|Old Treasures - 8.2. - 5.5. 2013|
Rooms 1 and 2
|The National Gallery of Iceland contains various artworks within its collection which too seldom are shown because of limitations of exhibition space. Often older art in the collection of the NGI is the victim of these restrictions, works of artists who are not protected by copyright anymore. These are numerous works by Icelandic and foreign artists who passed away before the middle of the Second World War. A part of these treasures is now on display in order to shed light on a part of the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland. |
Curator, Halldór Björn Runólfsson director
|Foreign Influences - 8.2. - 5.5. 2013|
Rooms 3 and 4
|A tenth part of the collection of the National Gallery is dedicated to foreign artists from all over the world, Scandinavia, Continental Europe, Great Britain, North-America and the Orient, to name a few places of origin. There is certainly an affinity between the works in the collection of the NGI and the stylistic influences pervading the Icelandic art scene. In the exhibition Foreign Influences, only works from after the Second World War are chosen, and although many were purchased and others donated, they reverberated the taste of Icelandic art lovers. A selection of these works are displayed, three-dimensional in room 3 and two-dimensional – paintings and photographs in room 4.|
|DRIFT - 10.11. 2012 – 27.1. 2013 |
|The exhibition Drift is a collaborative piece of the artists Anna Hallin and Olga Bergmann, who work both cooperatively and individually since the mid-nineties. Drift is a short fairy-tale where Iceland, the principal protagonist, drifts upon the shore of various European countries. Both artists are inspired by nature and geology and recur to distortions and temporal alteration in their approach. The drift of the continental plates equals for instance the growth of our fingernails, i.e. two centimetres per year. Hallin and Bergmann resort to the continental drift theory to observe and inspect phenomena such as nationalism, identity and evolution. By reducing eternity to an anecdote they discover something new.|
THE EXTENDED MEANING OF DRIFT by Halldór Björn Runólfsson director
|WINTERSCAPE - 10.11. 2012 – 27.1. 2013|
|Winterscape is not only a different clothing of nature near the polar region, it also entails the phenomenon of nightscape, when the sun hardly manages to exceed the horizon and shadows grow exceptionally long. There is a special character to landscape when it is exposed to temperature below freezing degree, under reduced light. In snow the earth often becomes much brighter than the sky, which is a reversal of the norm, affecting the earth as if were lit from below.|
|ENDANGERED - 1.12. 2012 – 27.1. 2013|
In room nr. 4 are on display five works by Rúrí which are all related to water. Now, 2012 – during the European year dedicated to water – they remind us of the scarcity of supplies of this precious liquid, warning us of misconduct towards this most indispensible of elements. The compositions are by the artists Rúrí, Ólafur Elíasson and Pétur Thomsen who are all concerned with nature and have highlighted man’s interference with the precious nature of the country in their works.
|ENDANGERED - 19.5. – 9.12. 2012|
|Rúrí’s seminal installation, Archive – Endangered Waters, 2003, has been on display at the National Gallery since early March 2012, as a part of her magnificent retrospective. Now, 2012 – during the European year dedicated to water – it continues to remind us of the scarcity of supplies of this precious liquid, warning us of misconduct towards this most indispensible of elements.|
For further information, please visit the artist's website: www.ruri.is
|MUSÉE ISLANDIQUE - 14.9. – 4.11. 2012|
|Artist Ólöf Nordal is known for her research into the eccentric nature of phenomena where tradition meets imagination and fiction threatens to outdo reality. Inspired by the discovery of plaster casts of Icelandic people from the 19th century, found in the Canaries, she has followed up her finds with months of research at Musée de l´homme in Paris. The outcome is striking, transcending art and anthropology in order to explore the Zwischenwelt of both disciplines. |
|INSPIRED BY ICELAND - 19.5. – 4.11. 2012|
|The exhibition draws on a national action where Iceland was promoted as a natural paradise after the 2008 credit crunch. It is an attempt to delve into the romantic side of a country, which is better known for its nonverbal volcanic nature than its narrative culture. Folklore and storytelling still constitute a latent feature of the way the country is represented, but in the near future Icelandic culture is bound to compete more efficiently with Icelandic nature as an inseparable half of this particular Arctic realm.|
|HYPNOTIZED BY ICELAND - 19.5. – 4.11. 2012|
|As a frame around Rúrí’s formidable Archive, artworks of waterfalls represent the National Gallery’s yearly display from the collection. Waterfalls are not only endangered, they also represent nature’s most dangerous phenomena, due to their attractive, hypnotizing effect. Not only Icelandic artists, but artists from elsewhere have been fascinated by these enticing wonders, of which the country is full, although regrettably their number has been diminished in this century.|
|[I]NDEPENDENT PEOPLE - 19.5. – 2.9. 2012 |
|The visual side of Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 revolves around the meaning of Nordic and Baltic alternative art and the independent activity which takes place at the limits of accepted praxis and artistic experiments in this part of the world. Venues include several major museums and artistic associations in and around Reykjavík. The project is curated by the Swedish aesthetician and curator Jonatan Habib Engqvist, and organized by the Icelandic cultural director Kristín Scheving. In the National Gallery of Iceland No Gods, No Parents [UKS]; Box; AIM Europe; Sofia Hultén & Ivan Seal and IC-98 [Mikael Brygger & Hendriika Tavi] – all well known experimental artistic groups – present their artistic activity, together with the Archive of Artist Run Initiatives of the Living Art Museum.|
(I)ndependent People is curated by Swedish curator and theorist Jonatan Habib Engqvist and made possible through exchange and collaborative undertakings between a cluster of museums, galleries, artist-run spaces and institutions. Venues include Reykjavík Art Museum, The National Gallery of Iceland, The Nordic House, Kling & Bang, The Living Art Museum, The Icelandic Sculpture Association and ASÍ Art Museum, together with public space in Reykjavík and off-site events. More information on all participants and venues is on www.independentpeople.is .
|RÚRÍ-Retrospective - 3.3.-6.5. 2012|
For almost four decades Rúrí has been in the forefront of Icelandic art as a performance artist, creator of installations, a media artist and a sculptor. Her audacity as an experimental artist has led to astounding achievements in the area of space and time. After breaking down a golden Mercedes with a sledgehammer in Reykjavík’s busiest square, she dressed up in a mixed costume of the traditional Icelandic female costume and the Stars and Stripes at a large meeting in Háskólabíó. These politically oriented actions marked a beginning of more subtle and intimate works where nature and infinity, moment and timelessness were redefined through ephemeral actions like Rainbow I, 1983, where a sky-high bamboo pole with a multi-colour linen banner, set ablaze, marked the zenith of a long performance, filmed as a document of a rite honoring life and nature.
In 2003 Archive – Endangered Waters, an interactive iron structure of an unusual intensity was mounted in the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003, comprising 52 transparent photopositives of waterfalls in Iceland, threatened by industrial activity in the highlands of the country. When pulled out, the images were accompanied with their particular sound, showing that each waterfall had its unique, invaluable character. Whether complex or simple, Rúrí’s ingenious structures tend to hit us in a decisive way, prohibiting them to fall prey to insignificant neutrality.
The exhibition shows the artist’s principal works, together with images of her most celebrated performances, about 100 works, large and small. Curator is the German art historian Christian Schoen. A lavish book on the artist accompanies the exhibition, publishing by the German publishing house Hatje Cantz.
|THEN AND NOW - 22.9. 2011 - 19.2. 2012|
Rooms 1 and 2
The exhibition THEN and NOW is an independent contribution from the National Gallery of Iceland, in connection with The History of Icelandic Art, from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century, a five-volume series of books published jointly by the National Gallery of Iceland and Forlagiđ in October 2011. The exhibition focuses on the art and events related to friction between Icelandic artists of different generations and to diverse emphases, isms, and currents. Discord of this kind often serves as a turning point in art history, both in Iceland and elsewhere. Works spanning the period from the 1960s until the present have been rearranged to make optimum use of the space in Hall #2. Because of its educational value, the exhibition has been extended until 19 February 2012.
|BÓL. KAR OG HULIĐ HJARTA - 22.3.-15.4. 2012|
|The National Gallery exhibits new works by Tinna Gunnarsdóttir product designer. Tinna is a productive designer who has received attention for high quality, original design. Among the characteristics of her work is its efficiency in our everyday surroundings, which come alive in its presence, in addition to possessing numerous technological advances and innovative material use. In recent years Tinna has shown her design at all major design exhibitions of the world in addition to being curator of such major exhibitions. Tinna has produced and distributed her design both nationally and internationally. The National Gallery of Iceland will exhibit new works by Tinna, which she has produced specifically for Design March. |
|UNDER DECONSTRUCTION - 13.1. - 19.2. 2012|
Rooms 3 and 4
Since the late 1990s Libia & Ólafur have been developing their deconstructive approach to art with various means such as installations, public interventions and audio and videoworks. At each level they collaborate with different individuals and groups, crossing disciplines without hesitation in order to maximize the disparate effect of their scheme.
