Iron, Flax, Coal, and Chalk: New Works by Þóra Sigurðardóttir

Þóra Sigurðardóttrir

13.4.2024 — 15.9.2024

National Gallery of Iceland

Iron, Flax, Coal, and Chalk: New Works by Þóra Sigurðardóttir

This exhibition brings together recent drawings, prints, paintings, and assemblages that follow on artist Þóra Sigurðardóttir’s decades-long preoccupation with the grid as an elemental structure against which drawings and objects are placed, creating tension between rectilinear order and organic form. At the center of the installation are several architectonic iron structures with shelves and vitrines containing both found and handmade objects. A tactile sensuality pervades this artist’s collection of commonplace things and natural materials, such as flax fibers, clay, feathers, and bone.

The video Himnur / Membrane reflects Þóra’s interest in the body’s inner membranes. The single-channel work features the delicate translucent tissue of sheep stomachs collected after making blood sausage, the casings swirling within a water-filled kitchen sink. Such food making traditions in Iceland exist across other cultures as well, arising, fundamentally, out of necessity and economy, and the impulse not to let anything go to waste. In its way, it is a kind of sculptural process whereby new organic forms are composed from dismembered parts.

Structures have interested Þóra since childhood, including building plans, calendars, ruled writing paper, and staves for music composition. A drawing she made as a young girl shows an architectural plan of the family home onto which she added lines tracing its inhabitants’ movements from inside and outside and room to room. One of her earliest memories is of X-rays of the human body taken by her father, a renowned radiologist in Akureyri in the north, where the family lived. She was fascinated by the interconnectedness of the human skeletal armature and the flesh and physiological systems of the body, as well as its porous relationship to its external environment, and the notion that everything is connected across the common denominator of matter.

Among the works included in the exhibition are several series of copper and aluminum plate etchings executed at artist residencies in Berlin and Venice and in the Icelandic Printmakers Association print workshop at Hafnarhúsið. Working with monochromatic inks, the artist masterfully achieves infinite subtle variations in the etched lines, tonal scale, and compositional balance of each unique work. A series of paintings made by the direct application of egg tempera, charcoal, graphite, ink, pencil, and chalk on glue-sized linen offers insight into another aspect of the artist’s exploration of the interplay between the woven textile grid and the intricate layering of materials on the surface.

Iron, Flax, Coal, and Chalk: New Works by Þóra Sigurðardóttir



13.4.2024 15.9.2024


Þóra Sigurðardóttir


Pari Stave

Project Management of Exhibitions

Vigdís Rún Jónsdóttir

Exhibition Design

Studio Bua

Technical Supervision

Sigurður Gunnarsson


Magnús Helgason

Gylfi Sigurðsson

Indriði Ingólfsson

Andri Björgvinsson

Ísleifur Kristinsson

13.4.2024 — 15.9.2024

Treasures of Icelandic Art

The museum is open every day from 10am - 5pm.