Phobophobia exhibition

Phobophobia, the illustration exhibition on DesignMarch in Reykjavík, opens March 20th at 17:00 in Bíó Paradís where 34 Icelandic illustrators showcase their work of various phobias. We met with Erla María, one of the illustrators organizing the event, to learn more about phobias, the concept and the show.

Still image from video  -Bíó Paradís opening

How did you get this idea in the first place?

We got this idea in a coffee house at one of our monthly meetings. We are all doing something, each in our own corner, so we wanted to do something together at last. We had to have a theme because we are all so different!

We brainstormed a lot, we had this idea that we could work with writers as we so often do, but at the last minute we decided that we would plan an exhibition about phobias.

“Phobia in its self is more than the fear it self”

What can you tell me about the phobias?

Many of them are very strange. They range from well known ones as claustrophobia, agoraphobia and fear of birds to absurd ones as in phobia of English culture and dinosaurs (which by the way is very strange because they do not exist anymore). Our group soon realized that its not necessarily about drawing the thing that is having phobic effects on somebody, its about drawing the fear itself.

Many in our group drew pictures that the viewer can experience the fear right away. But many drew pictures that somebody else in the drawing is experiencing the fear, so there are many versions of the theme presented by the illustrators. Phobia in its self is more than the fear it self, it can be abnormal and strange.

What is your phobia that you will be illustrating?

My phobia is Teratophobia, the fear of bearing a malformed child or the fear of malformed people in general. I think this is very random and very strange that one can have this phobia. But I like to challenge myself when I am illustrating, I like to take on concepts that are disturbing.

What did you expect from the preparation process?

We didn’t know what to expect really, we ended up with a very strange collection and I really think that our group is very versatile and the show in itself is absurd. Everybody should probably find pieces that appeal to them personally, you connect differently to the phobias and their portrayal of course. People are drawn to different styles and expressions, so its strong to display pieces from such a large group.

So, could you possible illustrate a phobia of going to the phobia exhibition?

I think all of us could actually, if we were given the time and headspace to think about it. I think this is actually what we do, sometimes we are hired to illustrate impossible things or concepts, but our job is to interpret the ideas and find out how we can manage to do deliver them in drawings.

“the person that puzzles the most interesting monster,

wins a piece from the exhibition!”

Bíó Paradís, the movie theater, why did you choose this place for the exhibition?

Well, it had been hard to choose a good place for the exhibition, because we are so many and its on DesignMarch where in Reykjavík there are so many other events and shows on offer of course. But we thought it would suit our drawings well, these are posters that we are not used to as much, unless we are drawing posters particulary for movies or bands.

We thought that it would be a great venue, because of this connection, and also the staff of the movie theater took us so well and are very excited for us. There will be a band playing at the exhibitions opening, songs that are movie/phobia related, a part of phobic movie.

Is this a sale exhibition, or what can you tell me lastly about that?

Yes, you can buy the posters in a store that is called 20bé on Klapparstígur 20b and there is also a net- gallery that will have prints of pieces in A3 on offer that is called The net- gallery is online, you can order pieces and have them sent abroad.

In the exhibition catalogue, there will be a puzzle game on offer, the person that puzzles the most interesting monster, wins a piece from the exhibition of his own choice, so that is also very interesting. We look forward to see you all!

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís