As the year is coming to an end, we have prepared for you an advent calendar showcasing a different Icelandic artwork daily.
Join us every day here on our website or on our Instagram account or Facebook page for an artwork, or an exhibition, and some stories around each, or come back to this page where we will be adding each artwork.
Gerður Helgadóttir, Mobile, 1953, Metalsculpture, 60 x 51 x 40 cm.
Courtesy of Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum, Gerður herself photographed ca. 1953.
Kicking off the Christmas calendar we have a work from the collection of Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum, Mobile by Gerður Helgadóttir. The work is now on display as part of the exhibition Geometry which contains works of Icelandic artists who were in the centre of modernism and avant-garde art in Paris during the 1950s. Gerður travelled from Florence to Paris in 1949 and studied at Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Evolving her practice from cubist influences into more delicate geometrical iron sculptures which could be hung from the ceiling and spun into its own movement. A little like the small ornaments we hang on our Christmas trees in the month of December.
Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir, After the hardship comes prosperity, 2021. Aluminum, polypainting and spray.
Dimensions: 130x100cm. Courtesy of the Artist.
Now the days have gotten very short in Iceland and most people miss the daylight all together with being already busy preparing for the upcoming holiday season. However, there is no need to despair as Jóna Hlíf’s @jonahlifhalldorsdottir work reminds its audiences that After the Hardship comes Prosperity. The textwork was presented in the exhibition Winter Calm in Hof Cultural and Conference Centre in Akureyri, 2021. The exhibition consisted of eight textual works.
As Jóna Hlíf herself describes the piece:
“Our experience of changes in weather and the winter isn’t limited to the outdoors. We mostly experience it in our head, through words. This thought creates a calm of sorts alongside the heaving frost. From there, the memory of prosperity is only a stone’s throw away; that it will return once the hardship passes.”
Erró, Foodscape, orig. 1964 print 1974. From the collection of the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Offset print. Dimensions: 64 x 91 cm
For some celebrations and holidays revolve around one thing the food and delicatessen to be prepared, served, and enjoyed with their loved ones. Erró’s collage Foodscape from 1964 captures the culinary abundance of the holiday season. A mixed salad, fruit salad, cheese board and plate of petits fours fill the painting with overloaded opulence but also reminds us of the darker side of any global holiday. This collage reflects the unbridled growth of consumption in Western societies.
Courtesy of the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Lukas Kühne, Tvísöngur, 2012. Cement sculpture, dimensions variable ca. 30 squaremeters.
Courtesy of the artist. Photo accreditation: Gunnar Gunnarsson
Tvisöngur is open to everyone. It is embedded in the mountainside above the town, in a quiet area with a breathtaking view of the fjord. It offers a acoustic sensation that can be explored by its visitors. The site’s solitude and tranquility offer a perfect setting for singing or music playing, alone, in harmony, for one’s own pleasure or for an audience. The sculpture is a visualisation of the five-tone harmony tradition. The round form is chosen for its acoustic properties and visual function in the landscape. It results in a unique combination affecting visual and auditory senses. The Icelandic Tvisöngur becomes a sculpture of singing concrete and is kindred to the beautiful sacred structures that host so many lovely choirs during the advent season.
Tvisöngur was realized in cooperation with Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, East Iceland.
Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir, We have to believe, 2022. Paper, dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the artist. Photo accreditation: Vigfús Birgisson
The swan motif is ancient and is loaded with a plethora of cultural references, from Greek mythology, Children’s novels to pagan as well as modern religions. It can be a symbol for undying love and devotion, but also solitude and death in some contexts. The artwork of the day is from Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir’s solo exhibition De rien, which was on display this year at Kling & Bang. We have to believe is a piece which consists of paper and a found object, a paper swan, which the artist bought in a market in St. Petersburg in 2014.
“A silver papered swan floats in space, gliding on a stack of A4 office paper. Originally a Soviet Christmas decoration, the swan has travelled through time and place, landing here. Meaning has been lost, gained and transformed, leaving us like this.”
