ERRÓ Icelandic, b. 1932
Gudmundur Gudmundsson, who later adopted the pseudonym Erró, is one of the most significant contemporary Icelandic artists. After studying in Norway and Italy, he settled in Paris in 1958, where with encouragement from his friend and neighbour Jean-Jacques Lebel, he associated with Surrealist artists such as Matta, Masson and Man Ray. Later his work became part of the Figuration Narrative movement, and Erró ranked among the radical artists of the 1960’s whose views on art and politics were those of a new generation – people who embraced representational art and were critical of society.
Erró accumulates cuttings from various paper-based sources- newspapers, magazines, advertisements, packaging, postcards and comics from his trips around the world. It was his 1963 visit to New York however, which left an enduring mark on the artist and cemented him with American imagery and Pop art. The reassembled images create narrative compositions, where then they would often be enlarged onto canvas.
Works by Léger, Picasso and Van Gogh are utilised as pop imagery in the same breath as Disney cartoons and Marilyn Monroe, an exaggerated world where Superheroes battle the social issues of politics, war, science, art and sexuality. The collages often bring, with much irony, awareness on the absurdity of over consumerism, Americanisation and commercialised eroticism. Superficially humorous and glossy, on closer inspection they can also be deeply unsettling.
Erró has been exhibited internationally in both commercial galleries and museums, with many retrospectives. In 2010, the Centre Pompidou displayed 66 collages by the artist and in 2014 the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon held a retrospective of his work.