A New Turn
This issue of LIST comes after what must be the busiest few months the contemporary art scene in Iceland has ever had. The Reykjavík Arts Festival this year is dedicated to the visual arts and has brought together more contemporary art than we have ever seen exhibited in the country at one time. Even though many of the shows will run through the summer, those not wanting to miss anything will have to budget their time carefully and prepare to travel, as the festival includes not only venues in the city but around Iceland. The festival has also brought us more international attention than we are used to—it is featured in Artforum’s survey of the summer’s 50 most notable exhibitions.
Just three weeks after the opening festivities of the Arts Festival came the opening of Gabríela Friðriksdótttir’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale, where she was sent to represent Iceland. Though confined to the tiny pavilion originally built as a temporary structure by Finland in the 1950s, Gabríela’s video installation attracted a lot of attention from the throng of art professionals and art lovers who converged on the city for the opening days.
There is no doubt that the Reykjavík art world is opening up to a wider international context, and these well-publicised events only confirm the need to support our artists in their work abroad as well as at home. There can be no question that their work has something to offer a wider audience, and this we can judge by the reception they are given when they exhibit abroad. It is also confirmed by the level of activity in Reykjavík and by the number of artists already pursuing international careers based on their work and exhibitions at home.
CIA.IS – Center for Icelandic Art has been founded to assist in bringing contemporary Icelandic art into a worldwide context. The center and its new director, Dr. Christian Schoen, have been greeted with enthusiasm by Icelandic artists, confirming the urgent need for more focused efforts to link Reykjavík up with the rest of the world. CIA.IS aims to provide a network where artists and art professionals from around the world can turn for introductions and assistance in exploring Iceland and its art.
The editorial team of LIST—CIA.IS’ online newsletter—has now been expanded to include philosopher and critic Jón Proppé who for the past fifteen years has written and lectured extensively on art and culture in Iceland, in addition to curating exhibitions and editing books.
LIST is published by CIA.IS – Center for Icelandic Art.
List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland’s museums and artists’ organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues – or you want to contact us for any other reason – please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.