Cowards Can’t Wait for the Apocalypse was published alongside the exhibition, a beautiful and thought-provoking collection of philosophical texts and photos of artworks. You can still find the publication available in Kling & Bang, Tunglið publishing and some bookstores around Iceland.
Arnar Ásgeirsson, Arrow, 2021. Bronze street sign, dimensions variable. From the collection of the Reykjavik Art Museum
Courtesy of the Artist.
If you are spending the holidays in Reykjavík, Iceland you might find today’s artwork on a winter stroll through the old down town neighbourhood. Perhaps on the way from a holiday celebration or a last minute present run. Arrow, is located in an area of downtown which has been nicknamed Goðahverfi. It’s a modern neighborhood with street names referencing Old Norse mythology and traditions. The artist himself drew inspiration for the work, Arrow, from the Old Norse saga about Baldur who is known primarily for the story of his death, which is seen as the first in a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the destruction of world. Baldur was murdered by Loki with an arrow made from mistletoe, ironically a plant which is now a days linked to a more cheerful, modern holiday tradition. Arnar himself says about the piece that:
“The arrow co-exists between two worlds, the mythical and the urban, the forgotten and the current. It gives tourists directions but is at the same time a lethal weapon and a reminder of a devious plan.”
For further information about this public art piece download the app called Reykjavík Art Map made by the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Arna Óttarsdóttir, Yellow Pond, 2022. Cotton, wool, linen, blended yarn. 160 x 120 cm
Image Courtesy of i8 Gallery
Today’s artwork, Yellow pond, is a textile by artist Arna Óttarsdóttir. Due to the cold and harsh weather during the advent season there is a strong tradition for sewing, weaving and knitting in Icelandic culture. However, Arna weaves her work by hand on a loom in her Reykjavík studio, exploring the physical properties of material further in her artistic practice.
As is consistent throughout her practice, the artist uses her own notebooks, which are filled with thoughts and drawings, as source material for her works. By incorporating sketches and less formal visual elements into the weavings, Óttarsdóttir infuses her work with a spirited, personal energy that permeates the exhibition. In the work presented here, those of us residing in Reykjavik, can relate to the darkness and sparseness captured in the work which reminds us of Icelandic, urban winter landscapes when no snow hasn’t fallen yet.
Nermine El Ansari, Bjarnarfjörður 3, 2021. Mixed water colour, pencil and pen on paper. 14.8cmx21cm.
Courtesy of the artist.
Today we present to you a work by Nermine El Ansari who is a French-born Egyptian visual artist based in Iceland. Over the past decade, she has focused on social geography and explored the binaries provoked by urban and natural environment-borders, territories, and cartography-both real and imagined. She has also been interested in creating a narration of collective memory triggered by the representation of personal and random images. The artist herself says about the work Bjarnarfjörður:
“Drawing is a constant practice that allows me to document places of passage. Here we are in the Westfjords of Iceland, in Strandir, near a large swimming pool with a continuous flow of hot spring water. The swimming pool was built in the 1940s by farmers.”
Nermine’s work has been presented in various international exhibitions; most recently in Mucem, the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean in Marseille, France, in Hafnarborg Museum, and at Lunga Art Festival in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. She works with different mediums such as installation, video, drawing and photography.
Einar Falur, Daily Weather Reports from 1. December to 7. December, 2022. Photography.
Courtesy of the artist.
The 9th of December is dedicated to artist Einar Falur and his on-going series of weather reports which compare today’s climate and temperatures with older weather records made in the year 1852 in Stykkishólmur, Iceland. Here we have a special edition of weather reports made for our Advent Art Calendar, from the 1st till the 7th of December made in Reykjavík. Make note of the changing degrees in Celsius from day to day and between past and present. He records the weather in a photograph at noon every day, along with the official record, and “discussion” with weather records made at the site 170 years ago.
Follow the project on @dailyweatherreports for weekly weather documentation, interviews, and tales about the landscape.
