Tag Archives: Video art

THE HIGH SPIRITS OF COLLABORATING

— Interview with Jonatan Habib Engqvist (Sweden)

Photograph taken from OCA

Photograph taken from OCA

Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 had its kick off at Harpa (Reykjavík Concert and Conference Hall) on Friday night. Since 2004 the festival has been held annually in the capital city of Iceland, each year concentrating specifically on different fields of arts. Last year it was music — this year it’s visual arts. As we mentioned in the post (I)ndependent People, the large-scale exhibition is a collaborative visual arts project that involves many of Reykjavík’s various exhibition spaces during the festival and throughout the summer. Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet up with the curator of (I)ndependent people, Jonatan Habib Engqvist, in his time-intervals between answering e-mails and preparing last-minute actions. Over a long cup of coffee Jonatan told me all about the exhibition, his personal speculations about the project and his own role as a curator.

From the opening at Harpa Friday night

ONE BIG EXPERIMENT

The idea of (I)ndependent people came after a seminar called Alternative North that was hold in Reykjavík in 2011, concerning the economical crises and artists initiatives. The last two biennial formats at Reykjavík Arts Festival (curated by Jessica Morgan in 2005 & Ólafur Elíasson in 2008) were some “big deals” with big budgets. In between there were the financial crisis — and now it’s Jonatan’s turn to curate a biennale with artist-run initiatives.

“The brief I got from Reykajvík Arts Festival (Alternative power station of the North) was strong, even though it seemed like a quite job with compound co-operation between different institutions. But there was something exciting about it in terms of curating and I thought that maybe this complex co-operation might be an interesting focus for the whole biennale.”

Jonatan tells me genuinely how he never thought it would actually work out. He already had his job and gave a radical counter-proposal to the organizers of the festival.

“I thought that maybe this could be the concept itself — the collaboration — to make the biennale to an experiment and see if it holds. I received 100% support. When they said yes to the unbelievable there was no going back. And this whole support makes it a pretty radical exhibition in terms of an international biennale. The conglomerate of art galleries, artist-driven initiatives and artists groups (and their will to co-operate) is what will make this possible. You could say that the entire exhibition is like a one big experiment. Why? Cause it’s fun!”

A SINGLE SIMPLE RULE

“I have received so much support, incredibly much freedom — the organizers are satisfied as long as I keep the budget. Which is incredible and actually pretty cool.”

And from there — the collaboration — the idea starts growing. Jonatan tells me about the idea and how he really wants to take it as far as it goes. There are no solo artists, only groups and collaborations between artists — which is something opposite to the whole biennale logic.

“Normally biennales are based on superstars. And for me the curatorial process is exciting, even though I’ve had to say no to artists that are “big” and which work I like. But I have been very tough — holding hard to a one simple rule. NO solo artists. This is what the whole thing is based on. Everyone work on the same terms, there are no solo exhibitions and beside that there has to be a genuine exchange between partners, a negotiation and artwork that influences the theme.”

HOW MANY CURATORS TO SCREW A LIGHT BULB?

We discuss further the collaboration and I ask Jonatan about his role as a curator. He throws me an insider joke and asks me if I know how many curators I need to screw a light bulb?

“It depends on the budget! Everything will work out (or as they say in Iceland “þetta reddast”) as long as you keep budget. Do it yourself if you can’t afford it … So what I am trying to do is just to take some of the on-going happenings and gather them at one place. That’s what you do as a curator. To gather stuff and see what happens if you put this stuff in the same room. I see one thing there and another thing there — and wander what happens if I put them together. It’s not really that complicated.”

But I’m not sure I can buy that from him. The whole process seems complicated — a hard work. Having a dialogue, sharing visual perspectives, finding the artists right places in the context of the whole …

LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS

… the whole of which is the collaboration. That is — NO SOLOS. And for Jonatan, being the only curator, makes it a bit bissare.

“It is an exhibition of collaboration, but I’m the only curator — which might create some sort of hirarki. But there is a dialogue, support and a concept that holds and helps working it all out. Still I’m there at the top. But maybe that’s ok. I think that there must be someone in charge, so if there is a disaster they can blame it on me. I might be the one that builds the infrastructure and context but I absolutely see the process as collective. It’s impossible otherwise. But it’s an experiment — bit like a house of cards — and if one cards falls it’s important to have someone who can point out and remind, as a part of the experiment.”

WHERE IS THE ART?

An experiment which is really exciting!The whole concept seems to be a lot about structures, experiments and dialoges — but will there be any art?

