Nominations for the Icelandic pavilion 2019
Press release 22. March 2018
The Icelandic Art Center introduces the three artists that continue developing their proposals in a chance of becoming Iceland’s final selection for the 2019 Venice Biennale.
The Icelandic Art Center proposed an open call for Iceland’s contribution to the 58th Venice Biennale, with a deadline on the 1st of March 2018.
This time around the center received a response of 17 proposals from artists and curators. The Icelandic Art Center was pleased to witness how many and diverse the proposals were, and the amount of applications is a true testament of the ambition among artists and curators for the international artistic platform that the Venice Biennale is.
An international jury has now closed in on its deliberation of the 17 proposals and chosen three applicants that will continue to evolve their projects over the next six weeks for the final selection that will be announced in May 2018.
The following artists have been chosen to work on their proposals for further selection:
- Elín Hansdóttir with the curator Carson Chan
- Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir with the curator Alessandro Castiglioni
- Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir aka Shoplifter with the curator Birta Guðjónsdóttir.
It shall be noted that the jury found themselves to have a tough task on their hands, and in order to make their decisions they kept the following guidelines: the project shall be relevant in an international context, be able to draw attention to itself and the artist or artistic team shall have previous experience in the participation of a large scale international project. The aforementioned individuals or teams present all these guidelines and more.
The international jury is excited and curious to see how the projects of these artists will continue to develop within the next six weeks. Each of the proposals will receive 250.000 ISK to finalise their proposals so they may start its execution as soon as the final selection has been made. In May 2018 it shall be announced which of the three proposals will go on to be Iceland’s contribution to the Venice Biennale 2019.
The jury consist of the scientific board of the Center:
- Björg Stefánsdóttir, director of the IAC
- Hlynur Hallsson, director of the Akureyri Art Museum
- Daníel Björnsson, artist.
and two guests:
- Pari Stave, art historian, curator, and senior administrator for the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York
- Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, curator and art professor of art history and art theory at the University of Iceland.
About the artists and curators
Elín Hansdóttir’s (b. 1980) site-specific installations take many forms, including auditory or optical illusions, labyrinthian tunnels and motion-activated architectural elements. She creates self-contained worlds that seem to operate under their own set of rules, completely transforming a benign space into one that defies expectations and seems only to exist at a particular moment in time. Recent solo exhibitions include: Simulacra (2016), i8 Gallery; Disruption (2016), Asmundarsafn; Suspension of Disbelief (2015), KW-Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin; Higher Atlas (2012), Marrakech Biennale; Trace (2010), i8 Gallery Iceland; Parallax (2009), Reykjavik Art Museum Iceland; Art Against Architecture (2008), National Gallery of Iceland. In 2017 she was awarded the Culture Prize for Optimism (Bjartsýnisverðlaunin), patroned by former president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. Later the same year she was granted a prize from the Guðmunda S.Kristindóttir Art Fund, founded by artist Erró
Carson Chan is an architecture writer and curator. In 2006 he co-founded PROGRAM, a project and residency space for art and architecture. He curated the 4th Marrakech Biennale with Nadim Samman in 2012, served as executive curator to the Biennial of the Americas in Denver in 2013, and guest curated the Aurora Biennial in Dallas in 2015. His most recent exhibition, “Reaper: Richard Hamilton, Sigfried Giedion”, at the Graphische Sammlung in Zurich, presented all 17 of Richard Hamilton’s etchings of farm machinery along with archival material from the Swiss art historian, Sigfried Giedion. Chan is currently pursuing a PhD in architecture at Princeton University, where he’s studying the intersection between architecture, urbanism, ecology, and the nonhuman world, in particular the ocean. His dissertation considers nineteenth and twentieth century public aquariums in England and the United States as models of ecology.
Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir (b.1969), lives and works in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Hekla makes interactive constellations, a group or cluster of related things, creating a dialog of sound sensitive cold cathode lights, a frozen puddle in the middle of the summer, pop-up igloos, wishing wells and magic. She graduated from the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts in 1994 and spent two years as a guest student in Germany. In 1997 she received a BFA and in 1999 a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles. In 1998 she received a Fellowship to attend Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Since 1999 she has actively exhibited her works internationally. She has taken on the role of a curator for several exhibitions and is currently a professor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. Hekla is one of the founders of Kling & Bang gallery.
Alessandro Castiglioni is an art historian and cultural researcher.
Since 2004 has been engaged in educational programs at the Museo MAGA, Gallarate, Milano (www.museomaga.it) where now he curates research activities. Since 2011 he is General Co – Secretary of the Premio Nazionale Arti Visive Città di Gallarate. Castiglioni worked in Iceland since 2010, on diverse projects such as: the screening programm Geography of Proximity, ICA – Icelandic Art Centre, 2010. The workshop The Land seen from the sea, NYLO – Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, 2011. The exhibition Subjective Maps / Disappearances at National Gallery of Iceland curated by Alessandro Castiglioni, Rita Canarezza e PierPoalo Coro and Halldór Björn Runólfsson, 2013. And worked with icelandic artist such as Sigurður Atli Sigurðsson, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, Ingibjörg Magnadóttir. He invited Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir in many collective exhibitions such as La terra vista dal are, Museo di Villa Croce, Geona 2012 and curated Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir solo show Marings in Listen to the Sirens, Gibraltar in 2015.