The exhibition “Under Deconstruction” explores existential and current economic and political issues in Iceland and elsewhere, using video, performance, sculpture, sound, and music. It is a combination of newly conceived and ongoing projects, such as Constitution of the Republic of Iceland (2008/2011), Your Country Doesn’t Exist (2003, ongoing) and Exorcising Ancient Ghosts (2011).
The exhibition Under Deconstruction was commissioned by the Icelandic Art Center for the Pavilion of Iceland at the 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia and curated by Ellen Blumenstein.
Liba Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson webside: http://libia-olafur.com/?p=680
Photos from the La Biennale de Venezia 2011: http://www.icelandicartcenter.is/Projects/Venicebiennale/Images2011/
Interview with Libia and Ólafur in The Icelandic Broadcasting Service, January 19th.
|KJARVAL, From the collection of Jón Ţorsteinsson and Eyrún Guđmundsdóttir - 27.5.-11.9. 2011|
The 27 May the National Gallery of Iceland proudly opened an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval from the collection of athletic trainer Jón Ţorsteinsson (1898-1985) and his wife Eyrún Guđmundsdóttir (1898-1996). The exhibition centres on cubistic abstractions and figures in a vivid landscape. These are magnificent works where the exquisite elements of nature are rendered together with dramatic boldness. Jón Ţorsteinsson was always a dedicated art lover and a close friend of the foremost Icelandic artists. In 1937, presumably, he acquired his first work of Kjarval, which was to become the start of the extensive collection of the couple. In the collection of Jón Ţorsteinsson and Eyrún Guđmundsdóttir are works by Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jón Stefánsson, Svavar Guđnason and many more, but the works of Kjarval are the substantial part. The couple were unrelenting in sharing their art collection with their fellow citizens, through lending of works in exhibitions and donating works to the National Gallery of Iceland and the Kjarval collection of Reykjavik Art Museum.
|FEMME - LOUISE BOURGEOIS - 27.5.-11.9. 2011|
|Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) is among the foremost female artists in history. French born, she settled in New York in 1938 and became an American citizen. Bourgeois began as a painter but turned to sculpture by the end of the war. After that she discovered the power of installation in the early fifties, where separate artworks are interconnected. Bourgeois had to wait for international recognition until 1982. With Documenta 9, in Kassel 1992, it became evident that she was among the greatest artists of the late 20th century. More than any other Louise Bourgeois is acclaimed as the artist who most comprehensively unites modern and contemporary art, i.e. art before and after 1965. Until the end Bourgeois excelled as a sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, printmaker, textile artist and a writer. In the exhibition Femme in the National Gallery of Iceland, 28 works by Louise Bourgeois are on display, principally installations or “cells” and sculptures, but also paintings, drawings and textiles. The works are from the Ursula Hauser Collection, Switzerland, Hauser & Wirth, Louise Bourgeois Trust in New York and from private collections. Head Curator is Laura Bechter, Curator of Hauser & Wirth Collection.|
Protector of the exhibition was Mrs. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.
|SOUND FIELDS - 26.2. – 22.5. 2011|
|The exhibition considers art which derives from sound or music. Various sounds are at the origin of all the works. The exhibition is composed of installations, concerts, performances and lectures, spread over a period of almost three months. As the exhibition is in form of a program – the works being exhibited one after the other and not simultaneously – each is sure to attract more attention and shed light on additional number of artists. The exhibition presents many artists dealing with sound in a particular way. Most of them are visual artists who throughout their career have tackled sound and technology with diverse pervasion. |
Among the participating artists are: Áki Ásgeirsson, Curver Thoroddsen, Darri Lorenzen, Dodda Maggý, Egill Sćbjörnsson, Guđmundur Vignir Karlsson, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, Halldór Úlfarsson, Hallvarđur Ásgeirsson Herzog, Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir, Helgi Ţórsson, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Jesper Pedersen, Kira Kira, Libia Castro og Ólafur Ólafsson, Parabólur, Rafmagnssveitin, Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, Sigurđur Guđjónsson, Skyr Lee Bob.
|DIALOGUES ON DEATH - 26.2. – 15.5. 2011|
|In 1999, geriatrician Helga Hansdóttir got artist Magnús Pálsson to participate in a joint project, which they called “Dialogues on Death”, in connection with the cooperative assignment Arts and Science. In 2003 an exhibition with the same name opened in the Reykjavik Art Museum's Harbor House. In a large room, with carpets, wallpaper, pictures and furniture, barely lit with X-ray and medical desktop projections. Old telephone tables served as leitmotivs in this ample installation and headphones carried testaments of people disclosing their last weeks of existence, poetically interpreted by professional actors. The exhibition only lasted for a few days. “Dialogues on Death” is now a part of the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland. With its massive dramatic atmosphere – benign nevertheless as it deals with the ultimate reason of life, which no one can escape – presumably it won't attract less attention now, than it did when it was exhibited for the first time.|
Helga Hansdóttir´s research on death
|STRIDES, from the collection - 15.5.2010 - 15.5.2011|
Rooms 3 and 4
|A selection of works from the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland from the 20th and 21st century.|
For a long time a permanent display of works from the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland has been in preparation. The short history of modern art from the end of the 19th century to the first decade of the 21st century gives a view of the changes that have come about since 1900. With a selection of over fifty works the National Gallery wants to meet the needs of visitors, both customary and occasional, who favour such a historical summary
|Karl Kvaran - 17.11. 2010 - 13.2. 2011|
Rooms 1 and 2
|Karl Kvaran was among the main exponents of geometric abstraction in Iceland in the early sixties. He kept faith with the simple, coherent forms of construction and is thus considered among the main links between French derived abstraction and Minimalist expression, which succeded previous related art movements. Retrospectively Kvaran stood |
out from his contemporaries due to his singular consistency in procedures and pictorial thinking. Although he abandoned the straight lines of Geometric abstraction for curved and circular shapes, his painting became thriftier and more to the point, although his sense for dimensional interplay became increasingly complex. His use of colour
was unique as he matched daringly complementary hues of striking optical intensity. In this respect, Kvaran bridged the gap between abstraction and Pop Art with a chromatic talent grounded in ample graphical gifts.
|PÉTUR THOMSEN - 16.9. – 7.11. 2010|
|Pétur Thomsen (1973) won the presitigeous LVMH young artists award in 2007 when this pursued prize was conferred the tenth time. Imported Landscape is a magnificent series of photographs depicting the devastating transformation of the landscape at Kárahnjúkar when culture with all its precise technology and planning attacks the pristine natural landscape around Hafrahvammagljúfur by restructuring it severely. Enormous bulldozers go about the area, leaving it torn like flesh bitten by a violin spider. Thomsen describes this uneven game with dramatic objectivity which leaves the viewer totally perplexed|
|Cars in rivers ÓLAFUR ELÍASSON - 16.9.-7.11. 2010|
Cars in rivers, 2009 describes man‘s struggle with unpredictable nature, while the series might depict symbolically the financial crisis in Iceland in the last couple of years which can be equated with the drowning of highland jeeps in violent torrents.
Jökla Series, 2005 is the artist‘s account of the glacial river Jökulsá á Dal (Jökla), from its glacial source to the area where the dam at Kárahnjúkar was constructed, by the time when the dam was already taking shape. Subsequently the artist followed the river quite far in the direction of the ocean. As the river has been transformed completely the documentary value of the series is unique.
