The best way to describe Finnbogi Pétursson’s process of working is to imagine what the center of the earth might sound like. His focus is on silence as a concept for thought and being. He uses his installations and objects as conduits to enhance the observers sensibilities to visually and physically experience a state of mind induced by a moments of movement. These can be realized by various means. Pools of ink-black water rippled by the injection of sound, then illuminated with light, creating a mirrored reflection upon the walls surrounding the enclosed pool. It feels as if one is transported into another place where harmonious neutrality is the new normal. Pétursson began these water reflection pieces in 1989 with his first public exhibition at the Reykjavik Living Art Museum in 1991. His focus then as it is now, is to make sound visible.
The common denominator in all of Pétursson’s works is his acute sense of materiality and how he creates his own dialogue between nature and science. He thinks of himself as a visual artist whose focus is on realizing new ways of creatively presenting the properties and behavior of sound through his experiments with sine, square and triangle sound waves. Pétursson’s installations have been referred to as nothing more or less then essential; moments that spare themselves of anything other then a limited set of variables with the sound wave as his conceptual constant.
In Finnbogi Pétursson’s most recent works the viewer sees and experiences a different type of measured sound through his use of metal plates made from brass, copper and aluminum. He combines these plates in pairs or as single objects, installed on to the wall in front of an amplifier, that generates a predesigned set of vibrations based on sound files that have been created to match the different qualities of each metal plate by its weight, density, and thickness.These pieces resonate with a low oscillating sounds, sometimes as in pairs merging their frequencies together or as single entities, yet both fill the room with a deep sense of a physical presence. What makes these works of Pétursson so inviting is how they all seem to function so effortlessly, not burdened by the overwhelming weight of technical baggage. Minimalist and centrally focused, these works regardless of their scale, draw upon what’s essential in any given moment in time. They reflect Pétursson’s relationship to his Icelandic environment both physically, emotionally and culturally. He uses his pieces as bridges to a silent space within all of us, by tuning it to his own frequency.
– Timothy Persons