Icelandic Art Center
Icelandic Art Center
Icelandic Art Today

The publication introduces 50 artists from Iceland:
Anna Líndal, Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson, Darri Lorenzen, Eggert Pétursson, Egill Sæbjörnsson, Elín Hansdóttir, Erla S. Haraldsdóttir, Erling T.V. Klingenberg, Finnbogi Pétursson, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Georg Guðni, Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir, Guðrún Vera Hjartardóttir, Hannes Lárusson, Haraldur Jónsson, Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir, Helgi Þorgils Fríðjónsson, Hildur Bjarnadóttir, Hlynur Hallsson, Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, Hulda Hákon, Hulda Stefánsdóttir, The Icelandic Love Corporation, Inga Svala Þórsdóttir, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Ívar Valgarðsson, Jón Óskar, Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Libia Castro + Ólafur Ólafsson, Magnús Sigurðarsson, Margrét H. Blöndal, Olga Soffía Bergmann, Ólafur S. Gíslason, Ólöf Nordal, Ragnar Kjartansson, Rúrí, Sara Björnsdóttir, Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir, Sigurður Árni Sigurðsson, Sirra Sigrún Sigurðardóttir, Steingrímur Eyfjörð, Svava Björnsdóttir, Tumi Magnússon, Unnar Örn Auðarson, Þórdís Aðalsteinsdóttir, Þór Vigússon.


With texts by:
Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, Christian Schoen, Eva Heisler, Gregory Volk, Ólafur Gíslason, Halldór Björn Runólfsson, Jón Proppé, Markús Þór Andrésson, Margrét Elísabet Ólafsdóttir, Matthias Wagner K, Ragna Sigurðardóttir, Shauna Laurel Jones, Þóra Þórisdóttir.



Icelandic Art Today is the first book of its kind to present in English a wide array of Icelandic contemporary artists born after 1950. Thirteen well known writers of various nationality join hands in writing about 50 artists who have been prominent during the past decade or longer. Many of these artists have gained recognition outside Iceland, either in Europe or in the United States and some have chosen to stay abroad and try their luck in various centres of art although most of them maintain a contact with their country of origin.

Icelandic Art Today is 340 pages, lavishly illustrated with informative texts on each of the fifty artists and an extensive introduction to contemporary art in Iceland, which can be traced back to the late fifties and early sixties when a growing discontent with modernism and formalism was being felt by a generation of artists born in the twenties and the early thirties. With the advent of numerous artists born in the early fourties Contemporary art became the dominant trait of Icelandic art in the late sixties and early seventies, paving the way for Conceptual and Minimal Art in the seventies and the eighties, before evolving along postmodernistic lines in the late eighties.

Despite its kinship with international trends and movements Icelandic art has a logic of its own, which is not easy to decipher although it is quite easy to detect. Compared with art from other Nordic countries Icelandic contemporary art is perhaps less sociological or psychological than either its Danish or Swedish counterparts and has less to do with the search and loss of identity, which often characterizes Norwegian and Finnish art.

If one is to sum up recent contemporary art in Iceland, which is not a rewarding task, it is rather based on a playful attitude towards tradition and the absurdity of being situated halfway between western culture and a striking nature, which is perfectly othewise than anything found in the rest of Europe. Isolation, conditioned by a difficult notion of time and space, may be a common denominator of Icelandic contemporary art although Icelandic Art Today shows it to be anything but obvious.

While we thank Hatje Cantz for their patience and encouragement, and all those who helped realize this wonderful project we hope that this book may reveal the variety of Icelandic art, which still benefits from the spectrum of different countries and cities where these 50 artists drew their postgraduate formation before blending it with the background of their origin.


Editors: Christian Schoen and Halldór Björn Runólfsson

May 2009, English Hatje Cantz (Germany)

340 pages, 354 illustrations

€ 49,80

ISBN 978-3-7757-2295-7


ICELANDIC ART TODAY is published by the Center for Icelandic Art and the National Gallery of Iceland


We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Agnes Gund. This project could not have been accomplished without her generous support. Additional thanks go to Bjarni Ármannsson and Helga Sverrisdóttir.


And we cordially wish to thank our sponsors:

The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs / Viljandi /Goethe-Institut / Landesbank Baden-Württemberg / The Trade Council of Iceland