In addition three recent photo series from 2010 are displayed, showing the barren interior of Iceland, ravaged by ice and wind, yet fostering plants and cultural remains where least expected and Green river series.
|UNTITLED FILM STILLS; Cindy Sherman - 15.5. - 12.9. 2010|
|Untitled Film Stills is one of the most renown series by the American artist Cindy Sherman, 69 black and white photographs in which the artist poses as an actress in imaginary movies akin to those from the golden era in cinema around the fifties. She is either in an unidentified B-movie, a major Hollywood movie or a film noir from Europe. The photographs were taken from 1977 to 1980 and made the young artist immediately very famous in the art scene and opened the eyes of the art world to the possibilities of photography.|
Works by Cindy Sherman
|EDVARD MUNCH - 15.5 - 12.9. 2010|
|Edvard Munch did his first prints in late 1894, but until spring 1895 he gained experience in the discipline through various means and methods. The National Gallery of Iceland possesses a magnificent selection of 18 prints, which can be described as the artist’s initiation in this particular field. It was a good friend of Munch, the economist and town planner Christian Gierlřff, who generously gave the 18 works to the Icelandic nation in 1947. For the guests of the National Gallery of Iceland this exhibition is a rare occasion to acquaint themselves with the diverse and somewhat unique printmaking of this most famous Scandinavian artist|
Edvard Munch prints, the complete graphic works in Munch museet, Oslo
Edvard Munch as a graphic artist
|WISTFUL MEMORY - 11.3. - 2.5|
Rooms 1, 3 and 4
|Amelie von Wulffen|
Birgir Snćbjörn Birgisson
Helgi Hjaltalín Eyjólfsson
Helgi Ţorgils Friđjónsson
Wistful Memories comprises the works of four artists who deal with the perseverance of recollections. Due perhaps to the literary aspect of reminiscences we tend to forget the glance, the image which the memory catches as a vague flash, without mediation or narrative. These moments seem to characterize the works of Amelie von Wulffen and force themselves onto the actual by deforming the space with similar aggression as in Carl Fredrik Hill’s spatially distorted drawings or Leonardo employed in the play of vanishing points in his drawing of the Magi, which also was left unfinished, as the spectator might be left to think before many of von Wulffen’s paintings. On the other hand Birgir Snćbjörn Birgisson sides literally with literature by rewriting, word by word, information on the prostitutes in Paris in the 19th century. Helgi Hjaltalín Eyjólfsson dwells by a theme, which is constantly before his eyes and marks his surroundings in a memorable way, while being virtually invisible for those who do not know the area. For his namesake, Helgi Ţorgils Friđjónsson, wistful memories are inherent in the apparition of the commonplace, as in the cornucopia of Dutch still lives from the 17th century, of tables filled with food, but nowadays appear in the broadcast of Icelandic news as information on the value of fishery by trawlers and boats and the prospect of catch. This is how the trivial souvenir, becomes a wistful comedy with the passing of time.
The German Embassy supported the exhibition.
|WORKPLACES OG REAL MEN - 11.3. - 11.4. 2010|
Ívar Brynjólfsson’s career as a photographer is more diverse than that of most of his colleagues. For a long time he has turned out distinct, beautiful photographs for the collections of the National Museum of Iceland, hence his pictures of workplaces of males must amaze his admirers. Van Gogh painted his Sunflowers on either side of Madame Roulin, who fiddles with her rosary in a rocking chair. This is how he conceived of a triptych, which was to be printed for the fishermen to have in the forecastle of the Breton cutters in the waters around Iceland. All males seem to need an altar-piece and these Brynjólfsson finds in the office corners of the workshops of the journeymen or mechanics. These are not pious women with a rosary, but women nevertheless.
|CARNEGIE ART AWARD 2010 - 9.1. - 21.2. 2010|
|The Carnegie Art Award is among the largest art prizes in the world. This year the main award, a prize of one million Swedish crowns, was awarded to the Icelandic artist Kristján Guđmundsson. His works will be exhibited along with works by twenty two other selected Nordic artists at Tha National Gallery of Iceland. |
Kjersti G. Andvig -NO, Kristján Guđmundsson-IS, Torben Ribe-DK, Anastasia Ax-SE, Kristina Jansson-SE, Sigrid Sandström-SE, Tone Kristin Bjordam-NO, Sergej Jensen-DK, Astrid Sylwan-SE, Milena Bonifacini-DK, Camilla Lřw-NO, Egill Sćbjörnsson-IS, A K Dolven-NO, Jukka Mäkelä-FI, Marie Sřndergaard Lolk-DK, Saara Ekström-FI, Ylva Ogland-SE, Marianna Uutinen-FI, Mads Gamdrup-DK, Jorma Puranen-FI, Hannu Väisänen-FI, Felix Gmelin-SE, Seppo Renvall-FI
THE JURY - Here
THE PRIZE WINNERS - Here
THE ARTISTS - Here
|SVAVAR GUĐNASON - 31.10. 2009 - 03.01. 2010|
|The exhibition is a retrospective of the works of Svavar Guđnason. Guđnason became one of Iceland’s most prominent painters through his close connection with Danish abstract art between 1936 and 1946. At that time Danes were leading in Europe as spontaneous abstract artists.|
SVAVAR GUĐNASON - Article by Halldór Björn Runólfsson
|HIDDEN TREASURE: TREASURES IN PUBLIC POSSESSION? - 10.7.-18.10. 2009|
|An exhibition of works from the collections of the three state banks, Kaupţing, Landsbanki Íslands and Íslandsbanki, and also works from the collection of The National Gallery of Iceland. The collections of the state banks consist of roughly 5.000 works and in The National Gallery of Iceland there are about 10.000 works. Many questions concerning the future of the art collections of the banks have as yet not been answered, but this exhibition aims at shedding 94 works from the collections of the state banks and ca. 50 from the collection of The Icelandic National Gallery; these include paintings, lithographies, photographs, drawings, textile works, sculptures and installations. The oldest work of the exhibition is from 1881, by Ţóra P. Thoroddsen.|
|HRAFNKELL SIGURĐSSON - 15.5 - 28.6. 2009|
Rooms 2, 4
An exhibition at the National Gallery of Iceland in connection with the Reykjavík Art Festival 2009.
Hrafnkell Sigurđsson (b. 1963) is among the best Icelandic photo artists, who uses the medium as means of conceptual expression.
THE LOGIC IN THE WORKS OF HRAFNKELL SIGURĐSSON
by Halldór Björn Runólfsson director
|KRISTJÁN GUĐMUNDSSON - 15.5. - 28.6 2009|
Rooms 1, 3
An exhibition at the National Gallery of Iceland in connection with the Reykjavík Art Festival 2009.
Kristján Guđmundsson (b. 1941) was among the founders of the seminal Gallery SÚM, in 1969, and of the Living Art Museum a decade later. He has a long record as a leading artist and his works are particular for their conceptual directness and clarity.KRISTJÁN GUĐMUNDSSON´S POETICS
by Halldór Björn Runólfsson director
|ŢÓRĐUR BEN SVEINSSON - April 18th - June 28 2009|
|On the second floor some of Ţórđur Ben Sveinsson’s works on urbanism and architecture can be seen, under the titles Urban Nature, from 1981 to 2005. The largest of these works is the acrylic painting, Urban Nature from 1984, which gives a good idea of the artist’s development of a “garden house”, in connection with his “warmed street” concept, both of which are central terms in his architectural vocabulary. Ţórđur Ben Sveinsson is a good example of an artist who can‘t be categorized by a single formal definition. |
|SEVERAL FRIENDS - February 13th - May 5 th 2009|
Rooms 1, 3, 4
|The exhibition sheds light on the period in Icelandic art when formalism, confronted by informal values, retreated and other attitudes started to invade the art scene in the second half of the 20th century. The focus is cast on the arrival in Iceland of the Swiss artist Dieter Roth and the parallel development which took place among several young artists who new each other and met regularly. Their mutual impact and the influence they had on Icelandic art is at the core of the exhibition.|
The works in the exhibition span the period from the mid 20th century to our times and are by: Arnar Herbertsson, Björn Roth, Dieter Roth, Erró, Hreinn Friđfinnsson, Hörđur Ágústsson, Jóhann Eyfells, Jón Gunnar Árnason, Kristján Guđmundsson, Magnús Pálsson, Magnús Tómasson, Róska, Rúrí, Sigurđur Guđmundsson, Sigurjón Jóhannsson and Ţórđur Ben Sveinsson. Hilmars Oddsson’s documentary on the life and art of Dieter Roth will be shown in connection with the exhibition.
Most of the works in the exhibition are from the collection of the National Gallery but a good deal comes from the collection of the Living Art Museum. The National Gallery is grateful for the cooperation with its personnel.
Curators: Björn Roth, Halldór Björn Runólfsson and Sigríđur Melrós Ólafsdóttir.
Exhibition design: Ívar Valgarđsson.
|The Spare - 26.3. - 15.4. 2009|
|The Sphere - furniture and designed objects from 1962.|
The Sphere was a furniture shop in Reykjavík, established in April 1962.
