Anne Herzog

Volcano Snæfellsjökull, pencil on paper, 21 x 29 cm

Nearly 140 years after the heroes of Jules Verne, the young artist Anne Herzog went in search of the center of the earth. She followed their tracks to the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull. She has also explored volcanoes in the Indian Ocean, and most recently in the Caribbean. This is the subject of her exhibition at the Nordic House in Reykjavík that opened on February 1st 2014.

Anne Herzog is working on the question of the origins of the universe, volcanic landscapes, the sites under entropic volcanic islands, land art and the butterfly effect. Speaking about a 8mm film she made she said: “This is a film that can show us something other than reality, a media that can show us the invisible, the ghostly apparitions, different times, alternative futures and other dimensions.” To see the young artist step dancing like a little elf in the streets of Reykjavík, I wonder if she is already there…

Since we must choose a label, let’s say that the artistic approach of Anne Herzog relates to Land Art. She makes fictional documentaries which are the traces of a performance. This takes us quite far away from Earth Art, which happens in the natural environment, and closer to ephemeral transformations, to walks in nature, to the artist erasing all traces of realization.

Volcano Snæfellsjökull, pencil on paper, 21 x 29 cm

In the end, looking for the invisible does not remove us from reality, because, as everyone knows, volcanoes do not exist. They spend their time sleeping, imitating the mountains, and then when they erupt, plumes of ash and vapor conceal them. Their lava flow is gray during the day; its colors can only be seen at night. Yet Anne Herzog continues to explore them through drawings, paintings, sounds, videos and performances. She uses watercolor, photography, wax or acrylic on canvas, ink on paper – sometimes diluted by glacier snow – as well as Super 8 film.

Anne Herzog’s life is full of correspondences. The heroes of Jules Verne entered by the Snæfellsnes and returned through Stromboli. Anne too, but in order to write a dissertation on the sacred and the profane in Roberto Rossellini’s Stromboli, where Swede Ingrid Bergman starred the main role, which brings us back to the North. She wrote a text entitled « Equinox », where it is the solstice that scratches the slopes of Snæfellsnes. She has exhibited in Trinidad, the southernmost island of the West Indies, and chose to live on the northernmost of another ridge, the island of Iceland in the middle of the North Atlantic. And while the tectonic plates separate by two centimeters per year in the middle of Iceland, Anne tinkers with others in a darkroom, deliberately mixing together development products. She also seeks to fix the fluids flowing from a medium onto a sensitive plate, without a camera. She then exhibits her works on the axis New York – Reykjavik – Paris. Who said anything about straying from the mark?

Gérard Lemarquis

Translation Danielle Hurley and Erin Honeycutt

Anne Herzog is 29 years old. She was educated in France, at the Sorbonne and the Nantes school of fine art, and in Reykjavik, at the visual arts academy. She currently lives in Iceland.

Exhibition Revolution: Generation volcano in the Nordic House, Reykjavik (Iceland), 1-26 February 2014