Einar has been making these weather reports since early June as a part of the one-year project World Weather Network, a worldwide network of artists, writers and communities reporting on our climate. Icelandic Art Center is a partner and nominated Einar Falur Ingólfsson to be the Icelandic weather reporter in the network with his year-long visual diary in dialogue with the weather and meteorological records of Árni Thorlacius from the year 1852. The WWN is formed in response to the climate emergency, the World Weather Network is a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts agencies around the world and an invitation to look, listen, learn, and act.
Visit @worldweathernetwork / www.worldweathernetwork.org to find out more about the full global project.
Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson, Astro Lillies, 2020. Acrylic, latex paint, wood and steel. 600 x 350 cm. Made for the exhibition Autumn Bulbs II, Public Art Exhibition of the Reykjavík Art Museum. From the collection of the Reykjavik Art Museum. Courtesy of the artist.
The holidays are all about spending quality time with your family and friends. Exchanging gifts to let your loved ones know how much you appreciate them and all they do for you. Today’s artwork is a token of appreciation and dedicated to family. Astro Lillies is a mural that was made for the artist’s, @styrmirorn, daughter, before she was born. Whilst making the work, Styrmir was wondering what star sign his daughter would be. Styrmir’s notions on astrology and constellations are poetic, as he says:
“For ages constellations have been important symbols to tell stories about each other. Each and every one of us is born under one constellation. Your zodiac is the birthday present the stars gave you. It carries your qualities and character. But we also possess the other zodiacs within our body, at different magnitudes. The body travels from one constellation to another. The distance is very long but while there are stars in the sky you’ll get by.”
People can literally “travel” between constellations when engaging with the artwork, as it is a functional climbing wall. If you would like to give it a try, you can find the mural next to the Marshall house in the Reykjavik Harbour area.
Renāte Feizaka and Klāvs Liepiņš, Potato People, 2021. Mixed media, video and installation. Dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the artists. Installation Shot Vigfús Birgisson.
Tonight is the night in which the first jólasveinn, or yule lad, comes to town. Children that haven’t been behaving well would historically get a potato as a gift from the yule lad who put small gifts in the shoes of children who’ve place them in their bedroom windows. Renāte Feizaka and Klāvs Liepiņš, are an artist duo that both live and work in Iceland. They had an exhibition dedicated to potatoes, so to say, however it had nothing to do with the yule lads or bad behaviour! In their work the potato is the opposite, an emblem for hard work and community.
It on the other hand, is a symbol for their shared post-soviet heritage and immigrant histories. The potato harvest in post-Soviet countries has always been and still is a symbol of the relationship between the individual and Nature. The harvest has a societal value, marks a place, a moment of gathering and a sense of community through hard physical work. The understanding of hard work and its value is an experience that has been passed through generations. Politics, religion and food are the three major stories that an immigrant brings with them. We are carrying with us, and sharing the idea of the potato field which acts as a platform where politics, religion and food merge to represent our personal history, national identity, cycle of life and death and sense of home.
Their work Potato people was exhibited in the show, As you are now so once was I / As I am now so will you be, at the Living Art Museum in 2021, where you found Renate & Klavs collaborative works and Raimonda Sereikaitė-Kiziria. The exhibitions curator was Katerina Spathi, she wrote about Potato People:
“The artist duo explore characteristics that construct our personal identities through cultural references – in a sentimental, yet absurd manner. The human body – their bodies – become vessels of idealised illusions, inevitably bound to be shattered when confronted with the reality of disillusion. We are dust and void/And we continue to be/Anything/Always”
Elísabet Brynhildardóttir, At the Twelfth Hour (In memory of the Jesus Stone), 2020. Cement sculpture, 8m long.
Courtesy of the artist. Photograph with figure: Pétur Thomsen.
At the Twelfth Hour (In memory of the Jesus Stone) is an outdoor piece extending eight meters into Gorvík bay in Reykjavík and worked in unison with the rhythm of the tides. The piece is activated once the tide reaches precisely 3.34 meters, allowing visitors only a brief moment to walk out on and experience the sensation of walking on water.
