A Conversation With Melkorka Katrín
Melkorka Kartrín (aka Korkimon) is a visual artist from Reykjavík, Iceland. Having recently graduated from Sarah Lawrence college, Kartrín is preparing for a show in Dallas, Texas. We recently had a chat with Kartrín to explore her newest work and multitude of mediums... And also, teeth
Hi Melkorka! How did you get your start making art? Do you have any specific influences that you look up to?
Ever since I was a kid I've been surrounded by art in one form or another. My mother is an interior designer who studied at Parsons in the 1980s. She collects art by mostly Icelandic artists and ran an art gallery for some time here in Reykjavík. Many of her close friends are artists/creatives ranging from painters, sculptors, fashion designers, musicians and furniture designers. Some of the artists I was exposed to when I was younger are Gabriela Friðriks, Hulda Hákon, Steingrímur Eyfjörð, STEiNUNN, and Daníel Magnússon. Their influences are quite apparent in my recent work. Later on as a pre-teen, my sister-in-law who, at the time, was studying photography at Parsons, showed me the work of Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann and Roni Horn. Those are also ground influencers for me.
You work in many different mediums including illustration, collage, sculpture and your own invention, taperoids. Is there any that stand out as your favorite process to work with?
Right now I'm working mostly on collages–digital and manual. It all sort of comes and goes in waves. Previous to this I was focusing on sculpture and video during my last semester at Sarah Lawrence.
What exactly ARE taperoids?
Last summer is when I began experimenting with polaroid photos. I was constantly shooting on my Fujifilm 120 and had a bunch of "left over" photos that I wasn't quite pleased with. I wanted to repurpose them, so I took to my recently-purchased sewing machine and began stitching into the 'reject' polaroids. I would stitch cut-outs on to the polaroids, use tape and stitches, basically finding different methods of attaching other than glue. At this point I was already indulging in my tape-fetish, working on what I call TART, or Tape Art... So that's sort of the origin at its core, although it wasn't until November when my sculpture professor, Dave Hardy, told me that I shouldn't limit myself to being a "shopping artist," that I should spend more time with the concept. So I began working non-stop on them for a while. The name Taperoids is similar to the "TART," I like to play with words and this is another one of those instances. Tape + Polaroid = Taperoid, pronounced TAP-uh-roid.
I am impressed by your ability to fit things seemingly different from each other, together. Do you have a process for this?
I don't have a particular process per-se. I guess it's mostly spontaneous, sitting down and just getting to work when it comes to collages and drawings. My sculptures are a bit more thought-out. I am a big hoarder and so I will keep all cut-outs and "scraps," and sort of piece them together as I go along. I like making mistakes, allowing myself to make mistakes, and thus giving them purpose. My collages often become carefully curated accidents.
Being from Iceland and studying in both America and Iceland has exposed you to what I imagine are very different art-making climates. Are there any major differences or similarities that have surprised you?
In my experience I find there to be a more "solo" vibe in New York, while there's a lot of artists collaborating and working together/supporting each other in Reykjavík. Iceland is so small compared to New York (compared to any place really) so you sort of instinctively want to team up and build together, pool resources and make the most use of the space that's available. New York is a much bigger playground with more kids, so there's more incentive to compete as individuals if that makes sense...
What are your looking forward to most about your upcoming show in Dallas? Can you give us a hint as to what it's about?
The show I'm in will be held at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, from 14th August to 7th September, which was founded by Kenny Goss and George Michael (!!!). The show, titled "Intersection," is curated by William Farrell and will feature work by myself and Ondine Viñao. The work I have in the show addresses revisitation, working intuitively and not allowing myself to move on prematurely. Viñao will be exhibiting photographs and video works alongside my collages, sculptures and taperoids. I'm really looking forward to getting a sense for the gallery process and inner-workings of that world. This will be my first major-exhibition so I don't quite know what to expect, but I am truly excited and feel fortunate to have this opportunity.
Having a scroll through your Instagram, one can see a lot of teeth. What is your fascination with teeth?
My fascination from teeth doesn't exactly have a concrete reasoning. It was the first week of senior year at Sarah Lawrence and I was spending most of my time in the sculpture studio. I tore out a few photographs from a magazine, of face and body casts being made, and all of the 'models' had those mouth openers you get at the dentist's. That's kind of where it started. I then began posing in the same way for selfies and looking at my own teeth and drawing myself and my teeth. From then on it was a pretty intuitive thing, I'd be attracted automatically to teeth and apparatuses to do with teeth. At one point I bought 20 mouth openers on Amazon. I carried the fascination with me throughout the school-year and to this day I'm still working a lot with teeth. I think the climax so far has been the realisation of my "Toothbrush" sculpture! Definitely a favourite.
And finally, who is invited to your dream dinner party?
This is a hard question! My dream dinner party wouldn't include very many people, I'm quite shy and don't thrive well in large groups. I guess I would rather attend a dinner party, rather than host one. I'd really like to meet my maternal grandfather who passed before I was born, so maybe the two of us would be my dream dinner party/date.
Visit Melkorka's show at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas between August 14th and September 7th.
You can find more of Melkorka's work on her website here
Her Instagram is @korkimon
Ondine Viñao can be found on Instagram at @ondine_vinao