Julekalender 05.12.12

5. december – Jón Proppé

Hvilke begivenheder og publikationer var de bedste i 2012? I Kunstkritikks julekalender opsummerer Kunstkritikks egne skribenter og inviterede gæster kunståret 2012. Den femte i rækken er kurator og kritiker Jón Proppé, som skriver for Kunstkritikk fra Reykjavík og som er en af forfatterne bag et nyt flerbindsværk om islandsk kunst.

2012 may well be remembered as a pivotal year for the visual arts in Iceland, at least regarding institutional framework and infrastructure. New laws intended to provide more public support for the art scene were passed, including the founding of a new art council and a fund to support art projects and initiatives.

Exhibitions

      Magnús Pálsson, Walking on Water, Kling & Band Gallery, Reykjavík. Any exhibition of new works by veteran artist Magnús Pálsson causes excitement, but this simple and subtle sculptural installation proved that he can still surprise and delight us. He placed human figures on the floor of the exhibition space so that they appeared to be half-submerged in the ground, giving the impression that visitors to the show were indeed walking on water. Pálsson will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Reykjavík Arts Festival next year, focusing on his performance works.
       
      Hrafnkell Sigurðsson, Port City, Hafnarborg, Hafnarfjordu. An exhibition of photographs, video and sculpture, using material from a shipyard in Reykjavík and highlighting Sigurðsson’s delicate approach, balancing the rough reality of the workplace with subtle aesthetic imagery.
       
      Sara Björnsdóttir, HA, Reykjavík Art Museum. This installation transforms the difficult exhibition space of the Reykjavík Art Museum by projecting video shot in the empty space onto its walls and columns. The effect is slightly disconcerting at first, but those who linger will find the experience strangely liberating.

 

Events

      Starting this year the Icelandic Academy of the Arts offers master’s courses in all fields, including the visual arts, and the University of Iceland has started an MA course in art theory. Up until now, both artists and theorists have gone abroad for postgraduate studies, which many have seen as a good situation, as it brings different influences and approaches to the Icelandic scene. The new courses, however, will undoubtedly promote research within the academy and allow more people to pursue higher degrees.
       
      The Reykjavík Arts Festival this year focused on the visual arts. Exhibitions and events, curated by Jonatan Habib Engqvist, highlighted artists’ collaborations and initiatives in the Nordic countries while artists, institutional representatives, and theoreticians discussed the future of the Nordic art scene. (Billedet: Kolbeinn Hugi, It Came from the Return to the Blue Lagoon. 5600 l Blue Lagoon-vand, 2 mænd, 13 kasser varme Slots Pilsner, maske. Foto: Sirra Sigrún Sigurðardóttir.)
       
      This autumn Hanna Styrmisdóttir took over as Artistic Director of the Reykjavík Arts Festival. With a background in curatorial work and a contributor to Kunstkritikk, Styrmisdóttir is the first person from the visual art scene to serve in this high-profile post since the festival was founded in 1970.

 

Publications

      Rúrí, Hatje Cantz, 2012. Edited by Christian Schoen with texts by him, Laufey Helgadóttir, Dorothea van der Koelen, Halldór Björn Runólfsson, and Gunnar J. Árnason. This massive volume from the respected German publishers Hatje Cantz is an exhaustive overview of Rúrí’s career, spanning four decades and including a catalogue raisonné. It adds to the growing library of excellent monographs on important living artists in Iceland.
       
      Hreinn Friðfinnsson, First House, Second House, Third House, Crymogea, 2012. Friðfinnson, one of the most important Icelandic artists of his generation, built an inside-out house in 1974: there was wallpaper on the outside and corrugated iron on the inside. Since then, he has revisited this theme twice, creating alternative versions that further explore the relationship between insides and outsides. The book tracks the development of these works and provides a unique insight into Friðfinnsson’s artistic practice.
       
      Auður A. Ólafssdóttir, Bók Listasafns Háskóla íslands, University of Iceland Press, 2012. This book, amply illustrated and with texts in Icelandic and English, is an overview of the art collection of the University of Iceland. Written by Ólafsdóttir, a lecturer in art theory and curator of the collection, it presents this important resource, which includes the most comprehensive collection of works by Þorvaldur Skúlason (1906-1984), a pivotal figure in twentieth century Icelandic art.

 

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