Alexander Hetherington

Ellipses of the Afternoon, Elín Jakobsdóttir, 20–23 January 2018

An inclined circle is ill suited to marking time efficiently. Conversely, the circular tyranny of around clock face is anathema to the plotting of contemplative time. The fruits of contemplation happen when they are ready to happen, not because it is nine, noon or five o’clock. An ellipse – as every drawing student learns – is a circle inclined, just like an artist reclining in thought or reading, painting, walking, making space for the best of the day to happen. The artist must take pleasure in subverting normal time since only by subjectively marshalling the hours of the day into purposeful reverie can Nothing be made to happen. The Nothing in the case of Elin Jakobsdottir’s exhibition at No35 is the activation of empty spaces. A multiplicity of them lay dormant in the midst of an amorphous black painted paper shape till the subjective rhythm and tempo of her hand revealed them with a knife. That hand in turn is revealed in a series of coloured pencil drawings of near academic accuracy that Jakobsdottir subsequently foils by interweaving them through fumbling 2B graphite self portraits drawn looking into a mirror but never at the page. The result is a comic contradiction. This is the nature of her looking, not what she looks like, a mobile sometimes goofy evocation rather than a self conscious transcription.

Like the hands of the clock before the elliptical face, accuracy is thwarted by better intentions.

Text by Mark Sadler


Image courtesy of Elín Jakobsdóttir, cut paper, gouache, 140/150cm, 2017. With thanks to artist Mark Sadler.


drawing series coloured pencil on paper, 30 / 40cm 2015 – 2017
black cut-out gouache on cut cartridge paper, 146 / 167cm 2017


35mm colour film prints, 2018, Alex Hetherington


Alexander Hetherington