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Art

Con-Text: An Ode to Handmade Books

I have an almost religious love for the tangible book as opposed to its digital format. Yes, the latter does spare tons of physical space and is more eco-friendly, but staring at a soulless e-book on a screen for hours cannot make me love it. In “Con-Text” at the Nordic House the sculptural and...

Sex Through Art With Ragnar Kjartansson

“Spiritual sex” with the audience. That's what the young Icelandic participant in the 53rd Venice Biennale strives for in his performance installations, according to the accompanying catalogue of the exhibition “The End,” displayed in Hafnarborg, the Hafnarfjördur Centre of Culture and Fine Art...

The Potential of the Carnegie Art Award

Perhaps because I am of a different breed, my nationalistic ego was rather skeptical than flattered by the fact that an Icelander got the grand Carnegie Art Award this year. My first question (not without irony) was: is Nordic art any different from other art in this globalized world? Could this...

The Controlled Chaos of Davíd Örn Halldórsson

The key descriptive words which pop up on the internet about Davíd Örn Halldórsson’s style are grafitti and ethno, but I’d also add hallucinatory. It is rather inspired by the positive outward creative force of nature, not any inward self-destructive void. It is about gracefully balanced complexity...

The Nonsensical Magic of Egill Saebjörnsson

Cabaret, I believe, is the right word to describe the fusion of music, video, animation, found objects and acting included in Egill Saebjörnsson’s current exhibition at Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús. Staring at it, one inevitably wonders what it’s supposed to be: artsy pretentiousness, some kind...

Brother Seeing Eye at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography

If you are a fan of photographic history, this exhibition is definitely a must-see. An enthusiastic chronicler of daily street life “Brother Seeing Eye” is the nickname that the Dadaist fellows of André Kertész (1894-1985) granted him. Eternally in love with the small-format cameras, this...

The "Anti-Cute" Cuteness of Yoshitomo Nara

The installation “The Crated Rooms In Iceland – Yoshitomo Nara+YNG,” created for Reykjavík Art Museum (Hafnarhús) by the contemporary Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara, made me realize that I have only written positive reviews so far. I went to the exhibition with much anticipation, expecting that...

Evoking Iceland in New York

In New York this summer, Hjörtur Hjartarson and Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson present, in very different manifestations, their dialogues with the country in which they call home. No matter how far we travel, the strength in connection to our native lands is provocative. Home is the birthplace of our...

The Pain of Dr. B

The moment I entered the Reykjanes Art Museum where Olga Bergmann’s current exhibition is running, I was fascinated by the lights in the semi-dim white space; they seemed almost of alien origin. I got what I expected; it was marriage of fantasy, science and nature. Yet instead of feeling happy, I...

How to Eat an Elephant, According to the Artist Hulda Hákon

If you don't know who Hulda Hákon is, you should. Because her works are simply like no other. Her relief pieces are a blend of modern illustration and the timelessness of sculpture. They are a social commentary comparable to daily newspaper strips, but have the vividness of an animation still-frame...

Photographic Intensity: “Child Labour or training for life?”

The National Museum of Iceland exhibition “Child Labour or training for life?” features Icelandic work culture with focus on children working at sea. Fishing has a long tradition in Iceland and was an essential source of income for many families. The photographs provide an historic account of the...

An Artistic Take on Film History: ICELAND::FILM

The traveling exhibition ICELAND::FILM has hit the home country’s shores and is currently on display at The Culture House. It is meant to shed an artistic light on Icelandic film history from the dawn of the 20th century up until last year. Although some artistic elements might be lacking, it is...

Looking Back on an Eventful Year: The 2008 Press Photo Exhibition

One might think that news and art are unrelated. However, the interplay between dramatic events, coincidences and a photographer’s observant eye can create art out of something that might not appear artistic at first glance, as was apparent at the 2008 Press Photo Exhibition at Gerdarsafn art...

River Paintings: Reflections of an Artist on Water and Canvas

Displaying a series of ten paintings entitled "River Paintings," the More North Gallery of Nordic Art and Design in downtown New York City features Icelandic painter Sigtryggur Bjarni Baldvinsson's first exhibition in the United States. And it is an appropriate stateside introduction to his work:...

An Experience to Behold: The Kjarval “Picture of a Whole” Exhibition

Posted on the wall at the entrance of the “Picture of a Whole” exhibition by Jóhannes S. Kjarval, one of Iceland’s most renowned and beloved artists, are the words “Kjarval Complete”—and complete it is. The exhibition occupies three large rooms at the Kjarvalsstadir art gallery in Reykjavík, each...

A Place Called Home: “Home and Away” at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography

In the exhibition “Home and Away,” which features photographic work by Katrín Elvarsdóttir and texts by Sigrún Sigurdardóttir, we meet different individuals who share the experience of having been forced to abandon their homes. All have ultimately found their way to Iceland and made a new home for...

Life in Art: The Visual Symphony Exhibition at Kjarvalsstadir Museum

The Kjarvalsstadir branch of the Reykjavík Art Museum is holding a retrospective exhibition of Bragi Ásgeirsson (1931- ), an artist who is often credited with popularization of printmaking in Iceland. During his career, he has explored different styles, manners, materials and techniques. The...

Unfulfilled Promise: The Pleinairism Exhibition in I8 Gallery

For its “pleinairism” exhibition, I8, one of the oldest galleries in Reykjavík, gathered together 38 artists from different countries, who work in different media, are of different ages and are at different stages of their professional careers. The title “pleinairism” refers to the technique of...

The Creative Spark Within: The Einar Jónsson Museum

The Einar Jónsson Museum, located across the street from Hallgrímskirkja church, somewhat resembles a medieval castle. This castle of a building is one of the most exceptional museums in all of Iceland, dedicated to one of the country’s most celebrated sculptors. Inside and out, the museum is full...

Scent and Sensibility: SMART exhibition in Gallery Ágúst

SMART is the name of the solo exhibition of the young Icelandic artist Andrea Maack. SMART is a multilayered word: amusing; clever; witty; fashionable; bright – each of these words can be used to describe this exhibition, as well as the gallery that has chosen to present it.

Splash of Color: Exhibition by Aleksandra Babik at the Seltjarnarnes Library

A splash of colors will greet visitors on the second floor of the Seltjarnarnes Library when the work of artist Aleksandra Babik goes on display May 15. Deep orange, ultramarine blue, luxurious red and shimmering silver form a wonderful palette, and one cannot help but feel uplifted by the artist’s...

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