Elísabet´s piece At the Twelfth Hour (In memory of the Jesus Stone) was situated in Gorvik, Grafarvogur. It is loosely based on a childhood story about The Jesus Stone told by Elísabet’s father. At the age of 12 he and his friend would row out to a large stone situated in Kópavogur bay as the tide was rising. Once at the stone one of them would climb onto the rock as the other rowed back to shore. At a very specific moment when the tide rose to the top of the rock, the young boy standing on it would appear to walk on water, thus giving the stone its name: the Jesus Stone. He stood there for a few minutes before the tide rose even higher, with his hands spread out mimicking the saviour.
The piece was created specifically for the exhibition ACROSS THE GOLDEN BRIDGE (YFIR GULLINBRÚ) , the third part of the exhibition series THE WHEEL, initiated by Reykjavík Association of Sculptors in public spaces, where works of art wind along bike- and walking paths in the city.
Guðrún Bergsdóttir, Untitled, 2003. Mixed textiles and embroidery.
Courtesy of the artist. Photography Vigfús Birgisson.
Today’s artwork for our advent calendar is a colorful organic embroidery entanglement. The artist has been making these intricate hand sewn pieces since the year 2000. In her practice she has developed a unique style which lies on the boundaries between Icelandic handcraft and geometry and abstract school of art.
Guðrún has participated frequently in the Art without Borders festival in Iceland and has exhibited locally in various places over the years. In 2020 she had a big solo exhibition in the The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum located in the North of Iceland.
The work which we have dedicated the 13th of December to by Guðrún was displayed this year at Reykjavik Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir in an extensive group exhibition with Icelandic artists working with textile and craft in their practice.
Hugo Llanes and A.W. Strouse, Ideal Bakery (Pasteleria Ideal), 2019. RÝMD Project Space, Reykjavík, Iceland.
Courtesy of the artist. Photography Patrik Ontkovic.
Ideal Bakery an edible exhibition by Mexican Artist Hugo Llanes and writer A.W. Strouse, had cakes and pastries as symbols of conviviality to foster cross-cultural relationships.
This site-specific project reinterpreted the history of the RÝMD Gallery space, which formerly housed Breiðholtsbakarí and linked up with a museum-cake shop called Pastelería Ideal, located in the heart of Mexico City. The installation intervened the RÝMD Gallery space, replicating some aspects of Pastelería Ideal—one of the oldest bakeries in Mexico City and the first to pioneer modern, industrial baking techniques in Mexico—and memories of Breiðholtsbakarí. Linking the multicultural, planned neighborhood of Breiðholt with Mexico through a pop-up Mexican Bakery and the archaic—but modernized—symbolism of bread, the exhibition presented a series of videos, photographs, sound art, as well as an edible installation, to mash up these realities, creating a third, “ideal” space, offering a mixed reality experience.
Hugo’s work involves the study of social-political cracks and aesthetics that erupts from them. He looks at social circumstances, such as migration food, the abuse of power, and the impact of postcolonialism on Latin America’s new identities.
Guðný Rósa Ingimarsdóttir, untitled-leftovers 2013. Paper, seam stitches, pencil on divers paper, 29,7cm x 21 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.
As a blanket of snow is draped over our surroundings, it creates an otherworldly landscape and brings with it a sense of stillness and minimalist beauty. Guðný Rósa’s intricate work captures this longing for treading carefully in freshly fallen snow which seems so fragile when our footsteps dig into it for the first time
For the occasion of the Advent Art Calendar the artist wrote for us about the work untitled-leftovers:
Several negative spaces sewn together.
Holding by the thread they are carriers of touch and transparent stories.
What has been removed is to be found on another surface – also united.
Each stitch bares a possible panic.
Be gentle – when excited.
This artwork was also a part of an extensive exhibition of Guðný Rósa’s selected works from her career at Reykjavik Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir. The retrospective covered Ingimarsdóttir’s career of more than two decades. The title of the exhibition, opus – oups, is telling for Guðný Rósa’s art, her environment and neverending amazement over the beauty and the artistic aspects of everyday things. “Opus” means work (of art) and “oups” is the French for “oops”, but Guðný Rósa lives and works in Belgium, in a French-speaking environment. The title indicates a pause, the awe that we feel when small things, insignificant in themselves, become art – but Guðný Rósa’s work is often created from random, found material, even materials that have served as artwork in a different context. The title is also mischievous, as it could be considered an anagram.
