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Í KRING 03 – KÁRI BJÖRN

Threefold exhibition of the New York based Icelandic photographer Kári Björn.


Ásmundarsalur Maria (2018) Maria is a documentary project, originally self- published as a two part zine in May 2018, it focuses on the aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Maria was the deadliest storm of the hyperactive 2017 hurricane season and followed hurricanes Harvey and Irma which had already caused severe damage and deaths in the Caribbean and Southern United States. Maria reached land in Puerto Rico early in the morning on September 20th and the eye of the storm passed over the island over the course of the day. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure was not equipped to handle such a powerful storm, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority was immensely in debt, and with the average age of Puerto Rico’s power plants being just under 50 years old, the electric grid was too fragile to withstand Maria. Most of the island’s landfill sites were at or well over capacity and some had already been ordered to close. The initial death toll issued by the Puerto Rican government was 64. Almost a year later, it was raised to 2,975. The aftermath of the storm also raised many questions about the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. The island is a commonwealth of the United States and all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, which only 54% of Americans know according to a Morning Consult poll made shortly after the storm hit. It is also estimated that up to 15% of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million inhabitants will leave the island before the end of 2020 which will inevitably lead to years of economic hardship as the largest percentage of those leaving are young professionals.

Kárastígur 1 Probes (2014 – 2019) Prior to moving to New York in 2014 I mainly photographed landscapes. Probes combines outtakes from assignments, snapshots from Sunday strolls and pictures from projects that never became into a study of the landscape of New York, the people. Pessimists say that street photography in New York is dead, that the peak was reached with Meyerowitz, Arbus, Winogrand, and Friedlander along with many of their contemporaries. I disagree, our generation is just too fixated on nostalgia. There is so much left to explore. The cliché is true, the street is just like a theater. Especially in a city like New York, the level of privacy is next to nothing and people wear their emotions on their sleeves, which is the exact opposite of life in Iceland where people mind their own business and wait until they are home or at least in their car to let out emotions. Probes focuses on the details but draws from the tradition of 35mm photography in public spaces. Brautarholt 2 Synergy (2017) In the age before digital photography and social media, the photograph was widely regarded as proof, as undeniable evidence that something happened. Photographers have always told lies with their images, the truth is simply not obtainable within 1/125th of a second. Synergy is a series of short stories, little lies that never happened! All of the pictures are unposed and the objective of the works is not to shed light on the fallacies of photography or to question objectivity within the medium. Synergy champions photography’s inevitable lie.



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