Category Archives: Artist books

THE DAYS OF THE CHILD PRODIGY ARE OVER

Performance: 25th and 27th of June 2012 at 20.00, Nýló (Reykjavik)

“He suffered from pre-natal depression, has found an outlet in poetry and visual art”

Betus is a child prodigy with outstanding artistic talents. He has been brought to Iceland by the Association of Former Child Prodigies to appear at a special event this June. The Association is honored to welcome Betus to the country. On the occasion of his arrival he will participate in an event in The Living Art Museum where guests are given the unique opportunity to get to know Betus and his work. Betus will not be on his own, joining him will be people of great importance and influence in his life, including his mother as well as his manager, a Native-American from the Southern States, known as the Indian. The mother of Betus and the Indian crossed paths in the early eighties and the three of them have been inseparable since Betus was conceived. Betus’ closest friend and soul mate; Beethoven, a former child prodigy in music, is also coming to Iceland for this occasion. He will be performing piano sonatas both nights.

The curator of the event is the world renowned art therapist, author and academic Dr. Sharon McStone, primarily known for her best sellers “DON’T LET YOUR CHILDS TALENT GO TO WASTE”, “TALENT IS MONEY & MONEY IS TIME” and “THE G-WORD – GENIUSES ARE PEOPLE TOO”. She has specialized in alternative treatment for child prodigies and hyper intelligent individuals to channel their unique gifts into creative paths.

Drawings by Rakel McMahon

The performance at the Living Art Museum will present the piece in its current state of being; it is a part of an extensive process where the dialogue between drawing and text gives birth to a performance and eventually a book published by ÚTÚR publishing.

You can join the event on Facebook here!

Date 25th and 27th of June 2012 at 20.00.

Artists: Anat Eisenberg, Bergþóra Snæbjörnsdóttir, Rakel McMahon, Saga Sigurðardóttir and Yair Vardi. Music and sound is by Eberg. Set and costume assistant is by Eva Signý Berger.

Place: Nýló (The Living Art Museum), Skúlagata 28, Reykjavik

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DAY TRIPPER

Vernissages: 19th of May 2012, Reykjavik Arts Festival

Photographs by Konsthopp

Date: 17th of May, throughout the summer 2012.

What: 1857, A kassen, Anonymous, AIM Europe, Box, Endemi, Goksøyr & Martens, IC98,  The Icelandic Love Corporation, Institut før Degeneret Kunst, Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir & Hlynur Hallsson, Kling & Bang, Learning Site & Jaime Stapleton, M.E.E.H., Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas and Group 4.333”, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson, No Gods No Parents (UKS), NÝLÓ & Archive of Artist Run Initiatives, Raflost & Steina, Sofia Hultén & Ivan Seal, Superflex, The Artist Formerly Known as Geist, The Awareness Muscle Team , The Leyline Project, The New Beauty Council with Elin Strand Ruin, Mariana Alves & Katarina Bonnevier, Útidúr and Wooloo.

Where: Litla kaffistofan. LÁ Art MuseumThe National Gallery of IcelandThe Nordic houseThe Icelandic Sculptural AssociationEndemii8, galleryReykjavik Art Museum – HafnarhúsASÍ Art MuseumKling & Bang, gallery, SÍM, Nýló and Artima gallery.

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CURATING IS AN INTUITIVE & MAGICAL PROCESS

— Interview with Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen, LOCUS (Norway)

When did you start curating? Tell us something about your educational background?

LOCUS: We met while studying curating at Telemark University College in 2006, and seeing as we both are artists, we discovered that we had a many common denominators in our views on curating as well. Thale is trained in photography/text from Rome and Oslo, and Tanja in drawing/painting from Bergen and New York. We decided to work together, and founded LOCUS art and curator group. The first thing we curated was a series of video art events in Oslo and Trondheim. Since then we have curated and collaborated on smaller and bigger art shows in Oslo, Voss, Nissedal and New York. We work as curators, artists, art consultants (for KORO/Public Art Norway) and writers. In 2009 LOCUS published the book “Kurator?” an anthology of interviews with, and texts by curators working in Norway.

What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?