“Of course that’s a question that’s popped up in my mind. Working with group of artists is incredibly fun and interesting yet also complicated. The concept of infrastructures, research and experiments is a big part of the exhibition — but at the same time we just want to express art. It’s a framework for the art which is exhibited but not a scale of what you like and what you see. It’s challenging to let the art stand on its own — to see if it holds — and bring to the point both the visual as well as its intuition.”

Photographs taken from Reykjavík Arts Festival facebook page

And that might be an experiment on its own. Be sure to experience you own (I)ndependent people, which was opened yesterday. And if you’re not in Reykjavík, follow the festival with us, we’ll be reporting as much as we can!

xox

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Filed under Art festival, Curator, Curator Talk, Konsthopp, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Stockholm, Uncategorized, Visual Art

(I)NDEPENDENT PEOPLE

Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012

We are counting down to Reykjavík Arts Festival grand opening …

The focus this year will be on contemporary visual art collaborates from the Nordic and Baltic countries, under the name (I)ndependent People. The project will involve many of Reykjavík’s exhibition spaces, museums, galleries and public space during the festival season and throughout the summer.

We got an opportunity to peek behind the scenes in Reykjavik´s Art Museum earlier this week.  Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir told us about her teamwork with Hlynur Hallson but they will present large-ranging and very exciting project on Saturday. Jóna Hlíf was kind enough to let us in and take a few shoot from the set up.

Photographs by Konsthopp

(I)ndependent People is an extensive project which brings together 29 artist-collectives with the collaboration of over 100 participants. It´s curated by the Swedish curator and theorist Jonatan Habib Engqvist but we will be publishing an interview with him on the opening day.

The festival announcement says:

(I)ndependent People asks if and how collaboration can operate in continual negotiation between contesting ideas and desires, yet allowing unplanned and transformative action.

Saturday 19th of May will be dedicated to openings of the exhibitions. Here is the schedule to our alternative art stroll and you are — of course — welcome to join us:

13.00 – Listasafn Íslands, Laufásvegur 2
14.00 – Myndhöggvaarfélagið, Nýlendugata 15 and i8 gallerí, Tryggvagata 16
15.00 – Listasafn Reykjavíkur, Hafnarhús, Tryggvagata 17
16.00 – Listasafn ASÍ, Freyjugata 41
17.00 – Kling & Bang gallerí, Hverfisgata 42
18.00 – Nýló and Artíma gallerí, Skúlagata 23

And don´t miss the international seminar in the Nordic House on Sunday 20th of May at 13.00.

Have a nice and sunny art weekend!

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IMAGINATION WITHOUT BORDERS

Closed: 21st of April – 6th of May 2012, Hafnarhúsið (Reykjavik)

Students from the departments of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, exhibited their graduate projects at Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús, earlier this month. The exhibition is usually impressive and this year was no exception.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Photographs by Konsthopp

Washing machine, washing the Icelandic flag ; super-sized swing ; cloud machine ; gramophone (Jónófón) in new costume — the imagination was prevailing at every turn at Hafnarhúsið and wholly without any borders.

Cheers everyone!

Date: 21st of April – 6th of April 2012

Artists: Graduation students from Fine Arts, Design and Architecture Department

Place: Hafnarhúsið, Tryggvagötu 27, Reykjavik

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Filed under Art, Design, Digital Art, Drawings, Fashion, Group exhibit, Installation, Konsthopp, Paintings, Photography, Political Art, Reykjavík, Uncategorized, Video Art, Visual Art, Young Art

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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Filed under Art, Artist books, Curator, Curator Talk, Konsthopp, Oslo, Uncategorized, Video Art, Visual Art

– 33

On-going:, 14th of April – 6th of May 2012, Kling & Bang (Reykjavik)


Demons, fiends, devils, sorcerers, monsters, werewolves …

Somehow — spring usually brings out my inner demons. And sometimes I´m lucky enough to meet some of them — unexpectedly — on my way.

Sigga Björg creates a mysterious world of all kinds of creatures in her latest exhibition: ” – 33 ” at Kling & Bang Gallery. Up to this point, the artist´s creatures have been anonymous but now you can meet and even buy the little devils.

Please, let me introduce; Max, Gaab, Dianna, Jacobb, Benedict and Najim.

