The contemporary photographer Spessi – Sigurþór Hallbjörnsson – has forged a unique style within the field of fine-art photography. His work presents cold hard reality, unvarnished and uncensored, whether the subject is a person or a setting. Hidden pockets of society are prominent in his work, interspersed with cultural life. His choice and handling of material is provocative, yet also imbued with humanity and humour.
Spessi was born in 1956 in Ísafjörður. His hometown has supplied inspiration for many of his works, as the series Heroes and Sample attest; his latest project, C19, was also shot there. Spessi studied photography at Holland’s AKI Academy of Art and Design and graduated from there in 1994. His photographs and video works have appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions here in Iceland and also abroad including in Holland, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, the United States, and Britain.
Spessi’s career spans more than 30 years and this retrospective offers a view of the countless stories his work presents. Proud everyday heroes, lonesome petrol pumps, abandoned spaces, dented weapons of revolution, gun owners, flat-dwellers, and artists, ill at ease or sure of themselves.
Spessi’s work is a mirror of Icelandic society and contains an important social critique.