Its aim was to sell low-priced, original furneture and art objects. The
founders of The Sphere were Manfređ Vilhjálmsson, Magnús Pálsson and
Magnús Jóhannsson. Dieter Roth is said to have been its main
protagonist, creating - as many other artists in the exhibition
"Several Friends", now at the National Gallery - an array of important
artistic objects to be sold there.
Furniture and photos of The Sphere will be on display at the Café of
the National Gallery of Iceland.
|MOVING PICTURES: Video tapes in the wake of Icelandic multimedia - December 12 2008 – February 1st 2009|
|A new exhibition of video works by three Icelandic women, Ásta Ólafsdóttir (b. 1948), Sigrún Harđardóttir (b. 1954) and Steina (b. 1940), has been opened in the National Gallery of Iceland. Ólafsdóttir’s work, It Continues from 1983, deals with mixed feelings and reflections of past events and encounters. The work was purchased by the museum in 1988. Harđardóttir’s work, Digital Self-portrait from 1985 – is the result of a seminar under the guidance of Steina and Woody Vasulka at the Monte Video Multimedia Centre in Amsterdam. Digital Self-portrait was shown on Chanel 2, a year before it was purchased by the National Gallery, in 1988. Steina’s work, Noisefields, 1974, Orbital Obsession, 1977, and Lilith, 1987 show successively her evolution. Noisefields is considered by many among the most complete merging of sound and picture in the entire history of video art. Orbital Obsession is a black and white journey into the technological wonderland of Steina and Woody Vasulka’s studio in Buffalo. Lilith was Adam´s other companion, naughty and unpredictable. Here digitalization has entered the field and the National Gallery purchased this masterpiece of Steina in 2007. Curator: Halldór Björn Runólfsson and his team. |
|LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: New Acquisitions from the Würth Collection - |
|LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: New Acqouisitions from the Würth Collection|
11.10. 2008 - 28.1. 2009
The private collection of the German industrialist Reinhold Würth has grown enormously during the last decades. It is now considered one of the largest private collections in Europe in terms of modern and contemporary art. The exhibition displays the recent acquisitions from this important private collections, where Impressionist works to contemporary German and international art will be on display.
Würth á Íslandi is the main sponsor for the exhibition.
|SHIRIN NESHAT - 25.9.-2.11. 2008|
Exhibition of videoworks by the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat in room 2. The exhibition is a part of Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF).
The exhibition has been extended until Sunday November 2nd 2008.
Shirin Neshat was born in 1957 in Qazvin, Iran. She lives and works in New York. In her work, both photographic and video, she focuses on the situation of people in Iran, and especially women.
Shirin’s one-woman shows include exhibitions at Franklin Furnace, New York (1993); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Fribourg (1996); Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (1997); Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York; Tate Gallery of Modern Art (1998); Art Institute of Chicago (1999); Serpentine Gallery (2000); Barbara Gladstone Gallery (2001); ARoS Art Museum, Denmark (2002); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2002); Hiroshima City Museum (2005); Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland (2006); Galleria Filomena Soares, Lisbon (2007); Gladstone Gallery, New York (2008).
Photographic and video works by Shirin Neshat have been shown at many international exhibitions, such as the tenth Biennale of Sydney (1996); the fifth Istanbul Biennale and the Johannesburg Biennale (1997); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1999); Exploding Cinema, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Heavenly Beings, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Zeitwenden, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, in collaboration with Kunstmuseum, Bonn; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire (1998, 2000, 1999), Académie de France, Villa Medici, Rome; Venice Biennale (1999); Corpo Chimico, Cá di Fra, Milan (2000); Galerie Farschou, Copenhagen (1986-2001); Visions from America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002); Moving Pictures, Guggenheim Bilbao (2003); Non Toccare La Donna Bianca, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l’Arte, Turin (2004); Translation, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Kapital, Kent Gallery, New York (2006); After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Contemporary Art, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, Long Island, New York (2007).
In Rapture (1999) we see a group of men walking toward the camera along the streets of a Middle Eastern city. We also see a group of women dressed in black, who walk towards the sea shore, where several of them board a small boat and sail out to sea. The men wave to the women as they sail away, either signalling them to return, or bidding them goodbye. The work clearly illustrates the separation of the sexes in Islamic culture. In Rapture the men are depicted among public buildings, while the women are identified with the land and sea.
Turbulent (1998) shows men singing in public, while the women sing wordlessly, and alone.
In Passage (2001) Shirin Neshat alternates images of a group of men on a beach apparently carrying the body of white-clad woman with women in a circle, digging a hole with their bare hands. Nearby is a young girl arranging stones in a circle. As the men approach the circle of women, fire flares up behind the child, across the barren landscape and into the distance, behind the men and women in the foreground. The works are reminiscent of a ritual, in this case a rite which seems to presage fundamental change in the interaction of men and women.
Zarin (2005) depicts a women who has lost her mind after being forced into prostitution. She scurries from place to place in hope of reclaiming herself. She perceives males as monstrously deformed. Zarin shows us brothels and bathhouses, streets and mosques; she experiences an alienation which terrifies her.
Avigos, Jan. “Shirin Neshat,” Artforum, January 2006, pp. 220–221.
MacDonald. Scott, “Shirin Neshat,” A Critical Cinema 4: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, University of CA Press, New York, 2005, pp. 323–324.
|FROM THE COLLECTION - |
|At the annual summer exhibition at the National Gallery of Iceland theemphasis is on different periods in modern and contemporary Icelandic art. Each part of the exhibition focuses on a certain period in the short history of Icelandic art since it was first recognised as a profession, and various aspects of development in art are explored in light of social change.|
P. Picasso, Jacqueline au ruban jaune, 1962
Rooms 1 & 2 - The Classical Values
Room 3 - Steina
Room 4 - Elín Hansdóttir
|Elín Hansdóttir - |
|Elín Hansdóttir (b. 1980) is an Icelandic installator whose interactive media and space constructions create architecture within architecture by transforming actual surroundings and turning them into a psychological and phenomenological playground. She lives and works in Berlin.|
|ART AGAINST ARCHITECTURE - 16.5. - 29.6. 2008|
|A contribution of the National Gallery to the Reykjavík Arts Festival 2008|
Art and architecture have always been on difficult terms, having a hard time understanding each other’s claim to unconditional attention and territorial authority. Most of the time it is art which has a weaker position, having to rely on architecture as its framework, protection and setting. This does not mean that art accepts its position unconditionally. It calls for surroundings as neutral as possible, which means as un-architectural as possible.
Still museums designed by architects continue to be built, leaving artists no other option than to confront their restraining rule. In this struggle the artist reflects the individual who rises against unconditional authority in whatever form it may appear, hoping to counter-balance it, or at least indicate a possible alternative. In this sense every exhibition reveals a latent conflict between artists and architects, but only a few unveil this fact explicitly.
With its typical postmodernistic structure dating from the 1980s, the National Gallery of Iceland asks for a dialogue with artists brave enough to challenge its difficult structure. A better team than Monica Bonvicini, Elín Hansdóttir, Finnbogi Pétursson, Steina and Franz West is hard to find.
The catalogue will cover e.g. the ideas of Sant'Elia's Futurist architecture, Constant's New Babylon, Huizinga's Homo Ludens theory, Archigram and Archizoom, Koolhaas and the fact that Iceland's natural wilderness has recently been confronted by harnessing projects which jeopardize Europe's largest unspoilt territory.
