Shy Girl

Þorbjörg Pálsdóttir 1967

The shy girl who stands by herself and turns her back to the world is Þorbjörg Pálsdóttir's creation. The girl is cast in bronze to better withstand the test of time but Þorbjörg originally made this piece with wire netting that she covered with plaster. She developed this method in the middle of the 60s which gave her a tool to form the human body without any characteristics or details yet capturing body language and feeling at the same time. Sadness, despair and loneliness are feelings that Þorbjörg repeatedly addressed in her works but her pieces are also full of joy, children playing and people dancing. Þorbjörg usually formed her pieces with wire netting without using any sketches as a reference and then covered the netting with plaster bandages, asbestos or polyester. The pieces are usually a little oversized yet never overwhelming. The characters are never on a pedestal like the statue of Ingólfur Arnarson at Arnarhóll but stand instead on equal footing with the viewer or even rest on the floor. Þorbjörg was one of very few artists in Iceland around 1970 to use three-dimensional mediums to depict human beings and deal with common human emotions. Upon closer inspection the girl's body is concave and empty and her posture is a clear sign of misery. The work's title doesn't come as a surprise then since shyness is usually accompanied with being timid and insecure, feelings that most are familiar with but can be difficult to interpret.


LÍ 7264

The National Gallery of Iceland