Guðlaug Mía Eyþórsdóttir, Hanna Dís Whitehead and Steinunn Önnudóttir. Í öðru húsi (e. In another house), 19. February – 20. March 2022, Ásmundarsalur, Reykjavík.
Courtesy of the artists.
At the heart of each holiday is home. Í öðru húsi (e. In another house), an exhibition which took place in Ásmundarsalur, Reyjavík this year had three creatives working on the concept of home and places where we live. Guðlaug Mía Eyþórsdóttir, Steinunn Önnudóttir and Hanna Dís Whitehead have all worked with design and art in their practices and this exhibition aimed at catering to both fields. The exhibition structure was a place for living, however, also deconstructed the concept of home and explored the limits and contents of residences. Thus, making up new spaces within the concept of home. The exhibition juxtaposed familiar settings with new textures, unknown scales and fresh color blocking, thus making alien landscapes out of intimate collective memories.
Today, the exhibiting artists have selected a few pieces to highlight for the Art Advent Calendar.
Guðlaug Mía Eyþórsdóttir – Tehetta. Fabric, filling, Hanna Dís Whitehead – tablecloth, cotton
Hanna Dís Whitehead – Extruded shoes, ceramic, fleece carpet
Steinunn Önnudóttir, Sólarlampi – salix, ink, silkcable, bulb(stand).
Steina, Of the North, 2001. Video installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of BERG Contemporary and The National Gallery of Iceland.
Now christmas day is drawing near and people might have decorated their trees with baubles and other christmas ornaments already. Today’s art work consists of spheres and has the same three dimensional qualities that christmas baubles have, some of which contain micro cosmos of their own. It is Steina’s video installation Of the North, where she explores the sphere’s potential for producing complex optical environments. Of the North is a milestone piece in the artist’s oeuvre as it was the start to a new phase having abandoned rectangular projection in favour of circular images and screens. Of the North, is created from Steina’s archive of video recordings, mostly of Icelandic nature – either the surface of the earth, or microscopic views: microbes, as well as crashing waves and melting ice, landslips and an array of natural phenomena relating to geological formation and destruction of our planet
Steina Vasulka and her husband Woody got to know avant-garde artists working in the new media when they were living in New York in the 1960s. Then the possibility of recording sound and video in real time opened up new dimensions in the world of visual arts. That was a time of rapid technological advances in electronic culture, no less than in space science. Steina (Steinunn Bjarnadóttir Briem) and Woody Vasulka were pioneers who collaborated on a range of research regarding video art and the harnessing of electronic (and later digital) pulses. Their colloquy with technology became most interesting and rewarding, benefiting from Steina’s background in music and Woody’s technical expertise.
Magnús Sigurðarson, IN COD-liver WE TRUST inc. I, II and III, 2022. Movable sculptures. Dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the artist.
The artwork IN COD-liver WE TRUST inc. I, II and III by Magnús Sigurðarsson, is now on view at the exhibition Down Иorth: North Atlantic Triennial at Hafnarhús.Catastrophic global warming and overfishing have decreased the quantity of cod in the North Atlantic Ocean. The sea, fishing, and cod are interwoven in the environmental awareness in the High North. Cod, an everyday utilitarian species, is placed on a pedestal within a mass-produced lamp.
The exhibition Down Иorth: North Atlantic Triennial opened recently at Hafnarhús. There, 30 artists in the Arctic region show new works that deal with the changes that are taking place in society, nature and the ecosystem in the Arctic at the beginning of the 21st century and are largely due to climate change.
Yoko Ono, Imagine Peace Tower, 2007. Public artwork located at Viðey, Iceland. Dimensions variable. From the collection of the Reykjavik Art Museum. Courtesy of the museum.
