brons op stenen sokkel
Teniersplantsoen, Den Haag
52.068514674792, 4.3056505297316 View on map
Not very big, but very present, that's the 1987 head of 'Sjaan' in Teniersplantsoen. Your eyes are drawn to it. By the magical facial lines and by the mysterious houses on the long wavy hairs, like an inhabited island in a swaying sea.
A compelling attraction characterises this woman's head by the Icelandic artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson. In the 1970s, photography was his medium. There, too, that power of attraction is present, albeit in a different way. In his photographs, the artist himself figures in all sorts of absurd, ironic situations that work on the viewer like a magnet. There is, for instance, the photo in which Gudmundsson has tied his half-long hair to various balloons. The hair rises up with the balloons. But the figure remains nailed to the ground with a large stone in his arms. A sublime and tragic contrast.
When he switched to sculpture in the 1980s, he himself disappeared from view. For Gudmundsson, this transition does not make any substantial difference. He is interested in the content, not the medium. Yet there is a shift in emphasis. In his sculptures, but also in his drawings, phenomena such as ebb and flow, sun and rain and love and sorrow become more important. Deeper feelings towards nature, beauty and poetry came to the surface.
The head 'Sjaan' is a good example of this. Not a portrait, but perhaps a visual translation of the phenomenon of beauty, about which the artist wrote in his prose poem 'The Landscape by the Sea' (1987): 'When I first met her [the queen of beauty, ed. She was ankle-deep in water and behind her the sea had no horizon. I looked at her and felt a mixture of infatuation and physical desire.