Fri 15 Sep 2023 to Sat 14 Oct 2023
Artist: Sunneva Ása Weisshappel
Private view: Thursday 14 September, 6pm-8pm
Robilant+Voena presents an exhibition of new works by Icelandic artist Sunneva Ása Weisshappel. This is Weisshappel’s second solo show with R+V, expanding upon the successful exhibition in London that took place in 2022, entitled Sunneva Ása Weisshappel: New Work.
A compelling exploration of the hidden aggression and vindictive elements in female relationships especially among young girls, the works draw upon Weisshappel’s experiences growing up as a teenager in the 2000s and take inspiration from the ideas put forth in the book Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons. Imbued with a bitter nostalgia, the exhibition sheds light on the covert bullying that is rampant between girls in childhood and adolescence—the alienation of girls as perpetrated by girls through means of social exclusion and rumors. Additionally, the works reflect upon the desire to fit in, navigating the subtle and perilous hierarchies of the school playground or the teenage party, and be accepted by one's peers.
By elucidating this phenomenon, Weisshappel seeks to disrupt the narrative of docile femininity in girlhood. Instead, she offers a raw perspective, subverting the notion that violence is a solely masculine trait while exploring the more discreet manifestation of female powerplay. The result is a candid, and sometimes uncomfortable, glimpse at the synchronous truth of women and girls as both victims and perpetrators.
Using an eclectic yet considered range of materials, including found objects such as Barbie dolls, zippers, patches of demin jeans, and glitter, the artist creates canvases with layers of distinct elements . Through this process, she explores the coarser side of femininity, juxtaposing delicate and seemingly innocence elements with robust, raw and fragmented materials. In the artist's words: ‘The palette, symbols, titles, and abstract language employed in my art are deeply influenced by my personal experiences, resources, and the era and environment in which they took place’.
Sunneva Ása Weisshappel is an Icelandic artist whose work interrogates the multifaceted nature of the human experience. Born in 1989, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Iceland University of the Arts in 2013. Currently, she is pursuing a joint MFA in Fine Arts at the Goldsmith University in London and the Iceland University of the Arts. In her work, she draws upon her own experiences to challenge herself and her audiences.
Through strange and forceful combinations of materials, she transforms collections of found objects into complex, multi-layered canvases. From delicate textiles conjuring ghostly shapes of female bodies, to hair, teeth and wax evoking the texture of human skin, her works extend beyond the two-dimensional canvas, loaded with cultural and symbolic meaning. She compares her paintings to human beings: ‘complex, beautiful, ugly, multifaceted, full of contrasts, mistakes, feelings, and contradictions’.
Weisshappel’s highly personal artistic practice touches upon universal and autobiographical themes. As well as working with installation and video art, the artist primarily focuses on painting and performance, which combine in her present body of work to explore what is possible in the act of painting. In addition, she has had a career as a production designer for projects produced by studios such as Netflix and Focus Films, and won awards for her costume design in the theater production of Njála, which ran at the Reykjavik City Theatre.