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26 March, 202222 May, 2022

Alter / Breyta is a collective exhibition by four emerging artists who have all graduated fairly recently from Iceland University of the Arts. The group was chosen collaboratively with Bjarki Bragason, Dean of the Department of Fine Art, and invited to stay in Skaftfell´s residency for three weeks while further developing their proposals. While their works display a wide range of approaches and interests, an unfathomable thread appears to connect between them.

Some kind of alteration has taken place or has been made as a starting point in the artworks of the exhibition. Different material and ideas are being altered: The calm and lowkey process, the attentiveness and repetition that change mundane things, that transform and take them out of their previous context.

Fallen by Joe Keys is a collection of small and colourful objects which we ordinarily do not pay much attention to. They have been dropped and lost their original purpose. With the amount of objects and their private arrangement on small wooden shelves, they have gained some sort of exaltation and the viewer is encouraged to bow and get a closer look at them.

The installation and performance/lecture of Hugo Llanes deals with bread and its transitory cultural aspect, it is an invitation to understand the political life of bread, from basic nutrition to a value-charged industrialized product in which the raw material can denote our socio-economic status. The bread palates are a sort of presence of the artist as well as a by-product from his performance and invite the viewer to attend a universal co-experience while making and donating their own bread palate. The sculpture presents a cartoon character which can be read as an allegory of human habits and the obsession with edibles immersed in capitalist commodities.

Daphne is a piece by Brák Jónsdóttir that hangs Junoesque and peacefully. It is based on the myth of Daphne’s metamorphosis when she was turned into a bay tree when fleeing from Apollo’s violent aggravation. The branches have formed a strong frame but have been bereaved of their outermost and protective skin, the bark. The innermost essence is exposed but there we are able to reflect on ourselves and possibly look into our nearest future.

The idea of holiness and domesticity are interwoven in Nína Óskardóttir´s installation. Beautiful centrepieces and objects, relating to craftmanship and home, are simultaneously placed like icons on an altar touching on creativity and personal space. The noticeable fingerprints of the artist in the clay show that she is the creator of the artwork but the sanctity of the holy water is invisible to us. How can holiness be elicited?

Text by Hanna Christel Sigurkarlsdóttir

Artists bio

Brák Jónsdóttir was born 1996. She graduated with a BA degree from the Fine Art department of Iceland University of the Arts in 2021. Her works mainly take the form of video works, books, sculptures and performances, but recently her subjects have revolved around humanity’s relationship with nature. Her approach is oriented towards the creative and earth based side of kink, exploring our relationship with the earth in terms of domination and submission, fantasy and feminism. Her works are often comprised of a blushing tension between pain and pleasure, natural and man-made materials.

Hugo Llanes was born 1990 in Xalapa, Veracruz, México. He lives and works in Reykjavík and graduated from the MA Fine Art Program at the Iceland University of the Arts in 2020. His practice involves the study of political and social cracks and the aesthetics that erupts from them. His works include extended painting, edible work, installations, site-specific and local performances. He looks at social circumstances in his work, such as the movement of people between countries, the abuse of power and the influence of post-colonialism on the development of identities in Latin America, nationhood, otherness and political resistance, as well as working with the theme of food as a social dilemma-debate and the construction of meaning through culinary experiences. He uses his works as a platform to dissect these complicated and challenging notions that are intertwined, seeing in the use of simple and poetical gestures, potentials for dissection processes. Believing that the personal is a microsystem that is exposed to a global sphere, his works encourage the viewer to reflect-contemplate as well as participate.

Joe Keys was born 1995 in Newcastle, UK. He has lived in Iceland since 2018 and graduated from the Fine Art department of Iceland University of the Arts in 2021. He predominantly works with found material through sculpture and printmaking. The works he makes reflect systems of organisation in daily life, with a dry humour and consideration for overlooked and under-appreciated objects. He currently works as a supervisor in the printmaking workshop of Iceland University of the Arts, and is part of the co-operative Print & Friends in Laugardalur, Reykjavík.

Nína Óskarsdóttir was born 1986. She graduated with an MA in Fine Arts in 2020 from the Iceland University of the Arts where she also got her BA degree in 2014. Nína works primarily with sculpture and installation within her material based practice. She uses mediums such as clay, textiles and light in conjunction with ephemeral materials such as water, fire and food. She works with immaterial concepts, such as sacredness, memories and personal identity, and attempts to make them material. Nína has exhibited her work through different projects both in Iceland and in Europe as well as working on her artistic research in various research opportunities.