A Dark but Lively Place

Icelandic Art News
A Bimonthly Web Magazine: December 2006

The photograph shows the Invasionistas burning money. Operating out of Kling & Bang Gallery, these New York-based artist staged several actions and performances during the Sequences festival.
The festival attracted a lot of attention in the capital and is set to be repeated next year and for years to come. In this isssue of List we interview Dr. Christian Schoen of CIA.IS and Nína Magnúsdóttir, festival coordinator, to learn more about it.
For even more on the Sequences festival, including pictures, go to www.sequences.is or see the coverage in the last issue of List.



Jón Proppé

A Dark but Lively Place

In a Reykjavík shrouded in winter darkness, the arts seem to play an even greater role than usual. Exhibitions, concerts, readings from new books and impromptu performances in galleries and cafés compete with the shopping malls in the weeks before Christmas, just when the consumer frenzy seems to be engulfing our small nation. Recent news of Icelanders abroad tends to paint the country as a place with money to burn as investors from our tiny island gobble up more of London’s high street, Copenhagen’s property market and Finnish airlines, but on the cultural front a more quiet expansion is taking place as, one by one, young Icelandic artists manage to attract attention in galleries and museum around the world.

An article in German daily Die Zeit from December 7 describes the Reykjavík art scene, calling the city a “place to envy”, a hot-house of art and action: “Art is everywhere in Reykjavík, there are always openings somewhere.” Indeed, there is plenty to see and foreign visitors to last October’s Sequences festival of time-based art in Reykjavík were not disappointed, though no doubt hard-pressed to cover everything with some 140 artists represented in performances, screenings and exhibitions. The festival coincided with the Airwaves festival of new music which has already established itself in recent years as a hot-spot of cool and this year featured more than 160 acts. Rolling Stone’s writer David Fricke was enthusiastic not only about the music but also wrote of the Aurora Borealis which lit up the sky as he ambled from one concert to the next. You had to be there!

Icelandic artists, however, are preparing for next year’s shows, not only in Iceland but, increasingly, abroad. In the news section of this issue we mention a few with many more to come. Most likely our readers will be able to see Icelandic art close to home this year. Preparations are also going ahead for Iceland’s participation in the Venice Biennale where we will be represented by Steingrímur Eyfjörð. We at List also have plans for Venice as we are going to take the opportunity to publish our first print issue for distribution there and elsewhere. Meanwhile we will continue to cover the activites of Icelandic artists here in our online journal with the next issue coming in early February as, hopefully, daylight begins to return our high latitude.

LIST Icelandic Art News. Page last updated 10 December 2006. Texts and images copyright © by the authors. For inquiries and contact information see about us.