Exhibition curator: Halldór Björn Runólfsson
Assistant curator: Harpa Ţórsdóttir, Bryndís Ragnarsdóttir
Exhibition installation: Olga Bergmann, Úlfur Grönvold, Anna Hallin, Ólafur Ingi Jónsson
|Finnbogi Pétursson - |
|Finnbogi Pétursson (b. 1959) is a sound and media artist who emphasises the immediate moment by juxtaposing art and electronic phenomena in a sophisticated synthesis of controlled and contingent tuning of his Minimalistic means. Pétursson lives and works in Reykjavík.|
|Franz West - |
|Franz West (b. 1947) lives and works in Vienna, where in the early 1970s he became known for his singular portable plaster sculptures called “Adaptives”. He soon developed these bodily works into his renowned furniture installations transforming galleries, museums and public spaces into comfortable sociable settings. |
|Monica Bonvicini - |
|Monica Bonvicini (b. 1965) is an award-winning multi-media installation artist born in Venice, who lives and works in Berlin. She dismantles the dictates of architecture by using materials like leather and velvet alongside concrete and steel, insisting on physical connection with her art. |
|Steina - |
|Steina (b. 1940) is a pioneer of video art together with husband and collaborator Woody Vasulka. Together they founded “The Kitchen” in New York in 1971, the world’s foremost experimental video and audio space, before plunging into the technical core of the medium. Steina lives and works in Santa Fe, N.M. |
|STREYMIĐ - LA DURÉE - 23.2. - 1.5. 2008|
|The exhibition “La Durée” is an attempt to bring two major Icelandic artists in conjunction with a foreign one, and thus modify the common habit which segregates the one from the other. The National Gallery of Iceland feels that this is the best way to confront an art culture which is both local and international, and acknowledges no mental restrictions, but sees itself as belonging in any place, any time, regardless of its origins. The content of the exhibition emphasizes unequivocally that “La Durée,” the duration of time, which the French philosopher Henri Bergson defined as the basis of human independence and formation, is a universal phenomenon without limits. |
|EMMANUELLE ANTILLE - |
ROOMS 1, 2
|In 2003 Emmanuelle Antille represented her country at the 50th Venice Biennale, with her video work Angels Camp (2001-2003). Antille has long been renowned for her daring works focussing on the immediate environment, where the interaction of family and friends takes on the air of ancient rites; or youngsters make a place for themselves in suburban buildings like some exotic tribal group. Her work poses urgent questions about the state of culture and everyday life in modern society. |
|GABRÍELA FRIĐRIKSDÓTTIR - |
|Gabríela Friđriksdóttir represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2005 with her Versations Tetralogia, which attracted great attention for its remarkable combination of imagery, music and theatre. The Icelandic pavilion in the Giardini was transformed to resemble a barn, and visitors were invited into a journey through time in a mysterious mystical world, a place between sleeping and waking, where characters and actors from past centuries mixed with ghosts and monsters at a musical level. Thus the observer could pass from a cinematic progression to a musical experience in a symbolic world that took on a whole new form. |
|KRISTJÁN DAVÍĐSSON - 3.11.2007 - 10.2.2008|
Rooms 1, 2, 4
|The National Gallery of Iceland offers its guests to scrutinize the unfettered creative joy of a remarkable artist who never gave in to modernistic orthodoxy but rather continued to express himself freely and lyrically, according to his own personal inspiration. Against a historical background of the evolution of painting, one can see that Davíđsson challenges age by continually seeking out new ways to tackle the flat surface. His daring as well as his remarkable energy is quite simply unique and his search for harmony brings forth ever new and unexpected facets of art. His is an art of unfathomable dimensions in which nothing is a given, neither as regards representation nor method. In this way one could say that he constantly finds himself at crossroads, each time he brandishes a brush. Nothing in the progress is predictable, except the approach – a clear indication of the artist’s independence and determination.|
|GUĐNÝ RÓSA INGIMARSDÓTTIR - |
|In 2005 Guđný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir was one of those who represented Belgium at an exhibition of ARCO art in Madrid. Visitors became acquainted with her unique world, which is generally manifested silently and subtly through drawings which seem to come into being with neither beginning nor end. Her handling of the material in her most recent works is often based on many different layers of texture, brought out by a scalpel from beneath a net pattern, so that what lies beneath is revealed in an equivocal and ambiguous manner, to disappear once more inwards into time and space, which flow silently on like ice floes beneath the surface of the visual world. |
|FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARKÚS ÍVARSSON - 3.11.2007 - 10.2.2008|
|It has become somewhat of a tradition for the National Gallery to exhibit selected works from the private collection of Markús Ívarsson. Blacksmith by trade, Markús, popularly known as Markús í Héđni accumulated the collection over many decades and later was donated to the National Gallery. The collection contains many priceless paintings from the last century, such as Kjarval’s unique work: ÍSLENSKIR LISTAMENN VIĐ SKILNINGSTRÉĐ (ICELANDIC ARTISTS AT THE TREE OF LIFE), from 1918; Ţorvaldur Skúlason’s FRÁ REYKJAVÍKURHÖFN (REYKJAVÍK HARBOUR), from 1931; Gunnlaugur Scheving’s GÖMUL KONA (OLD WOMAN), from1934; Snorri Arinbjarnar’s HVÍT HÚS, BLÁR HIMINN (WHITE HOUSES, BLUE SKY), from 1941. Ívarsson’s understanding of the contemporary art of the day is generally lauded and indeed he counted many of the country’s foremost artist among his friends. The exhibition from Ívarsson’s collection is also a reminder of the role and worth of private collectors and collections.|
Gunnar Gunnarsson, Selfportrait, 1940
HIGH PLANE VI, 2005
Contemplations on the work High Plane VI by Markús Ţór Andrésson here.
|COBRA REYKJAVÍK - 10.5. - 8.7. 2007|
|The National Gallery of Iceland’s contribution to Reykjavík Art Festival 2007 is the exhibition Cobra Reykjavík (10.5.-8.7.2007). It is specially organised for the National Gallery of Iceland and the Art Centre SilkeborgBad of Denmark, backed by sponsors from Iceland and other countries. |
Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Cobra, an international artists’ movement that provided an important and innovative forum for abstract art. The exhibition will give a special focus to contact between Danish and Icelandic artists from this time. It will feature works loaned by leading Nordic art museums, by artists including Asger Jorn, Egill Jacobsen, Ejler Bille, Carl-Henning Pedersen, Svavar Guđnason, Else Alfelt, Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Pierre Alechinsky. Curator is Per Hovdenakk.
Cobra was often written CoBRA, representing the first letters of Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam; most of the movement’s main representatives were Danish, Belgian and Dutch. Their expressionist abstract art was regarded as one of Europe’s main answers to American abstract expressionism. Although the movement was short-lived, it had an immeasurable influence and the works of its participants continue to inspire wonder and admiration today, such as Constant’s model city, The New Babylon, when it was exhibited at Documenta X in Kassel in 1997.
Curator is Per Hovdenakk.
Assistant Curators are Harpa Ţórsdóttir, Iben From, Lars Olsen.
