Artist and activist Róska was one of a kind. Art smouldered inside her, and the undercurrent of her art practice was personal, avant-garde and surreal. Róska, whose full name was Ragnhildur Óskarsdóttir, was born in 1940 in Reykjavík. She never balked in her creative process, and did not hesitate to express herself on absolutely any subject. Communicating through her art, she contended with new, avant-garde media in the latter half of the 20th century. Her personal and surreal imagery went hand-in-hand with opposition to abstract art and the bourgeois ideology of the time. For Róska the subject of Woman was always central, and she reflected her own psyche and that of women in general in many of her works. In the 1960s and 70s she was a woman among men in the male-oriented community of artists, and she was unshakeably convinced that women were men‘s equals, and need not conform with the masculine norms of the bourgeois society of the time. Her drawings testify to a delicate narrative style and sincerity; and her campaign posters, paintings, photographs, sculptures, sketches and performances show that there was so much that mattered to her, whether political or personal issues. For Róska, life and art were indissolubly intertwined.
An exhibition of works by Róska opens at the LA Art Museum on 5 June 2021. It will include works from her oeuvre that reflect her creative flow, talent and avant-gardism, as well as her personal, provocative and sincere approach to her life and art. The intention is to display Róska‘s diverse and unique visual world and her attributes as an artist, activist and individual; and to shed light on how important her art was, and is, in the context of art history, and the impact she had, and still has, on individuals, society and the era.
Róska’s art will be displayed in dialogue with works by contemporary Icelandic artists who reflect Róska‘s unique sensitivity and approach, and possess the same energy, enthusiasm, avant-gardism or sincerity. The common factor of the contemporary artists is that they have in their drawing or approach addressed women‘s psyche in a range of media – media which Róska was unafraid of adopting, although they were avant-garde in the years after the middle of the last century.
Curator: Ástríður Magnúsdóttir
Ástríður Magnúsdóttir (b. 1972) graduated from the Iceland University of the Arts with a BA in fine art in 2008, and from the University of Iceland with a BA in art history and art theory in 2013. Her fields of interest within art history and theory are contemporary art and culture, history of photography, feminist art theory and the status of women within the art world. In recent years Ástríður has worked in teaching, writing, curating, MA studies in art theory, and her own research, while also sitting on committees in the field of arts and culture, including as a member of an advisory professional group on grants allocated by the Reykjavík Culture, Sports and Leisure Board, representing the Federation of Icelandic Artists, and twice on the allocation committee for artists’ bursaries. At present Ástríður is teaching on the visual arts programme at the Reykjavík School of Visual Arts and at the School of Photography, while also working on her own research and exhibition projects.