Since the beginning of his career in the mid-eighties - at that time he was still an art student in Maastricht - Finnhogi Pétursson has used sound and visual form in equal proportions. The sound in his works is always abstract and mostly made from waves generated by electronic equipment. But it is more than a matter of merely adding to the visual part: although the sound is not visible, it is pretty evident that it is an integral part of the structure of his works. In this installation Pétursson makes beautiful use of a difficult 25-metre-long wall which unites the two big wings on either side. With seven rows of industrial plastic pipes he creates two enormous Pan flutes, by cutting the rows slantwise into two unequal parts.
With two transmitters, one shortwave and one long wave, Pétursson activates the pipes, and turns them into instruments by sending the signal through their barrels. Just as in an ordinary wind instrument, the depth of the sound produced depends on the length of each pipe in the gigantic ‘flutes’. The rhythm of the sounds is reminiscent of amplified South-American Indian flutes, which in turn seem quite near to the whistle of a fog horn. Due to the variations in radio frequencies during the daytime the signal regulating Pétursson’s curious instruments is usually weaker and more distorted than it is at night.
When he decides to approach mechanics it is typical of Pétursson to respect fully the universal laws of physics. To elevate his own wishes above such laws would be false; untrue to nature and its principles of efficiency. What might seem determined despite his choice in fact liberates Pétursson from the plight of having to decide whether to emphasize auditory or visual factors.
As it is, the formal aspect comes to him so naturally that it seems he need pay no more attention to it than is required for the operational efficiency of the installation. Therefore he does not fall prey to any kind of formal aestheticism, although formally his works seem impeccable. The simplicity of his installations is absolutely linked to their perform ability. This ‘American’ trait, so reminiscent of Nauman, enhances Pétursson’s unique position in contemporary Icelandic art.
- Halldór Bjorn Runólfsson, 1994