Alechinsky, Pierre (f. 1927), Alfelt, Else (1910-1974), Appel, Karel (1921-2006),
Atlan, Jean-Michel (1913-1960), Balle, Mogens (1921-1988), Bille, Ejler (1910-2004),
Brands, Eugčne (1913-2002), Constant (1920-2005), Corneille (f. 1922), Dotremont, Christian (1924-1979), Doucet, Jacques (1924-1994), Ferlov Mancoba, Sonja (1911-1984), Gear, William (1915-1997), Gilbert, Stephen (1910-2007), Götz, Karl Otto (f. 1914), Heerup, Henry (1907-1993), Jacobsen, Egill (1910-1998), Jorn, Asger (1914-1973), Kemeny, Madeleine (1924-1993), Kemeny, Zoltan (1907-1965), Lucebert (1924-1994), Mancoba, Ernest (1904-2002), Ortvad, Erik (f.1917), Pedersen, Carl-Henning (1913-2007), Svanberg, Max Walter (1912-1994), Svavar Guđnason (1909-1988), Thommesen, Erik (f. 1916), Wolvecamp, Theo (1925-1992), Österlin, Anders (f. 1926)
|Alas Nature! - 20.7. - 21.10. 2007|
|Alas Nature is the National Gallery of Iceland’s summer exhibition 2007. It aims to examine nature in a different light and from a different angle from what is generally accepted. The central work at this exhibition is High Plane by Katrín Sigurđardóttir, a widely acclaimed installation for its revolutionary viewpoint in which the landscape is laid out horizontally on a table. Instead of looking at a landscape painted on a two-dimensional, vertical plane, spectators see a horizontal, three-dimensional area with an ocean, islands and mountains, as if soaring in a plane above a rugged coastline adorned with countless bays, islands and skerries. Alas Nature expands upon this unexpected approach to present a new and exotic view of the conventional environment.|
List of artists:
Árni Ingólfsson (1953),Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1958), Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982), Birgir Andrésson (1955), Bjarni H. Ţórarinsson (1947), Bragi Ásgeirsson (1931), Brynhildur Ţorgeirsdóttir (1955), Daníel Ţ. Magnússon (1958), Dieter Roth (1930-1998), Einar Hákonarson (1945), Erró (1932), Gabríela Friđriksdóttir (1971), Georg Guđni (1961), Gjörningaklúbburinn (1996), Guđrún Einarsdóttir (1957), Gunnar Örn (1946), Gunnlaugur Scheving (1904-1972), Gylfi Gíslason (1940-2006), Hannes Lárusson (1955), Haraldur Jónsson (1961), Harpa Árnadóttir (1965), Helgi Ţorgils Friđjónsson (1953), Hrafnkell Sigurđsson (1963), Hreinn Friđfinnsson (1943), Hringur Jóhannesson (1932-1996), Hulda Hákon (1956), Jóhanna Kristín Yngvadóttir (1953-1991), Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972), Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931-1989), Jón Óskar (1954), Karl Kvaran (1924-1989), Katrín Sigurđardóttir (1967), Kristinn E. Hrafnsson (1960), Magnús Kjartansson (1949-2006), Magnús Pálsson (1929), Magnús Sigurđarson (1966), Magnús Tómasson (1943), Nína Tryggvadóttir (1913-1968), Olga Bergmann (1967), Ólafur Elíasson (1998), Ólafur Lárusson (1951), Ólöf Nordal (1961), Roni Horn (1955), Róska (1940-1996), Sara Björnsdóttir (1962), Sigrid Valtingojer (1935), Sigtryggur Bjarni Baldvinsson (1966), Sigurđur Árni Sigurđsson (1963), Sigurđur Örlygsson (1946), Ţorbjörg Höskuldsdóttir (1939), Ţorvaldur Skúlason (1906-1984)
|JÓHANN BRIEM / JÓN ENGILBERTS - 9.3.-29.4. 2007|
|An exhibition of works by Jón Engilberts and Jóhann Briem opened at the National Gallery of Iceland on March 9, 2007. In Icelandic art history, Jóhann Briem and Jón Engilberts – together with Snorri Arinbjarnar, Gunnlaugur Scheving, Ţorvaldur Skúlason and others – represent the expressionist movement that prevailed in European art between the two world wars. A clear polarisation can be discerned in attitudes in Icelandic art in the 1930s. One championed the landscape, which flourished under Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jón Stefánsson and Jóhannes Kjarval, and the other was the radical generation of young artists, including Jón Engilberts and Jóhann Briem, who emerged after 1930. The young artists’ work presented radical approaches towards both choice of subject and its interpretation, New themes such as man at work, street scenes and the artists’ immediate surroundings became their chief preoccupation. |
Jón Engilberts was taught by the Norwegian painter Axel Revold, from whom he discovered the Norwegian expressionism that derived jointly from the emotional expressionism of Edvard Munch and formal, voluptuous French expressionism.
Jóhann Briem, on the other hand, became acquainted with German expressionism as a student in Dresden.
Curator: Harpa Ţórsdóttir.
| REGARD FAUVE – An exhibition of French expressionism - 15.12. 2006 - 25.2. 2007|
|Un Regard Fauve is a travelling exhibition from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux which forms part of a major festival of French culture in Iceland. It presents us with a special focus on fauvism, an influential period that reached its height in 1905 and embodied new definitions of the direction that painting was heading. All expression of the subject and its radical coloration was essentially characterised by the painters’ need to use colour as an outlet for their emotions and attitudes. The exhibition reflects the Bordeaux museum’s systematic collection of fauvist works and reveals the origin and evolution of this rebellion of colour in the fin-de-sičcle period. Works by some of the great painters in art history will be on show, including Raoul Dufy, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Oskar Kokoschka, Auguste Renoir and Félix Vallotton. This will be the first exhibition of Matisse’s art in Iceland. A total of 52 works by 12 artists will be on show. In addition a collection of works by Jón Stefánsson will by shown. Stefánsson was the only Icelander to study under Matisse in Paris.|
Pierre BONNARD (1867-1947)
Jean-Gabriel DOMERGUE (1889-1962)
Raoul DUFY (1877-1953)
Othon FRIESZ (1879-1949)
Oskar KOKOSCHKA (1886-1980)
Marie LAURENCIN (1885-1956)
André LHOTE (1885-1962)
Albert MARQUET (1875-1947)
Henri MARTIN (1860-1943)
Henri MATISSE (1869-1954)
Pierre-August RENOIR (1841-1919)
Félix VALLOTTON (1865-1925)
Louis VALTAT (1869-1952)
Jón Stefánsson (1881-1962)
|THE POST-1980 PAINTING - 7.10. - 3.12. 2006|
|The New Painting represents the international revival of painting as a medium which took place at the beginning of the 1980s. Reaching Iceland from Germany, the characteristic trait of New Painting was initially neo-expressionist work reflecting the artists’ radical views, zeal and dynamism. Neo-expressionism proved short-lived in most cases but after this explosion various interesting seeds were sown which have radically transformed Iceland’s artistic flora over the past twenty years. The artists who took part in the New Painting movement were all young and newly out of college, with fresh visions of the potential of this medium. The exhibition reveals how these artists have evolved and where the painting stands today. |
Curators: art historians Laufey Helgadóttir and Halldór Björn Runólfsson.
|LANDSCAPE AND FOLKLORE - 8.7. - 24.9. 2006|
|Growing affluence at the beginning of the twentieth Century, mainly due to new fishing techniques, such as trawling, made it possible, for the first time in Iceland, for a number of artists to make a living from their art. By extolling the virtues and beauty of Icelandic nature in their work, the generation of Icelandic painters that appeared on the scene in the period from 1900 to 1930, can be seen as active participants in the struggle for the country’s independence, much like the national poets and writers. The Sagas and the storytelling tradition continued to be the pride of the nation and for that reason the folk tale paintings of Ásgrímur Jónsson, 1876-1958 struck a popular note in his exhibition in 1905. These paintings occupy a special place in the national psyche. A long time passed until another artist consciously referred to Icelandic folk lore in his art, or not until Magnús Pálsson, 1929 did so in the sixties, under the auspices of conceptual art. A radical renewal or renaissance in the landscape painting does not however occur until in the early nineties when Georg Guđni, b.1961 presented his mountainscapes, in which he uses a special technique to build up the painting, layer by layer, putting main emphasis on the lighting. This fresh take on Icelandic landscape created new grounds for landscape painting that attracted an increasing number of artists who accepted the challenge of interpreting Icelandic nature. By the end of the ninth decade a new approach had replaced the vision that had been that of the pioneers, that had played a significant part in the history and identity of the Icelandic nation. The landscapes and fantasies presented by Kjarval, 1885-1972 have undoubtedly (in)formed the way contemporary Icelanders see their land. In works, where he weaves together the surface of the land and its inner life with references to the popular beliefs or superstition, he hands over the yarn to the spectator for him to spin the tale further on. Contemporary art, as it manifests itself in the work of the youngest generation these days, reflects the efforts of each generation to seek new paths and to create its own sagas in the context of new social circumstances. To move the volcano into the museum, as Halldór Ásgeirsson, b.1956 does in the work Endalaus fyrirbćri (Infinite phenomena), 1996 refers to the powerful forces at work in nature but also to the creative potential of man. The manner in which the youngest generation looks to folk tales for inspiration is also of great interest.|
The works on show in the exhibition are almost exclusively a part of the museum’s collection and thus the exhibition by no means pretends to present a complete inventory of the subject; its main purpose is to highlight individual works that consider the relationship of man and nature, and how the landscape ignites the imaginative forces, awakens the sensibilities and seems be an infinite source for the artists.
For the last decade, and longer, the concept of ”national identity” has been much discussed in academic circles all over Europe. Theoreticians, writers, poets and artists have endeavored to analyze this given construct. Apparently, it is just as important for people to be able to place themselves in time and space as it is for them to distinguish themselves from others. According to folk tales hidden people, elves and trolls inhabit the land. Ghosts stir and fantastical creatures swim the depths of lakes. The land itself is an actor, an active force. Places and spaces become a part of you and you carry them with you where ever you go, as Katrín Sigurđardóttir, b. 1967 has pointed out in works such as Farmur (Luggage) 1999, where landscapes and foreign cities, particular places the artist has wandered, become a part of that which she carries around as so much luggage. Conversely, Georg Guđni, b.1961 does not focus on particular places or destinations; in his work the indistinct places or sites are the ones which stay with the traveler in Icelandic nature. Place names such as Kögunarhól, 1985 makes one think of past lives and experiences and thus it stimulates one’s imagination. A folk tale has it that Kögunarhóll is the mound under which Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland, buried the ship that carried him to the island in the ninth century. The meaning of the name Kögunarhóll is vista or outlook.