In Iceland we dedicate the winter holiday to light and peace that is why it was an obvious choice to have Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace tower included in the Advent Art Calendar. The imagine peace tower is a work of art conceived by the legendary artist, musician and peace advocate Yoko Ono as a beacon to world peace. The work is in the form of a wishing well, on which the words ‘Imagine Peace’ are inscribed in 24 world languages. Out of the well emerges a strong, tall tower of light that is composed of a number of individual lights that join together to form a single beam. The platform is faced with three types of native Icelandic stone in reddish ochre, light grey and bluish grey. The artist herself describes the aspirations for the piece:
“I hope the imagine peace tower will give light to the strong wishes of World Peace from all corners of the planet and give encouragement, inspiration and a sense of solidarity in a world now filled with fear and confusion. Let us come together to realize a peaceful world.”
On October 9, 2007 the work was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, on his 67th birthday. Every year the imagine peace tower is lit from October 9 (Lennon’s birthday) to December 8 (the day of his death). In addition the imagine peace tower is lit from the winter solstice to New Year’s Day and during the first week of spring.
Christoph Büchel, THE MOSQUE, 2015. Installation and participatory art. Curator Nína Magnúsdóttir. National contribution of Iceland at the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice. Courtesy of the curator and artist.
There is no requirement that one be a Christian to enjoy the season of Christmas, a.k.a. Xmas. It is always good to be reminded of the plethora of religions which have their own traditions during the winter season. In this vein, today’s art work is the Icelandic Pavilion in 2015. Iceland’s representative at La Biennale di Arte back then was Christoph Büchel and the exhibition was curated by Nína Magnúsdóttir.
At the Cannaregio church site of THE MOSQUE visitors found the physical attributes of Muslim worship – the qibla wall, the mihrab, the minbar, and the large prayer carpet oriented in direction of Mecca – juxtaposed with the existing Catholic architecture of the Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia in a visual analog for the layering of history, religion, and culture that gives rise to both progress and conflict. The premature closing of the pavilion in 2015 was a sad confirmation of these attitudes of conflicts and tension which can be discerned in today’s social reality.
Büchel anchored the concept for THE MOSQUE in both the historical context of Islamic culture’s profound influence on the City of Venice, and the socio-political implications of contemporary global migration. THE MOSQUE drew attention to the political institutionalization of segregation and prejudice, and to settlement policies that still lie at the heart of global ethnic and religious conflicts today.
In Büchel’s work, complexity is found in the elaborate detail developed for each project. A hallmark of the artist’s work is layers of social and political commentary. Büchel locates contradictions and social inequities in the ideological forces dominating society today and finds a way, through his art, to demystify and resist these forces by revealing them as constructed realities subject to change.
Margrét H. Blöndal. Ode to Join, 28. May – 2. October 2022, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík.
Courtesy of the artist.
Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest and darkest night of the year. In times of darkness it’s important to spend time with friends and family to lighten up the mood. Margrét H. Blöndal, had a big solo exhibition in the National Gallery of Iceland this year which bore the title Ode to Join. The Icelandic title was Liðamót which is a reference to the fact that where three or more joints come together, movement results. On the other hand, the English part of the title, Ode to Join, is an ode to connections, where each sculpture or drawing becomes one element of a polyphonic music composition. Margrét‘s works transcend words, and are imbued with beauty and a supernatural attraction – and indeed Margrét‘s installations have been likened to symphonic poems. In writing about Blöndal’s artistic practice and processes Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir wrote:
“ She positions herself in the empty exhibition space, breaths deeply, aims and shoots straight into invisible targets. And it is then, when they have all made contact that everything starts moving. Joint, let‘s join in joy. At the core, Margrét is a sculptor. She stands on the ground of art that has since antiquity tackled subjects like weight, movement, space, positions, how bodies are supported or stand. The importance of these factors is equal, be it in a mythical marble statue or a meticulous composition of perishable materials by Margrét. In her drawings Margrét also paves her own way to a classical subject. Oil and pigment are the main components of oil paints, the most archetypical material of artists, but Margrét uses them unmixed; oil and pigment on paper. She approaches painting from the backdoor, taking it by cautious surprise. ”
The two works highlighted in this post are :
Margrét H. Blöndal, Untitled, 2022. Wooden stick, watercolour, bias band, nail. 120 x 85 cm.