LOCUS: The most important aspect of curating is threefold, 1) the theme 2) the artwork and 3) how it is conveyed/contextualized within the given space.

We normally have a clear vision and focus regarding the theme of the exhibitions. Often it has been inspired by political, scientific or spiritual events. Developing a theme, we work very intuitively, and in some respects almost scientifically. We do a lot of research on the topic; we attempt to explore and excavate the theme, and we do not have all the answers until the exhibition/project is over. For example, in our book project “Kurator?”, we investigated how curators work in Norway today, and we didn’t know from the outset what we were going to find. When we curate, we invite artists we believe will respond to, and create an interesting dialogue based on the given theme. We look at a lot of artists and follow their work, so when we invite somebody to participate in a project we trust them and their process of working.

How an artwork or the theme is conveyed is also an important part of our work. For instance, for the video art events we curated, we decided to make the screening of the videos a “one time only”-event, over the course of one evening. Our intention was that the audience should view the entire work in a focused setting, not see the work broken up in parts, which often happen when video is showed in a loop and you walk in on a work in progress.

As to the artistic field of curating, we will always bring with us our background as artists. When we work with art projects, whether the outcome is a curated show, our own exhibition, or a book, the process will always be colored by our background/experience.

Yonder” in Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Yonder” in Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Is there a difference in curating different field of arts, etc. paintings, videos, interactive works or a piece of net art?

LOCUS: Yes, and no! We started curating video art since the media is easy to transport, and we could easily make pop up video art exhibitions in borrowed spaces.

It requires much more preparation organizing a bigger exhibition space with large paintings and installations, and it can be more expensive to produce, but in essence the process is the same. We are a nomadic curator group, we do not have our own gallery space and we never know in advance if we will get public funding for a project, so we are used to finding creative solutions to different obstacles. Other elements in preparing a show – the planning, applying for funding, writing project outlines, press releases, shipping and installation – are not very different from show to show, everything needs to be done. After 6 years of collaboration we have experienced that being two does not just double our capacity, it quadruples it and often makes us more efficient than working solo. We discuss, plan and organize, and the project never suffers since one of us can always fill in and back up if the other is preoccupied. We trust each other, communicate easily and are very much in unison with the projects we work on.

What kind of qualities do you think a curator should have?

Thale: A curator needs to be open minded, flexible and good with editing, both when it comes to artworks and text!

Tanja: And be a good mediator and have a functional toolbox.

Blackening.” Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Blackening.” Galleri 69, Oslo (2008)

Do you think that new and digital media used in contemporary art has brought new aspects to arts and curating? Yes or no, explain why?

LOCUS: It has opened up a wider area in which to explore and experience art. Artists always question the status quo, and now digital media is just that. But it is important to create the best way to present an artwork, as everything surrounding the work has a context, now video has established the black box, painting the white cube etc. so it will be interesting to see how digital media art will best be conveyed. Experiencing artwork is really very private, it is you and the work, and so is our interaction with our computer. It is especially interesting with the new Google art project, which makes museums and art available to the public through the computer, but for a curator it is also a great tool for studying curatorial decisions.

In times of “You Tube” and the Internet, do you think a curator is still needed?

LOCUS: Yes, definitely. The curator is often the conveyor of meaning, the translator and the person who can help both audience and artists in forming a closer and better relationship with one another. The curator is also of great help to the artists; many artists want to focus solely on creating the work and don’t always wish to spend valuable time conveying their art to the audience.

What are your curatorial plans for the future? What are your personal wishes, hopes and perspectives in curating?

LOCUS: Right now we are working on a show presenting our own work at the project space at Tegneforbundet in Oslo (which opens Sept. 27, 2012) where we through drawing, photo and installation investigate what happens to the soul after death, before next life cycle. We are very conscious about the space, lighting, sound etc, and want to create a very specific mood in the room. When we create a show with our own art we can be freer or more immediate in how we alter the room. When we work with presenting other people’s art, we have to work with the artist to find out what they want to achieve, and how the essence in their artwork can be most adeptly expressed. Placing meaningful objects like art in a room is very hands-on and instinctual, and as curators we try to be true to the artworks.

