The Icelandic Art Prize 2023 was awarded on March 16 in Reykjavík. The awards provide recognition to outstanding visual artists and exhibitions.
Hrafnkell Sigurðsson (b. 1963) is the recipient of the Art Prize for his work Resolution, as a part of the exhibition series Billboard. Portrait of Sigursson above by Stephan Stephensen.
In 2022, all of Reykjavík watched as inscrutable, moving images appeared on 450 billboards all over the city, in bus stops and on large advertising signs. The screens showed an ever changing fog, sometimes forming shapes and patterns which then dissolved again.
This was not a malfunction, but the work Resolution by Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, created from large, composite photographs from 2018, where countless tiny planes are joined in a blurred mosaic image. Each plane is an enlargement from a photograph from the Hubble space telescope, which shows galaxies as they were millions of years ago, at the moment the light that the telescope captures set off. Sigurðsson selected fragments from the images from in between galaxies, where nothing seems visible. When it is blown up, however, colours and lines appear, and Sigurðsson then pieces them together. From the images that show nothing, a picture suddenly appeared. The project is a collaboration between Reykjavik Art Museum and Y gallery.
The recipient of the Motivational Award is Ásgerður Birna Björnsdóttir (b.1990) for her exhibition A Twitch and a Tug at Reykjavik Art Museum. She has already made a name for herself among emerging artists by raising insistent questions about the future and dealing with the most pressing issues of our times, the interplay of man and nature.
The Honorary Award is granted to an artist whose long and successful career has made a significant impression on the history of Icelandic art. This year’s recipient of the award is Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir (b.1933), who has made a great mark on Icelandic art history with her effective use of the drawing medium, first in printmaking and then later with her particularly magnificent and powerful drawings. She was in her thirties when she first started to make a name for herself in the art scene. Her first solo exhibition was held in 1968 and her career has continued consistently since.
The award for a Publication on Contemporary Art was awarded to Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson for their publication Debatable Lands: Dialogues from Shared Worlds. The Reykjavik Art Museum received an award for the Retrospective of the Year for the exhibition Erró—The Power of Images curated by Danielle Kvaran and Gunnar B. Kvaran. Finally an award was given for the Group Show of the Year to the Reykjavik Sculpture Association for the exhibition The Wheel V: All is Well curated by Kristín Dagmar Jóhannesdóttir.