Margrét H. Blöndal, Untitled, 2022. Pigment and linseed oil on paper. 44.5 x 34.5 cm.
Freyja Eilíf, ZY, 2017. Candle action painting site specific to DZIALDOV, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist.
Darkness is typically one condition of Icelandic winter, candles were often given to children and all in the family household in the peak of winter and everyone would gather in the warmest room in the house and tell each other stories from the year passing. Candles are still a great way to make a cozy atmosphere in winter by filling the house with candles. Through the ages candles have been a symbol for hearth, of home, gathering, protection. In Freyja Eilíf’s practice she has made a series of candle action paintings which consist of multiple candles being lit on the floor of exhibition spaces. Today her piece ZY is highlighted.
This site specific work titled ZY by Freyja Eilíf was installed and activated in DZIALDOV art space in Berlin 2017. Two colored candles form a floor drawing resembling a zygote, a symbol of a new beginning which here is activated through deconstruction as the colors melt away into an abstract wax painting on the floor. The burning and melting of the candles, or the making of the painting itself took 2 hours, fitting into the time of the exhibition opening and the floor painting remains for the remainder of the exhibition.
ZY was a part of a collective exhibition titled “It’s gonna hurt II” – a second part, as the first It’s gonna hurt exhibition was opened in Two Queens Gallery in Leicester, U.K. The artists participating in the exhibition dealt with subjects of emotions and intense intervals in their lives.
Guðmundur frá Miðdal, Rjúpnapar í vetrarbúning (e. ptarmigan couple in their winter coats), 1939. Courtesy of the artist’s estate. Photo accreditation Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson. Photographs of artist, photographer unknown.
As our advent calendar is coming to an end, christmas is just around the corner. A national christmas dish is local rock ptarmigan. The rock ptarmigan is also a symbol of the winter holiday as it annually changes it’s feathers to camoflague better in the snow, becoming pure white during the season. Guðmundur frá Miðdal was a sculptor and throughout his career he made the same motif again and again, one being the ptarmigan. Today’s art work is his work Ptarmigan couple in their winter coats from the early half of the 20th century.
This piece was handpainted with foreign acrylic paint but with mixed Icelandic clay from two different places and bisque fired twice, made in a studio in downtown Reykjavík, called Listvinahúsið (e. Art Lover House).
Dieter Roth, Jewellery by Dieter Roth , 5. June – 22. January 2023, The National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík. Courtesy of the museum.
Today is the 24th of December, the last day of our Advent Calendar, and this Christmas Eve everyone will put on their best clothes and jewellery.
At the National Gallery of Iceland, an opportunity is offered for the first time to see Dieter Roth‘s unique jewellery in a coherent context. The exhibition bears witness to his experimentalism and unconventional methods, and sheds new light on the oeuvre of this outstandingly versatile artist.
Dieter Roth (1930—1998) was a pioneer who respected no boundaries: a thinker, trailblazer, poet, musician, filmmaker and visual artist. A less well-known aspect of his career is that he also made an impression with his creation of innovative jewellery, starting in Iceland in the late 1950s.
The first pieces of jewellery designed by Roth were made in collaboration with his wife, artist Sigríður Björnsdóttir, at the kitchen table in their home; but before long they were offered better facilities in the atelier of goldsmith Halldór Sigurðsson at Skólavörðustígur 2 in central Reykjavik. The two works highlighted today are:
Dieter Roth, Hat Rings, 1971. Golden ring, five interchangeable hats: iron, copper, brass, silver and gold, in brass case, dimensions variable. © Dieter Roth Estate. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
Dieter Roth, Hat Rings [part of a series], 1971. Silver and gold, dimensions variable. © Dieter Roth Estate. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth .