE.- The Icelandic Art Center is pleased to unveil the Icelandic Pavilion for the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (13 May - 26 November 2017): Out of Controll in Venice is where we finally meet Ūgh and Bõögâr, the two trolls turned artists, whose story we have been following since they took control of the Icelandic Pavilion from artist Egill Sæbjörnsson earlier this year. The pavilion is curated by Stefanie Böttcher, Director of Kunsthalle Mainz.
Ūgh and Bõögâr are two Icelandic trolls whom Egill Sæbjörnsson encountered back in 2008 already - a chance meeting that led to them immersing themselves in the artists life and vice versa. Out of Controll in Venice arises from their shared story: bringing together a café in Giudecca, handcrafted coffee cups, a LP, a book, a clothing line, a perfume, a digital experience and much more, we gain insight into their world as we visit the Pavilion. And not just that - we have a direct encounter with the two ferocious, man-eating creatures we have heard so much about, yet whose existence we may have doubted.
Upon entering the Pavilion, the visitor is confronted with a sign saying café. A closer look at this seemingly familiar walk-in café, reveals the two giant heads of Ūgh and Bõögâr, facing each other in the centre of the space. The trolls long hair, falling down 7 metres, has the effect of a curtain, enticing the visitor to explore whats beyond this physical and psychological barrier. Coffee in hand, they climb up a set of stairs and take a seat at a table on one of the three floors inside the trolls head, peaking through holes that reveal the troll on the opposite side of the space.
The living café in Giudecca exists for more than simply rest and relaxation. Activated by layered projections of light, animations and sounds, Ūgh and Bõögâr are talking to each other about their lives, thoughts and experiences. From time to time they make strange noises and perform a beastly performance. Their interaction reveals to us who they are, at the same time as they assuage their insatiable hunger for humans and for knowledge about our way of life.
Out of Controll in Venice extends beyond the Pavilion of Iceland, both in time and space. Ever since the trolls met Sæbjörnsson in 2008, they have been joining in with life in Iceland, Berlin (where Sæbjörnsson lives and works), Venice and beyond, intruding and distracting the human world. Their encounter and life with Sæbjörnsson is documented in the book When Egill met the Trolls and took them to Venice and the trolls themselves have shared - and will continue sharing - their activities this year and beyond on social media. Everything that they have taken an interest in, from music and fashion, to pottery and perfume, will be available for offline and online visitors to own, spreading the life of Ūgh and Bõögâr around the world.
Stefanie Böttcher, Director of Kunsthalle Mainz and curator of the Icelandic Pavilion, said: While Ūgh and Bõögâr may appear to belong to an archaic world of fantasy, the more time we spend with them in Out of Controll in Venice, the more concrete this seemingly other world becomes. Step by step, the trolls expand their circle of activity, they infiltrate us with their thoughts, their products and their aesthetic. Without noticing, we outgrow the role of passive observer and gradually grow into the artwork. We consume, while simultaneously being guzzled up. Rather than following the activities of the trolls, it is we who are being followed. Rather than seeking an encounter with this world situated between imagination and reality, we are being sucked into it. Just as we take in and absorb the work, the work is incorporating us into itself.