Winners Of The 2019 Icelandic Art Awards Announced
Visual artist Eygló Harðardóttir was named the Artist of the Year for her solo exhibition ‘Another Space’ at the Living Art Museum. Artist Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson received the 2019 Motivation Award for his exhibition ‘Manuscript’ launched at the Reykjavik Art Museum. Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture presented the prize at an award ceremony at Iðnó February 22nd.
Artist of the year 2019 :
The Living Art Museum
Photo: Helga Óskarsdóttir og Vigfús Birgisson. Courtesy of the Artist.
Eygló Harðardóttir (b. 1964) is the recipient of the Art Award 2019 for her aptly named exhibition Another Space in The Living Art Museum. With work which simultaneously was dainty and coarse, made from delicate materials, the artist opened up doorways for the viewer to enter and increase their perception and sensitivity instead of the usual rationalism. Eygló seems concerned with the viewers sensing that there is no one correct answer, that all dimensions are equally important and that their experience can be personal and limitless. The works were wide open for interpretation.
The determined and sophisticated usage of found and bought materials carried an incentive for intuition, to not only read the material of the works but also their hidden dimensions, the subconscious, and the interaction with light and the concrete space of the material world. The work was mainly made from paper, a material which Eygló is obviously fond of, and leads her to the natural structure of her art. The book art Another Space, was the exhibition’s source, expanding the possibilities of form and media, in a wide sense.
For almost three decades, Eygló’s art has been interwoven with her work as art teacher on one hand, and a ranger in the Icelandic highlands on the other. Her understanding and respect for material and its nature, echoes an exploration of the most delicate elements in Iceland’s flora and fauna, and this has formed a unique sensitivity in Eygló’s art teaching, where she guides young people during their formation years.
It is the jury’s opinion that Eygló’s exhibition in The Living Art Museum showed all her main characteristics; a passion for art, an unbridled creation, a profound curiosity of the functionality of the inscrutable, and dissemination and teaching which is apparent in the trust she placed in the viewers in their interpretation of the work.
Eygló Harðardóttir (b. 1964) often creates two- and three dimensional abstract sculptures from paper, as well as installations and book work. Material such as paper, new and recycled, colourful found material, plastic, wood, graphite and glass, are the basis of her ideas and the driving force behind her exploration and
limitations of each media. The creative process is characterised by research and exploration of the material, mapping its possibilities and limitations each time, and exploring its characteristics.
The outcome is an art work, the result of a process, guided by the material which has been stretched, transformed and given a new role. Eygló studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts (1983 – 87) and Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst en Industrie in Enschede, Holland (1987 – 90), but she also holds an MA in educational theory from the Iceland University of the Arts (2014).
Motivational Award of the year 2019 :
Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson
D-Hall, Reykjavik Art Museum – Hafnarhús
Photos: Owen Fiene, courtesy of the artist.
Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson (b. 1987) has devoted time and attention to techniques and methods of printmaking, engraving, stamps and ceramics. He is the recipient of the Motivational Award 2019 for his exhibition Manuscript in D-Hall, where he returns to an idea born during his study years. He had already acquired a great interest in artists’ books and the idea was to create pages from fired clay, each of which would be an independent book work.
It is not an easy thing, firing such a thin clay tablet that it can pass for a page in a book, and it is impressive to listen to the artist’s descriptions of the long and delicate experimental process, where he gradually learned, through trial and error, what would work and what wouldn’t. When Leifur had made hundreds of the clay tablets, he painted on them random words and phrases which he had spent a long time noting down, from his own speech and other people’s. He rejected all lyricism but collected clichés and idle talk, fillers which we “chew” on, to use the artist’s own words, while we focus our thought on what we really want to say. Together, the clay tablets form a manuscript, a book which you walk into. The clay reminds us of the impermanence of language, which we shape and break at will, just like the artist’s material.
The jury is of the opinion that Leifur Ýmir memorably integrates the content and material in this exhibition which follows the viewer outside the museum and into daily life, where it keeps on brewing in the mind.
Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson (b. 1987) studied at the Reykjavík School of Visual Arts in 2008 – 10, both preparatory studies and ceramics. In 2013, he graduated from the fine art department of Iceland University of the Arts. Leifur Ýmir has participated in many group exhibitions in Iceland and abroad. He is a member of the artist team Print & Friends which has been visible on the Icelandic art scene in recent months.
The members of the jury of Icelandic Art Prize 2018-2019 are:
Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson, The Association of Icelandic Artists
Hanna Styrmisdóttir, representative of Icelandic art museum directors
Jóhann Ludwig Torfason, The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists
Margrét Kristín Sigurðardóttir, chairman of Icelandic Visual Arts Council
Sigurður Guðjónsson, representative of Fine Arts at Icelandic University of the Arts
The Icelandic Art Center congratulates Eygló Harðardóttir and Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson for their awards.