“Max” (or I think this is Max)

“Gaab”

“Dianna”

“Jacobb”

“Benedict”

“Najim”

“Max” (or I think this is Max)

Photographs by Konsthopp

I´m going to end this short entry with a text from the exhibition catalog under the heading Looking the Devil in the Eye by Goddur:

“Demons, fiends and devils visit our dreams and visions. They appear on everyone’s inner hemisphere. So do angels, nymphs and little elves, flashing before us on the peripheries of our vision. However, very few are willing to acknowledge this and accept it, let alone draw it on paper and thereby transfer the vision into this world. Most people dismiss it as fantasies and hallucinations, ashamed even to mention that it happened. Nevertheless, the devils and demons symbolise certain things. They harbour our hidden impulses and feelings.”

Guðmundur  Oddur  Magnússon (Goddur)

Today is the last day to look the devil in the eye!

Date: 14th of April – 6th of May 2012

Artist: Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir

Place: Kling & Bang Gallery, Hverfisgata 42, Reykjavik

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NÚNINGUR / FRICTION

On-going: 14th of April – 13th of May 2012, Listasafn ASÍ (Reykjavik)

The visual art in the city — The city in the visual art

It can be hard to define what is sociopolitical art. But as far as I know  — all art in public sphere have political implication. And since our flavor of this month is sociopolitical art;  it is a must to mention the ongoing project; Núningur (e. Friction).

The project is build upon ideas by couple of artists and scholars and have been under way for a while. Together — the project deliberates about the many-sided connection between visual art and the urban community.

“Veghelgunarsvæði” by Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir

“Heyr mína bæn” by Katrína Mogensen

“Kleine Welten” by Christian Hasucha

Photographs are taken from the project´s Facebook site

Listasafn ASÍ is working as a kind of center for the project but the the work will be published all over Reyakjvík city this year. An ambitious exhibition catalogue have been released and many open symposium are scheduled in relation to the show. So stay tuned!

Date: 14th of April – 13th of May 2012

Artists: Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Berglind Jóna Hlynsdóttir, Brynjar Helgason, Christian Hasucha, Elin Wikström, Gunnar J. Árnason, Hjálmar Sveinsson, Hlynur Hallsson, Indriði Arnar Ingólfsson, Ingirafn Steinarsson, Ívar Glói Gunnarsson, Karl Torsten Stallborn, Katrín Eyjólfsdóttir, Katrína Mogensen, Margrét H. Blöndal, Nikulás Stefán Nikulásson, Nína Óskarsdóttir, Páll Haukur Björnsson, Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir, Ragna Sigurðardóttir, Stefán Óli Baldursson, Una Ösp Steingrímsdóttir, Unnar Örn J. Auðarson, Þorvaldur Þorsteinsson, Þröstur Valgarðsson, and Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir

Curators: Einar Garibaldi Eiríksson, Kristinn E. Hrafnsson and Ólafur Gíslason

Place: Listasafn ASÍ,  Freyjugötu 41, Reykjavík

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Filed under Art, Group exhibit, Konsthopp, Lecture, Multimedia, Performance, Photography, Political Art, Reykjavík, Sociopolitical art, Uncategorized, Video Art

“CURATOR WILL ALWAYS PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE”

— Interview with Alexander Jean Edvard le Sage de Fontenay (Iceland)

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

During my last couple of years in highschool (Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð) I attended numerous of art history classes and art classes. I had an especially inspirational art teacher that year, Louise Hazell A Harris, and I believe I am lucky that she has taught me. The first art show were I was directly involved in the planning, was held on my graduating year. It was an exhibition of her student’s works from one of her classes, which I went to as well. At her request, I helped the teacher promote it in my school, gather art pieces and I even made a flyer.

For me, the ball actually only started rolling for me quite recently. After I began studying Art History at The University of Iceland I got involved in a number of things. I started writing for the school paper (Stúdentablaðið), helped plan events for students studying art history and last but not least, opened a gallery with a few of my fellow students, called Artíma gallery. The reason we went into doing this was in our opinion a lack of practical courses which are available for art history students. This way we get to exercise our curatorial skills.

Our first exhibition opened in October last year (2011). I have been involved in two shows so far. The first one being a group exhibition of works by 14 artists from The Iceland Academy Of Arts. The second exhibition was called S/H/91-93 and was also a group exhibition of ten black & white works by ten artists who all study primary art education.

What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?

I enjoy making art myself. I guess the artistic field of my curatorial practice is having a say in what art pieces are ultimately selected by the artists, arranging the pieces to ensure that the right mood is achieved in the exhibition space and also helping the artist find the best suitable way for his works to be presented.

