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The Arctic Creatures Revisited

6 May20 August

The exhibition features more than 20 photographs by The Arctic Creatures, a a collective of three artists — visual artist Hrafnkell Sigurdsson, filmmaker and director Óskar Jónasson, and actor/theatre director Stefán Jónsson.

On long hikes into the Icelandic wilderness, the artists play the dramatis personæ in scenes choreographed and staged using found objects as both inspiration and set design. The resulting series of photographs, taken between 2012-22, are by turns comedic and tragic, antic and seriously thought-provoking, seemingly artless yet artfully canny.

Hrafnkell, Óskar, and Stéfan are childhood friends who came of age as artists in Reykjavík during the heyday of Icelandic Punk in the 1980s. Their long treks into the hinterlands of Iceland, along the shorelines of the West and East Fjords, are annual retreats from city life to the natural world, where they reconnect to the environment and each other. Finding inspiration in the shared cultural history embedded in their surroundings — the raw and harsh landscape, the mystical atmospherics of the subarctic light in summer, and the remnants of human habitation in long-abandoned farms, stranded boats, and found driftwood — they “made the most of the unexpected,” drawing on their individual artistic disciplines to create these staged tableaux.

Taken together, the images strike connections between mythology and history, literature and art, and nature and culture, raising unintended yet urgent questions about how humans experience nature, and, in turn, how we impact the environment.

A simultaneous exhibition of Arctic Creatures will be presented at Nordatlantens Brygge | The North Atlantic House, from June 10 – September 10, 2023. The North Atlantic House is located at Strandgade 91, in Copenhagen. www.nordatlantens.dk/