Ceramic art has been with mankind from its earliest times and it is an integral part of the cultural and artistic history of the world. Few relics of ceramic art from ancient Iceland have been preserved. In this context, there exists the word ‘deiglumór’. This ancient word for clay attests to the use of clay to make crucibles in Iceland in early centuries. This history has been forgotten, and yet the use of Icelandic clay was the basis for the fertile ceramic art history of the 20th century.
The pioneer Guðmundur Einarsson from Miðdalur founded Listvinahúsið in 1927. From 1946 to 1957 five new ceramic workshops were established in Reykjavik: Leirbrennsla Benedikts Guðmundssonar, Funi, Laugarnesleir, Roði and Glit. Some of these workshops were large, with as many as ten people working on the production process. They all had the use of Icelandic clay in common, up until around 1970.
This exhibition includes pieces from the above-mentioned workshops from the time in which Icelandic clay was being used. The aim is to give an insight into the production process of these workshops and to highlight what made each of them unique. In these workshops, both one off pieces and mass-produced ornaments were designed and produced. These included large vases, dinner sets, and souvenirs for tourists. A great deal of artistic ambition was put into unique pieces and the main workshops sought to persuade the public that one off pieces made from clay were on an equal footing with paintings or sculpture. The design and production of Icelandic ceramics marked the start of Icelandic decorative arts in the modern understanding of this term.
Curators. Inga S. Ragnasdóttir and Kristín G. Guðnadóttir