Institutions he has worked with, include: Istituto Italiano di Cultura of London; Fashion and Textile Museum, London, La Triennale, Milano; Viafarini/Docva, Milan; Museo di Villa Croce, Genoa; MCA, Valletta (Malta); Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich (CH); MCBA, Lausanne (CH); Foundation Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Museo Riso, Palermo. In 2013 he was the curator of Mediterranea 16 – XVI Mediterranean Biennale. With Simone Frangi he was the co-director of A Natural Oasis, Transnational Research Program and free university (1ed. 2014-2015 / 2ed. 2016-2017). Between 2008 and 2014, with Ermanno Cristini, he curated the Roaming project (www.roaming-art.it). He was Guest Curator at O’Artoteca, Milan; curator of the 47th Premio Suzzara, Mantua; and of the XXIV and XXV Premio Gallarate.
Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter (b. 1969), is an Icelandic artist who has lived in New York for the past 23 years. During this time, she has remained closely connected to Iceland, that has had a unique influence on her work, in building a strong sense of the harmony of opposites and life’s dualism constantly informing her work. For the past 15 years Shoplifter has explored extensively the use and symbolic nature of hair and its visual and artistic
potential. Her art addresses the history of our obsession with hair and how it is an ongoing manifestation of creativity in contemporary culture, tackling notions that border on obsession or fetish. Shoplifter’s body of work largely consists of sculptures, site-specific installations and wall murals, that take on themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty and popular myth. Her work is anchored in her fascination with pop culture and mass production as well as folk art, naivism and handcraft, which continue to strongly influence her creative process.
Her body of work as a whole exists in the shocking pink area between visual art,
performance, and design.
To name a few of Shoplifter´s latest major projects; Together with a.v.a.f. she was commissioned by MoMA in 2008 to create a large window installation in New York and she represented Iceland, alongside Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, at the Liverpool Biennial in UK in September 2010. She received The Nordic Award in Textiles 2011 and was that same year awarded The Prins Eugen Medal for artistic achievement from the King and Royal Crown of Sweden. The headpiece she created in for Björk on her album cover of Medúlla in 2004 was presented at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA in New York as a part of the Björk
retrospective. Shoplifter’s works were presented as a solo exhibition at Volta Art Fair in New York a year earlier, in 2015. Her large signature hair installation Nervescape IV was commissioned for and unveiled at the Momentum 8 – Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art in Moss, Norway. Her large hair installations have as well been commissioned more recently at
the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (Nervescape V, 2017), at the Walt Disney Concert Hall of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Nervescape VI, 2017) and at the National Gallery of Iceland (Nervescape VII, 2017).
Birta Guðjónsdóttir has the position of chief curator at the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik. In 2015 she co-curated Momentum 8 – Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Norway. In 2009-11 she had the position as director of The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik. In 2008-09 she had the position of Artistic Director of exhibition space 101 Projects, Reykjavik. In 2008 she worked as curator´s assistant at MuHKA; Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp,
Belgium. In 2007-08 she took part in the Nordic Baltic Curatorial Platform project, initiated by FRAME, Finland. In 2005-08 she worked as a curator at SAFN, Private Contemporary Art Collection, Reykjavik. Guðjónsdóttir has independently curated over twenty exhibitions in Basel, Berlin, Boden,
Copenhagen, Oslo, Melbourne, New York, St. Petersburg and most art museums and art spaces in Iceland. In 2011 she participated in the Curatorial Intensive program of ICI; Independent Curators International, New York. In 2011 she participated in The Cornwall Workshop, organised by Tate Museum St. Ives. She has been on the boards of the Museum Council of Iceland, The Art Theory Association of Iceland and The Icelandic Academy of the Arts and on advisory boards of The Icelandic Art Center. From 2002-2013 she produced her home-gallery Dwarf Gallery, Reykjavik. She is a member of IKT, International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art.
About the IAC
The Icelandic Art Center is in charge of the Icelandic pavilion’s production at the Venice Biennale. The IAC introduces contemporary art abroad, supports international collaboration through its travel grants, publishing, guest programs, events, exhibitions, symposiums and lectures, both in collaboration with other institutions as well as independently.
The Icelandic pavilion in Venice is funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.
About the Venice Biennale:
The Venice Biennale is one of the oldest and most prestigious art events in the world, founded in 1895. Iceland has been a participant in the Biennale since 1960. In 2017 a number of 86 nations took part in the Biennale, alongside 23 other exhibitions in the city. Over 600.000 guests attended the Biennale during its seven month long run that year and it is safe to say that all of the international art world came to take part as usual. The artists that have presented Iceland at the Venice Biennale work within the international art world and have created a name for themselves in Iceland as well as abroad. The exhibitions have received great attention and have added to the importance and visibility of Icelandic visual art within the international context.
Here you can find additional information on the Icelandic participation at the Venice Biennial since 1960 and the artist that have exhibited at the Icelandic Pavilion.
For further information contact Björg Stefánsdóttir, director of IAC: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: +354 562 7262.