Pétursson Finnbogi

Republic Frequencies 2023
installation, glass, metal, sound frequencies


In his work, Icelandic artist Finnbogi Pétursson consistently explores the boundaries of the traditionally understood artwork and opens up new possibilities of communication between the artwork, the viewer and the outside world. His interest is focused on the exploration of sounds spreading through space in various manifestations and forms and their integration into installation units that offer viewers a multilayered perspective on the seemingly fixed processes of perceiving a particular environment.  In addition to artistic expressive tools, the artist often uses rational procedures and methods, drawing inspiration from the fields of physics and especially acoustics. Scientific knowledge, however, plays the role of an initiating immanent matter in the structure of his artistic realizations, from which he subsequently models intangible sculptures connecting the dimensions of physical and mental experience.

Finnbogi Pétursson’s project Republic Frequencies, prepared for the Gardening of Soul exhibition, grows thematically out of the experiences the artist gained during his residency at the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts in June 2023. He was inspired by this institution, or rather its headquarters, which he subjected to a detailed research focused on mapping the sound frequencies present in its spaces. He then decided to visualize the measured values in a minimalist installation made up of found transparent glass tubes referring to the rich and still living tradition of glass production, which influences both the character of cultural expressions developed for centuries in the border region of the Czech lands, as well as the atmosphere of the local natural milieu long co-created by economic activities closely linked to such oriented industrial production.

The resulting shaped composition grows out of a dynamic arrangement of different lengths of transparent glass tubes, each of which, by its size and internal circumference, determines which frequency will reside in it, thus becoming its conductive host. The assembly of tubes thus visualizes the sound frequencies detected in the space and represents a kind of visual score of wavelengths passing through the gallery space. 

In this way, Finnbogi Pétursson draws attention to the different levels of perception that consciously or subconsciously co-determine our orientation in and belonging to the world around us. Sounds, frequencies and amplitudes, the natural ones growing out of the order of nature, but also the expansive ones generated by human activities, made visible in Republic Frequencies through a geometrized installation structure, are understood by the artist as a metaphorical revelation of natural environmental processes that face a constant attack of disruption or destruction. Surrendering to the near and distant, storming and inaudible echoes flowing to us and through us from the recesses of the infinite garden of sound, the depth and complexity of the world unfolds before us, and we listen attentively to it in order to trace in the gaps of extinction the signals tracing the meaning of human existence.