It is easy to discuss curating in an academic way, but it is very much an intuitive process, and a magical process, and we hope that these aspects of curating will be explored further in the future.

Thale: I started a window box gallery in Oslo last year, within the Pushwagner gallery, where each month I curate smaller shows with emerging artists, and I will continue that project. When I curate shows or work as an art consultant, I aim at including 50% male and female artists, and I also wish to showcase younger artists. Of course, the most important thing for me is to curate interesting shows, which to me are shows that arouse something in its viewers, and give the audience a new perspective, whether this is on society, contemporary art or both.

Tanja: Through art projects and curatorial projects alike I explore something I don’t know, but which stirs my interest.

Now I am working on a Performance Laboratorium (co-curated with Gudrun Flatebø), which will be held at the cultural space Galleri 69 & Kafe MIR at Lufthavna in Oslo this fall. Initially I thought it would be interesting to create a performance lab because I did not know much about performance, I did not think I fully understood the history of performance and what performance is, it is a very mysterious art form as it is so hard to define.

Kurator?” A book by Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen / LOCUS (2009)

PHOTOGRAPHS BELONG TO LOCUS

What is the future of professional curating from your point of view?

LOCUS: In 2004 two curatorial study programs were established in Norway, and since then we have seen an escalating professionalization of the Norwegian curator. Before there where mostly artists or art historians who did this job. Last year the Norwegian Association of Curators was founded, which is an important step in professionalization, and we think the society and the art world in particular is increasingly starting to see the value of the curator. There is a great interest in contemporary art, but with conceptualism, postmodernism and all the other —isms of the last 40 years, the audience sometimes depends on someone to convey the art. Curators can have this and many other functions. There are so many ways of curating and so many venues of discussing curating, like Konsthopp, so we think the future of curating is very positive and exciting!

LOCUS is an art and curator group established in 2006 by Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen.Both educated as artists and curators we have exhibited in New York, Oslo, Trondheim, Reykjavik and Zurich. LOCUS have curated video-art events, exhibitions and are collaborators on various art projects in Norway and abroad.

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE YEAR

Vernissage: 3rd of March 2012, Gerðarsafn (Kópavogur)

Press photos should reflect the situation in every society at any given time. That’s why I’m always a bit excited when the “Press photo of the year award” in Iceland is announced but Kópavogur art museum (Gerðarsafn) annually houses the event.

According to the selected committee, these pictures stood out in certain categories last year.

Category: “Daily Life” / Eyþór Árnason

Category: “Magazine photo of the year” / Kristinn Magnússon

Category: “Portrait picture of the year” / Rakel Ósk Sigurðardóttir

Category: “Sport photo of the year” / Kristinn Magnússon

Photographs belong to the photographers

For society critics and other thinkers it can be curious to compare the emphasis and trends in press photography between nations. I went to the “Swedish press photo award” last year in Stockholm and now this year in Iceland. At first sight, these two closely related countries seems to have almost nothing in common when it comes to media’s photo coverage. The Swedish press photos mirrors multicultural society, while the geographical isolation of Iceland seems to affect the Icelanders approach to press photography — sometimes in a very positive way.

Anyhow, I have to admit that I’m quite impressed how many Icelandic photographers have gained reputation and respect internationally — especially since most photographers of this country have to travel abroad to get their education. Examples of those includes the young fashion photographers, Saga Sig and Silja Magg and of course — the world known (and self-taught) documentary photographer Rax.

Don´t miss this years “Photograph of the year” in Sweden. The exhibition will be opened the 31st of March in Galleri Kontrast, Stockholm.

Date: 3rd of March – 7th of April 2012

Photographers: Various

Place: Gerðarsafn, Hamraborg 4, Kópavogur

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EXCITING WEEKEND AHEAD

Friday — the 20th of January 2012

There is an exciting weekend ahead for art lovers and aesthetes in Reykjavik. Santiago Sierra initiate the program with a performance, The Black cone in Austurvöllur today at 13.00.

For those who hunger for more Sierra, there is an exhibition opening with his work and polemical documentaries in Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhúsið tonight at 20.00

No pope © Santiago Sierra, photograph courtesy of Estudio de Santiago Sierra 

Saturday — the 21st of January 2012

The unusual exhibition; Cyborg(s):Strange Creators and Creations will be launched in Kópavogur Art Museum, Gerðarsafn tomorrow at 15.00.

