Katrin Fridriks - photo by Philippe Bonan

Katrin Fridriks

Iceland 1974

Installation, Conceptual Art, Abstract Art


Katrin Fridriks
Katrin Fridriks
July 14, 2014
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Katrin Fridriks is an Icelandic conceptual artist, the vanguard of a new abstract expressionism movement. Fridriks was born in Reykjavík, Iceland and she’s been active at the art scene for more than 10 years. Katrin is known for fusing natural energies of her native Iceland with an organic, abstract expressionism together with Japanese calligraphy, sometimes filtered through conceptual installations. Elements from the contemporary pop art and graffiti culture can also be seen in her works.

Katrin Fridriks Between Science and Art

Although Katrin’s first love and passion was architecture, she ended up studying calligraphy which definitely influenced her characteristic work – learning the technique of executing a letter in one brush stroke triggered what today has become a chorographical painting process. What points her out is that in her artworks Katrin Fridriks addresses controversial scientific innovation – and that includes genetic research and cloning, with amorphous color splashes on finely crafted materials and sleek surfaces. While exploring ties between science and art, Katrin distils her questions about human life and its future. In her native Iceland, a government-backed pharmaceutical company named DeCode controversially keeps a DNA database of the country’s citizens. A part of that genetic code and its classification adventure can be observed, for example, in her work Gene&Ethics. Other themes she refers are the flux of information in a technology-based context, and the natural resources expressing the consequences of human activities on Earth.

Katrin Fridriks - Gene&ethics stardust, 2013
Katrin Fridriks – Gene&ethics stardust, 2013

Fridriks’ Monochromatic works and Color-rich Compositions

The architectural dimensions of Katrin’s paintings highlight her interest for large-scale works and compositions of painting – playing with the size, thickness and format of the canvases. However, pictorial process she brings is taking her to the enlargement of her drippings – from swings to even covering the whole canvas sometimes. Katrin acts as a trigger for natural processes, chemical reactions, which create fractal structures on the paintings‘surfaces. These processes give Fridrik‘s paintings a quite uncommon depth.
Fridriks have been compared to Jackson Pollok for her color-rich compositions with tangles of drips and brushstrokes. Her work is richly colorful, to the extent that it supercharges the imagination but she also paints monochromatic works—black on white, and white on black.

In 2013, Katrin created a work titled Silver Three Crayon Installation that presents her abstract paintings on three-dimensional, modernist sculptural forms. Key concepts for the series where this piece belongs to are: wave-particle duality, harmonic oscillation, and linear functional.

Katrin Fridriks - Silver 3 Crayon Installation, 2013
Katrin Fridriks – Silver 3 Crayon Installation, 2013

Red Sea at the Olympic Stadium of Nîmes

Katrin Fridriks has been internationally exhibited and she received high-profile grants from the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education & Re­search in Luxembourg in 2009, and from private Companies such as the Goss-Michael Foundation for the MTV Re-define project in 2011 and 2014, Ralph Lauren Foundation in 2010, the Biennial of Liverpool and the Centre of Icelandic Art in 2008… In 2007, Fridriks received a high-profile commission from the French Government to create Red Sea, an 80 m² fresco for the Olympic Stadium of Nîmes.

Although Katrin is best known for large-scale paintings, her truly contemporary artistic practice originates in an early engagement with Performance Art with her project Dust of Galaxy, in 2002 or Land Art presented through Energy Flow in 2004.

Katrin Fridriks - Red Sea, a fresco commissioned by Olympic Stadium of Nimes, 2007
Katrin Fridriks – Red Sea, a fresco commissioned by Olympic Stadium of Nimes, 2007

Stendhal Syndrome at Circle Culture Gallery in Berlin

Fridriks began to work on installation too: her ensemble Molecular Spaces in 2008 where she focused on transforming her pictures into three-dimensional theatrical settings. In 2014, Circle Culture Gallery in Berlin showed Stendhal Syndrome as Katrin’s solo show.

The title derivates from the series of works she has been producing as her visualization of “a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art“. The theme has been elaborated through the exhibited works and the overall setup, but most of all, through a captivating main installation of the show including a large canvas work that can be examined through a custom made magnifying glass.

