« Olivia »


Pencil Tracings
Ed. 100


The image used is of Olivia
Wilde and found on the internet.
Photographer unnamed.

Courtesy of the internet.


The portrait of a young actress retrieved by Björnsson from the Internet is remarkable for its perfect symmetry. It meets all the criteria of the standard ideal of beauty and succeeds through its careful stylization in creating the familiar illusion of bedroom intimacy, complete with sidelight, loungewear and alluring gaze. The artist puts a sheet of transparent paper on top of the image and lightly traces the face of the actress with a pencil. It is important to him not to draw or to imitate, but to trace the image in a non-expressive manner. This he does not only once, but a hundred times, bringing into play the contradictory qualities of repetition. The work is then displayed as a group arrangement of different sizes where the tracings reveal subtle similarities and differences. The straightforward appeal of the photograph is substantiated and blurred at the same time, as the artist’s intimate and time-consuming treatment alternately highlights it on the one hand and conceals it on the other.