The land and the sagas become one. The Icelandic sagas, the folk tales or narratives are sometimes hard to distinguish, one from the other. The ravens that Hrafna-Flóki (Raven-Flóki) brought with him on his voyage up north in search of land were useful in estimating the distance to the closest shore. The circling flight of ravens may also be a foreboding as certainly is the appearance of a white raven, to refer to the work of Ólöf Nordal, b.1961 featuring white ravens, 1977. Should the beholder be able to decipher such omens his existence will no doubt become more meaningful. In the same way the cock’s eggs, 2005 of Ólöf Nordal call for mixed feelings in the spectator for it is far from certain that everybody will be able to read meaning into these messages as it has gotten lost from one generation to another, leaving an uncomfortable vacuum. It is in such a vacuum that the connection to a cultural background is lost and existence becomes meaningless or absurd. There is however always the possibility of creating new meaning, associations and feelings, and indeed this is what the work is all about. For your information, a cock’s egg is an egg that cocks lay when they are old and a cock-worm is a monster hatched from a cock’s egg. This imaginary creature is a bastard of sorts, half worm, and half dragon, akin to “Skuggabaldur and skoffín”, monsters from the Icelandic folk tales. Skoffín is said to be the progeny of a fox and a cat. This fruit of an intercourse of two worlds serves as a reminder of ethical questions concerning contemporary bio-genetics. By citing the folk tales and popular believes Nordal tries to shed light on and analyze the distinctive position of Icelanders and their peculiarities in today’s world.
The cultural roots are not bound to particular places; instead they are based on a sensibility for the continuum of the past and the present. Man is a sentient creature and can form strong ties to nature. In the turmoil of contemporary circumstances it is obvious that nature is the place of choice for many in search of spiritual nourishment and inspiration – and this is also quite evident in contemporary art. Magnús Pálsson’s Ljóshirsla (Hoard/Chest of light),1977 showed the way in its time; in the work he focuses on the clumsy ways of Bakkabrćđur as they try to carry sunlight to town in buckets. Their effort is praiseworthy, however, as this event can entail a new creation in which things are put into new perspectives and thus gain new meanings.
In the times of the struggle for independence the snow-white mountain peaks became a symbol of nobleness and purity. Whether it is the snow on the top of Hekla mountain or Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the paintings of the pioneers the inherent connection between man and nature cannot be denied. The landscape and the folk tales have been among the most powerful forces of development and character formation throughout the ages in Iceland. The oral tradition carried forth stories from generation to generation. Sometimes certain people were expressly employed and/or remunerated for telling stories to children: The Sagas, stories of the hidden people and tales of adventure. This in fact is something Guđmundur Thorsteinsson/Muggur, 1891-1924 experienced himself as his father employed a woman to do this chore.
Ever since Ágrímur Jónsson’s exhibition in 1905, consisting of paintings that offered interpretations of known folk tales, such as Nátttrölliđ (The Night Troll) and Skessan á steinnökkvanum (The Ogress on the Ship of Stone), the depiction presented there has lived on in the national psyche. The paintings seemed to sharpen the common sentiment of the folk tales already present in Icelanders. This view is still present, as is evident in a photograph by Hrafnkell Sigurđsson, 1963 in which a mirrored cliff metamorphoses into a giant troll. Everybody who has traveled in Iceland must have, at one time or another, seen a cliff that has hinted of trolls or other strange creatures right out of a folk tale, just like the ogresses peaking over mountains in a painting by Ásgrímur Jónsson.
Sculptor Einar Jónsson, 1874-1954 hailing from the same region as Ásgrímur, is said to have encouraged him to search for subject matter in the folk tales. It is clear that Ásgrímur had a number of favorite tales, ones that he used for inspiration, again and again. One of these tales was the one about Nátttrölliđ (The Night Troll). In the painting of that name one can see a young girl sit on a bed in a dark sleeping chamber by the faint light of a candle. The light hits the face of the troll in the window that on a closer inspection actually bears a resemblance to the artist himself. Bravery and the resolve of the girl will save her in the story. Behind the troll one can see the faint twilight of dawn, an indication that the girl will soon be out of harms way, for it is the nature of Icelandic trolls to turn to stone if they are caught in daylight. Einar Jónsson’s interpretation is somewhat different in the work Dögun (Dawning), 1900-1906, based on the same tale. In it the artist presents a metaphor that shows the giant, a symbol of bygone days and ancient times. The giant is holding the girl, a symbol of the Icelandic nation, in his arms. The giant furiously raises a fist to the sun as its rays are about to petrify him. At the giant’s feet there nestles a small, simple farmhouse, a reminder of times when the generations told and listened to tales by the quaint light of an oil lamp or a candle. The beautiful girl confidently stretches her hand towards the sun.
|STEINGRÍMUR EYFJÖRĐ - May 12th - June 25th 2006|
|Steingrímur Eyfjörđ (b. 1954). In his works, Steingrímur Eyfjörđ has explored the realms of meaning in philosophy, the sciences, sociology and anthropology, tackling such diverse themes as religion, politics, Icelandic popular culture, history and entertainment. Drawings are a prominent vehicle of expression in Steingrímur Eyfjörđ’s works and display a close visual affinity with writing. The works on exhibit span Steingrímur Eyfjörđ’s entire career.|
|BIRGIR ANDRÉSSON - May 12th - June 25th 2006|
|Birgir Andrésson (b. 1955). Birgir Andrésson has been an active member of the Icelandic art scene ever since his debut in the second half of the 1970s.|
Birgir Andrésson’s works often deal with traditional Icelandic themes and reflect his interest in Icelandic popular culture, its legacy and reality today. The relationship between verbal and visual language has been another persistent theme of his work, in which he investigates the interplay of visual perception and thought. The works on exhibit span Birgir Andrésson’s entire career.
|GUNNLAUGUR BLÖNDAL - JOIE DE VIVRE AND LYRICAL EXPRESSION - February 24th - May 30th|
|The works produced by Gunnlaugur Blöndal (1893-1962) in the 1920s, when he was living in Paris, added a new and radical sense of coloration to Icelandic art history. In his works Blöndal tackles new themes such as the female nude, but also more traditional subjects. The presentation of his subjects combines idealisation with strong lyrical portraiture. His art also reveals a decisive use of colour in which the brushwork and rich sense of material properties testify to the creative joy of the moment. |
|SNORRI ARINBJARNAR - FORCE OF COLOUR AND MIRROR OF TIME - February 24th - May 30th|
|In art-historical terms, Snorri Arinbjarnar (1901-1958) interpreted new sides to Icelandic reality in his works in the 1930s: people, life by the harbourside, the village street and everyday surroundings. His works are like a mirror held up to time, but also haunting similes for the social atmosphere of those years. When society begins to glow with rays of hope after 1940, Snorri Arinbarnar’s palette turns brighter too and he interprets the harshness of the bright light with strong and decisive colours. |
|NEW ICELANDIC ART II - Moving Centers - November 12th - February 12th 2006|
|Moving Centers is a sequel to the exhibition New Icelandic Art: On Reality, Man and the Image, which was held at the National Gallery in autumn 2004 and addressed the innovation that has taken place within Icelandic art over the past decade. With this pair of exhibitions, the National Gallery aims to illuminate the characteristics of works by the youngest generation of Icelandic artists.|
All of the works included in the exhibition address the subject of space in one way or another. Various spatial boundaries and dissimilar dimensions are examined, with the expression of that examination ranging from formal considerations to visual experience and touching on more subjective factors, such as memory and the concept of time. Do we have preconceived notions upon entering a building, ready-made ideas of what will greet us there? Do we define space as a place where it is possible to move? Or does movement not create new space? Is light necessary in order to mobilize space, or the presence of man?
Artists whose works are included in the exhibition:
Darri Lorenzen, Elín Hansdóttir, Hafdís Helgadóttir, Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir, Hlynur Helgason, Hulda Stefánsdóttir, Inga Thórey Jóhannsdóttir, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Kristinn E. Hrafnsson, Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson, Sara Björnsdóttir, Unnar Örn Jónasson Audarson, and Thóra Sigurdardóttir
|Icelandic Art 1945 - 1960 - |
|National Gallery of Iceland at Kjarvalsstađir - A selection of works - June 11th - September 25th|
|The National Gallery of Iceland visits the Reykjavik Art Museum. The exhibition title is The National Gallery of Iceland - a selection of 20th century works. The exhibition will include works by the pioneers of the romantic landscape as well as representatives of the 1930s narrative expressionism, the 1960s abstract art and the 1970s concept art.|
|Train/Dieter Roth - |
|REYKJAVIK ARTS FESTIVAL 2005|
Train, Dieter Roth
MAY 14th - August 21th
Dieter Roth is one of the most influential artists of his generation. In recent years, exstensive retrospectives of his work have been exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic.