Katrin Fridriks - Stendhal Syndrome at Circle Culture Gallery Berlin, 2014
Katrin Fridriks – Stendhal Syndrome at Circle Culture Gallery Berlin, 2014

Personal Structures – Crossing Borders at Biennale di Venezia 2015

In 2015, Katrin installed her large installation Perception of the Stendhal Syndrome at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice, Italy, as a part of the Personal Structures – Crossing Borders group exhibition opening at la Biennale di Venezia 2015. That same year, the first significant monograph dedicated to Katrin Fridriks was released by Skira editorial. Being released as part of their Artist Collection, this 250 page hardcover edition provides a unique journey into the artist’s universe and past 15 years of Fridriks’ creation and evolution. The main focus is on her latest and most innovative paintings and shows. The author is Fiamma Arditi, an Italian writer and journalist based in New York.

Katrin Fridriks lives and works between Luxemburg and Paris.

Featured image: Katrin Fridriks – photo by Philippe Bonan
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Stendhal SyndromeCircle Culture Gallery, Berlin, GermanySolo
2014YIA Art Fair 2014 Helene Bailly Gallery, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Vienna Art Fair with Circle Culture gallery Vienna, AustriaGroup
2014Katrin Fridriks - New Works- Art International IstanbulArt International Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2014 „Flying Awareness“ Lazarides gallery, London, UKSolo
2014“From Impressionists until now“Museum Seoul Arts Center - Seoul, South KoreaGroup
2014ART 14 FairCircle Culture Gallery, LondonDuo
2014Artstage FairSingaporeGroup
2014Brafa Art FairBrusselsGroup
2014India Art fairSolo show LTD gallery, New DelhiSolo
2013POTSE 68Circle Culture Gallery, BerlinGroup
2013Art Karlsruhe, Art FairCircle Culture Gallery, BerlinGroup
2013EphemeralCircle Culture Gallery, BerlinGroup
2013ART 13, Modern & Contemporary Art FairCircle Culture Gallery, BerlinGroup
2013India Art FairLtd gallery private collection, New DelhiGroup
2013Art ParisBailly Contemporain, ParisGroup
2012Cutlog Art FairCircle Culture Gallery, ParisGroup
2012Design DaysStilwerk Design Gallery, DubaiGroup
2012Escape the golden cageViennaGroup
2012SF artMRKT fairLeBasse projects, San FranciscoGroup
2012New Space OpeningCircle Culture Gallery, HamburgGroup
2012Piasa AuctionArt Contemporain, ParisGroup
2012Space – Form, curated by Sven DavisBreeze Block Gallery, Portland / OregonGroup
2012The Burlington Social ClubCircle Culture Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Pop Up ShowCircle Culture Gallery, BerlinGroup
2012St-art European Contemporary Art FairLtd Gallery private collection, StrasbourgGroup
2012Pulse Art FairLeBasse projects, MiamiGroup
2012Hong Kong Art FairHong KongGroup
2012UntitledVicky David GallerySolo
2012ChromeLe Feuvre Gallery, ParisSolo
2012Art Urbain ContemporainArtcurial Auction, Paris Group
2011The Urban ArtistCircleculture Gallery at Soho House, BerlinGroup
2011Leak of InformationCircleculture Gallery, BerlinSolo
2011MothernaturePascal Janssens Gallery, GhentSolo
2011The Urban ArtistCircleculture Gallery, HamburgGroup
2011Artcurial “100 briques”ParisGroup
201140 ans de pressionnismeForum Grimaldi, MonacoGroup
2011InaugurationVicky David Gallery, New YorkGroup
2011Pulse Art FairLe Basse Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2011The future is not what it used to beLe Basse Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2011Salon der GegenwartCircle Culture Gallery, HamburgGroup
2011The Border Contemporary Art Zone LineartPascal Janssens Gallery, GhentSolo
2011100 briques for MadagascarArtcurial auction, ParisGroup
2011Pierre Bergé, AuctionEmpreintes urbaines, ParisGroup
2010GraffittiPierre Bergé Auction & AD Gallizia, Palais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2010InaugurationContemporary Art Center, ÉpinalGroup
2010CrayonsLe Feuvre Gallery, ParisGroup
2010Volta 6 - Art BaselCircle Culture Gallery at Art Basel, BaselGroup
2010Marrakesh Art FairMarrakeshGroup
2010Moniker Art FairLondonGroup
2010Tag & GraffGrand Palais, ParisGroup
2009CAL SalonLuxembourgGroup
2009Center of Icelandic Art, SIMReykjavik Grand Palais Salon, Collectionneur, ParisGroup
2009Digital Experience, eArts FestivalShanghaiGroup
2008Sequences Art festivalReykjavikGroup
2007BénédictineMuseum Palais, FécampSolo
2004Thunder from a HeroNational Museum of Reykjavik, ReykjavikGroup