The curators of the show are Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir and Helgi Hjaltalín Eyjólfsson but the exhibition is based on the synonymous book by Úlfhildur which explores man´s fearful fascination with machines and technology. The exhibition will be opened by the Icelandic writer, Sjón.

The cover of the book; Sæborgin: Stefnumót líkama og tækni í ævintýri  og  veruleika. Photo taken from Spássían.is

At 17.00 same day, Gallery Kling og Bang will open their first exhibition of the year; Powerful picture (obsession-original) by Erling T. V. Klingenberg.

Sunday — the 22nd of January 2012

The exhibitionUnder Deconstruction by Libía Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson is now running in the National Gallery of Iceland. In relation to the show,  a lecture by the literary scholar; Hjálmar Sveinsson will be held on Sunday at 14.00.

Under Deconstruction was commissioned by the Icelandic Art Center for the Pavilion of Iceland at the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2011 and was curated by Ellen Blumenstein.

Your Country Doesn´t Exist – 2011. Photograph courtesy of Libía and Ólafur

Happy art weekend everyone!

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COOL AS ICE

Documentary photography: RAX (Iceland)

“On the ice, you see life in a totally different way. There’s a sense of serenity and simplicity.” – RAX

The photograph has undoubtedly affected our lifes. Exotic cultures across the universe are often learned and explored through the lens of the camera. Contemporary audiences insist photographs with every media coverage. Nowadays, the photograph is so significant in most storytelling that a story without it feels incomplete — a half-story.

Some of these images may be familiar to you. They don´t need any explanation but prepare yourself for cold because RAX work is cool as ice.

Photographs belong to RAX

For almost three decades, Ragnar Axelsson a.k.a. RAX has been traveling to small Inuit villages in Greenland’s most remote regions, documenting the hunting traditions and vanishing lifestyles of northern communities. His images have won him recognition as one of the most accomplished documentary photographer of our times. He has been honoured as Icelandic Photographer of the Year couple of times, and his work has appeared in the renowned; National Geographic, Le Figaro, Time magazineThe New York Times and Newsweek.

Miki Meek, a photojournalist at NY Times described RAX with these words:

He’s trekked through glacial storms, fallen through rifts and awakened on ice that’s drifted out to sea. But Ragnar Axelsson just keeps coming back. – Miki Meek, 7th of December 2009. You can read the article here!

On Christmas night I watched an excellent documentary; Last days of the Arctic but Mr. Axelsson published a book with the same title in 2010. The documentary follows the photographer on his life’s mission — to capture the human faces of the North.

Apart from being among the most celebrated photographers in the world, RAX is also a great storyteller. He mainly photographs in B&W — snowWhite

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DO NOT ENJOY ART

The day of none-art: 1st of November 2011 (Reykjavik)

THE FIFTEEN COMMANDMENTS

1. Do not go to museums, design museums or galleries that holds any art works.

2. Do not look at art works, including paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations — whether it is inside or outside.

3. Do not go to concerts.

4. Do not listen to music — either from CD´s, vinyl records, cassettes, digital music players or smart phones (ringtones included).

5. Do not play video games with graphic images.

6. Do not go to dance performances.

7. Do not read novels, poetry or any other text that might be considered literature.

8. Do not go to theaters.

9. Do not watch a film — neither in a cinema, nor in computer, television or at any other screen.

10. If any kind of artwork is displayed on television; f. ex. in the news or in some advertising — you should close your eyes or look away.

11. If you hear music on the television or in the radio — you should turn it down.

12. Do not look at buildings which are designed by architects.

13. Do not watch or walk in gardens which are designed by landscape architects.

14. Do not watch or wear clothing by fashion designers.

15. Do not do anything or enjoy anything that could be interpreted as art or have artistic value, including work of dancers, designers, actors, artists, writers and musicians.

This text is translated by Konsthopp from the Sím homepage (The association of Icelandic visual artists).

Could you live without art?

A society without art is bound to be truly poor.

Photograph by Konsthopp

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