The exhibiton Train, will partly focus on Roth's, relationship with Iceland and investigate the influence this relationship had on his work. The exhibition is extensive and will be held in three different locations in Reykjavik: Reykjavík Art Museum -Hafnarhús, National Gallery of Iceland, and Gallery 100° in the headquarters of Reykjavík Energy
A web-exhibition dedicated to the life and works of the artist, hosted by Moma, Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Reykjavik Art Festival
A web-exhibition dedicated to the life and works of the artist, hosted by Moma, Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Reykjavik Art Festival
|Icelandic Art 1930-1945 - January 29th – April 24th, 2005|
|A retrospective of Icelandic art from the period when the landscape, narrative expressionism and abstract were in the spotlight. Artists whose works are represented at the exhibition include: Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jón Stefánsson, Jóhannes Kjarval, Júlíana Sveinsdóttir, Nína Sćmundsson, Gunnlaugur Blöndal, Finnur Jónsson, Ásgeir Bjarnţórsson, Eggert Laxdal, Sveinn Ţórarinsson, Magnús Á. Árnason, Jón Ţorleifsson, Gunnlaugur Scheving, Snorri Arinbjarnar, Ásmundur Sveinsson, Kristinn Pétursson, Jón Engilberts, Sigurjón Ólafsson, Nína Tryggvadóttir, Ţorvaldur Skúlason and Svavar Guđnason.|
|Rúrí: Archive – endangered waters - January 29th – April 27th, 2005|
|Rúrí’s Archive – endangered waters was Iceland’s contribution to the Venice Bienniale in 2003. In the course of her career Rúrí has worked in a variety of media: performances, sculptures, environmental works and installations. The present work is a mixed-media installation, an ode to nature and a contemplation of its value in the modern age. Comprising 52 large photographs on film, it is also an archive documenting the waterfalls of Iceland’s highlands. The word archive is derived from the Greek arkheia, meaning old or disappearing into the past. The basic stimulus behind the work is the looming danger that the waterfalls will disappear and the threat to the world’s water. |
|Environment and Nature - Summer Exhibition - July 10th - August 29th, 2004|
|This year’s summer exhibition will address the theme Environment and nature in Icelandic 20th-century art. Among the numerous exhibits are works by: Ţórarinn B. Ţorláksson, Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jóhannes Kjarval, Júlíana Sveinsdóttir, Svavar Guđnason, Nína Tryggvadóttir, Kristján Davíđsson, Sigurđur Guđmundsson, Helgi Ţorgils, Georg Guđni, Sigurđur Árni Sigurđsson, Hrafnkell Sigurđsson, Guđrún Einarsdóttir, Daníel Magnússon, Ólafur Elíasson, Olga Bergmann and Hlynur Hallsson.|
|Icelandic art 1900 - 1930 - March 27th - May 2th, 2004|
|An overview of the wealth of subjects that Icelandic artists tackled in during the first three decades of the 20th century, in both painting and sculpture. Landscape, folktales, portraits, mythology and still-lifes were all dominant themes during this period. |
Works by artists including: Ţórarinn B. Ţorláksson, Ásgrímur Jónsson, Jóhannes Kjarval, Jón Stefánsson, Júlíana Sveinsdóttir, Kristján Magnússon, Brynjólfur Ţórđarson, Kristín Jónsdóttir, Finnur Jónsson, Gunnlaugur Blöndal, Guđmundur Thorsteinsson (Muggur), Nína Sćmundsson, Jón Ţorleifsson, Eggert Laxdal, Einar Jónsson and Freymóđur Jóhannsson.
|Close up - Contemporary US Art - May 15th - June 6th 2004|
|An exhibition organised in collaboration with the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo. The wide spectrum of works on show jolt the spectator into ironic and sharp reflections on society. Most are from the last two decades of the 20th century, when artists focused on the wide-ranging reality in which man lives and is a consumer. This is post-modern art that apropriates, simulates and recycles already existing concepts, motifs and objects. At the same time, the artists provide a very comprehensible and tangible reflection of everyday myths. Works by: Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Duane Hanson, Louise Lawler, Richard Prince and Charles Ray.|
|NEW ICELADIC ART, ON REALITY, MAN AND IMAGE - November 12th - January 16th, 2005|
|What subjects are the youngest generation of Icelandic artists engaged in? How do they experience their environmentand how is it reflected in their art?|
This exhibition is part of the Nordic Handscape project on transmitting the cultural heritage using mobile technology. Supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Project sponsor in Iceland: Iceland Telecom. You can get information about different artists and their works through your GSM phone. See further informations and telephonenumbers.
The Apartment - Real life performance, 2004 by Birgir Örn Thoroddsen
|NEW ICELANDIC ART: ON REALITY, MAN AND IMAGE - November 12th 2004 - January 16th 2005|
|New Icelandic Art|
This exhibition is part of the Nordic Handscape project on transmitting the cultural heritage using mobile technology. Supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Project sponsor in Iceland: Iceland Telecom. You can get information about different artists and their works through your GSM phone.
View artworks and phonenumbers
Through the eye of the video camera and webcams we have the chance to watch the artist settling into his apartment. How he tries to adapt the environment to his needs so that he will feel at home there. By texting the work’s cellphone number; mblog.is – to tel. 1848 spectators can become subscribers and receive information about how things are coming along, in the form of text messages and digital images.
|Fluxus in Germany 1962 - 1994 - Januar 30th - March 14th, 2004|
|A large exhibition of Fluxus works, spanning the period 1962-1994 and brought to Iceland by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) of Stuttgart. Curators: René Block and Gabriele Knapstein. Fluxus artists rejected prevailing artistic concepts in the 1960s and adopted a highly experimental treatment of reality and society. Using diverse modes of expression, the works of the Fluxus artists frequently satirised their environment and the cultural situation. Works by: Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, John Cage, Henning Christiansen, Robert Filliou, Ludwig Gosewitz, Al Hansen, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Joe Jones, Ute Klophaus, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, Arthur Köpcke, Manfred Leve, George Maciunas, Nam June Paik, Benjamin Patterson, Robert Rehfeldt, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, Takako Saito, Tomas Schmit, Daniel Spoerri, Endre Tót, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell and Emmett Williams.|
|Fluxus links - Icelandicworks 1965-2001 - Januar 30th - March 14th, 2004|
The impact of the international Fluxus movement began to be felt in Iceland towards the end of the 1960s. In particular it was through Dieter Roth’s close presence contact that Iceland’s artistic community became acquainted with Fluxus artists, many of whom exhibited in Iceland. The exhibition highlights Iceland’s links with the Fluxus movement and the way it continues to exert an influence on artists who are working today.
|View Point - Ragna St. Ingadóttir - April 3th - May 2th, 2004|
|Verk Rögnu í Sjónarhorninu eru innsetning og myndbandsverk. Í báđum verkunum er um naflaskođun ađ rćđa; fjölmargir naflar manna og kvenna eru til skođunar og hefur ţetta viđfangsefni veriđ Rögnu hugleikiđ. Naflinn er sérstćtt fyrirbćri sem skilgreint er sem ör á kviđi spendýra en ţó er ţetta ör nokkuđ sem sumum ţykir óţćgilegt ađ sýna en öđrum er nćsta sama um. Naflinn er vissulega gróiđ nćringarop líkamans en einnig myndrćnn og persónulegri hluti líkamans en margir ađrir líkamshlutar hans. Engir tveir naflar eru eins og getur naflaskođun, eđa nákvćm skođun nafla leitt ýmislegt áhugavert í ljós eđa kveikt myndir í huga hvers og eins allt eftir hinum fjölbreytilegustu nöflum sem eru á sýningunni. |
|Variations ona theme : Guđmunda Andrésdóttir - Retrospective - Sep. 25th - Oct. 31st, 2004|
|A retrospective of the career of Guđmunda Andrésdóttir (1922-2002), one of Iceland’s leading abstract artists in the 20th century. Andrésdóttir’s style evolved from geometric abstraction towards more complex lyrical compositions in which she was preoccupied by studies of motion on the pictorial surface. Guđmunda Andrésdóttir bequeathed some of her works to the National Gallery along with all her drawings and sketches. The retrospective is organised in commemoration of that gift.|
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