Many are the critics against Björk’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They differ on many levels, but they all agree on the fact that it is fascinating. The Icelandic artist’s talent is here shown as multifaceted as possible - she sings, dances, creates and takes an inward journey which catches our attention ever so smartly.
The exhibition is scattered on three different floors of the MOMA, displaying separate, yet linked stages of life. In Songlines, Björk talks us through the life of a girl, from childhood to adulthood. Each room describes different feelings, which go along with Björk’s career and growth as an artist. There is a path to follow, so that, in a way, you grow with Björk as you move forward. As you enter the first room, you’re given headphones to listen to different albums. The challenge here is perhaps the rendition of sentiments through new channels other than the usual media through pictures or paintings. Björk speaks in sounds, she utters words with music and enticing moving images.
There are talks on insecurity, doubts, ingenuity, challenges, puberty, and then love, pain and maturity. Everyone can relate to each and every feeling, and the fascination lies in the fact that all of this is beautifully sung to you – words make you think and music eases the transition from one stage to the other. You get the feeling everything around you is primordial – it is sheer sentiments stirring up and evolving into a different one all the time. It is constant evolution, it is life.
In each room there are costumes and some exhibits too, but the most relevant feature is music.
In Black Lake you watch a video of Björk walking through an Icelandic volcanic cave island. She is in touch with nature and nature helps her bleed her pain out. Pain makes us realize we are beings capable to feel, and that’s what she is doing. Her wounds hang to the basic projection of life and, strangely enough, we feel with her.
Her work is the fight against the automatization of society – it helps us remember we’re made of flesh. Sounds, words, movement, that’s all is needed to feel alive.
There is some confusion on where each work is and why they’re located on different floors – it may feel like completely separate exhibitions, which should instead go together or differently arranged. Björk’s colorful soul is to be experienced altogether through sound and nothing else.
The MOMA is lucky to house it.