Charlotta María Hauksdóttir is an Icelandic artist based in California, working primarily in photography. Residing in the USA for over 20 years, she still draws inspiration from her home country Iceland. Created from the perspective of her experience with epilepsy, her work centers around the unique connection one has to places and moments in time, and how memories embody and elevate those connections.
Hauksdóttir received a BA in Photography from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome, Italy, in 1997 and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004. She also holds a Diploma in Creative and Critical Thinking from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Her work has been exhibited around the world, with solo exhibitions in the USA, Russia, and Iceland including numerous group shows and photography festivals. Her photographs have been published in several magazines and books, as well as a monograph “A Sense of Place - Imprints of Iceland” by Daylight Books that can be found in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, SFMOMA, and Princeton among others. Hauksdóttir’s work is also part of numerous private and public collections such as Stanford Health Care and Reykjavik Museum of Photography.
I was inspired to begin photographing the Icelandic landscape 20 years ago, after I moved to the United States and realized how closely my homeland was connected to my identity and sense of being. Created from the perspective of my temporal lobe epilepsy, the fragmented landscapes visualize a sense of distortion and loss, emphasizing the imperfections of memory. Over the years I have noticed changes in the landscape in Iceland and have incorporated that into the work. I am hand cutting photographs and layering them, creating unique sculptural pieces. Removing parts of the images and altering them speaks to these changes and the disappearing landscape. In some of the works glaciers have been removed revealing black, suggesting their absence, and in others I am using text on global warming emphasizing the urgency of the situation. I also use topography patterns to visualize erosion and by stacking one image on top of another there is an added element of unfolding in the work. In the layering of the destroyed photographs what is hidden becomes as important as what is visible noting that nothing ever stays the same. In other pieces I am utilizing human biological patterns, such as those of fingerprints, retinal veins or brain circuits indicating our own personal connection to nature and the responsibility for our impressions and impact on the world around us. Inspired by the volatile weather we have had most recently, I am also wrapping photographs around sticks and weaving the landscape together as a symbol of both the destruction caused by climate change and our ability to take action.