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

Of course. Each medium has a mind of it’s own. The best exhibitions in my opinion, are those that include works of different mediums. And where the art pieces are arranged according to the nature of each exhibition space. In S/H/91-93 I had a few installations and a number of wall based works. I nurtured the artists needs while also filling the space accordingly, to create diversity. I tried to create a contrast with the wall-based art and used the installations in between to maintain balance.

From S/H/91-93. #1. “Án titils” by Magnús Ingvar Ágústsson #2. “Út fyrir rammann” by Krista Alexandersdóttir #3. “Undir smásjá” by Sólveig Eir Steward #4. “Eðlislega óeðlislægt” by Kristín Þorláksdóttir

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

I think a curator should be personable and friendly. It is important for him to have a good relationship with the artist (or artists). He should be able to keep cool at all times. He should do little things like bring a pizza when those finishing touches are being added the night before opening a show.  While he should be friendly he should have leader skills and determination. A lot of things may be riding on a show. But regardless if the show is a success or not, the artist (or artists) should have confidence in the curator.

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?

Internet art has been around since the mid 1990s. Since then it has evolved and so has, obviously, all technology. There was a “revolution” in digital video, making it easier for more artists to work with video. So that’s a definite: Yes.

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

Yes. I think the curator will always play an important role in the art world. Websites such as Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr, Deviant art, Tumblr to name a few, have made it a lot easier for artists to promote themselves. It has also helped a lot of people find what they’re looking for and to discover new things. This does not make a curator less needed. I believe that just like people won’t stop talking to their friends in real life (offline) they won’t stop going to galleries and museums. Because seeing a work of art online is never the same thing as seeing it face-to-face as a part of an exhibition. Period.

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

In April I will be curating an art show in Artíma gallery. It’s going to be the collected works of a couple of vivacious girls. They have shown a lot of potential. One of them is studying fine arts at The Iceland Academy of Arts and the other is in Reykjavik School of Visual Art. It is going to be collaborative work and some independent work from both of them. Video art, a few sculptures and I’m pretty sure there will be some wall-based art as well. I’m excited about that. In June there will hopefully be a big group exhibition to welcome the summer. There has been a discussion of collaborating with another student gallery, run by the fine arts department at The Iceland Academy of Arts. I would like to be part of that.

My wish is that future art galleries that are in similar scale as Artíma won’t have a hard time gathering funding. Unfortunately, today it is quite a task for galleries (even bigger ones than Artíma) to do this. Me and many of my fellow students are in agreement that for art to flourish “the little guys” have to be given some air to breathe.

Curators should be able to work completely hand-in-hand with artists. This is THEIR world. Artists are not supposed to be scared of consulting or collaborating with artist and vice versa.

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

Art history as we know it began in the 19th century. The University Of Iceland began offering art history courses less than a decade ago. In just that time a lot has happened. Curators have gotten more attention in Iceland. I believe things will only get better. In times of lessened funds towards the strengthening of artistic practice, I think interest in art and art history will thrive. As long as people keep working hard for what they believe in and others keep showing their support. Lengi lifi listfræðin! (e. long live art history).

From S/H/91-93. #1. “Triptych” by Valdemar Árni Guðmundsson #2. “Femme Individuelle” by Dýrfinna Benita Garðarsdóttir #3. “Lord Donald is a Pale Horse” by Eysteinn Þórðarson #4. “Undir smásjá” by Sólveig Eir Steward

Photographs by Fritz Hendrik Berndsen IV

Alexander Jean Edvard le Sage de Fontenay (1991) is an art history student at University of Iceland. Despite young age, Alexander is already taking his first steps as a curator. He is a member of Artíma gallerí, a curator run gallery in Reykajvik, managed by students of The University of Iceland. Alexander has been involved in two exhibition in the gallery so far, but Konsthopp first met him at the “S/H/91-93” where he curated ten black & white works by equally many artists. He will next be curating an exhibition at the gallery in April. We are already looking forward to keep an eye on this fireball in the future.

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Filed under Curator, Curator Talk, Digital Art, Drawings, Group exhibit, Installation, Konsthopp, Multimedia, Uncategorized, Video Art, Young Art

THE DEMAND IS HIGHER THAN EVER

Curator talk: Marín Björt Valtýsdóttir (Iceland)

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

My first experience with curating was back in high school, setting up our graduation art exhibition. We were many and had very different backgrounds, so it was quite a task putting up the show. However, we did work and the outcome was better than we had hoped fore! As for further curating for my behalf, there haven’t been many opportunities. Curating is not a part of our program in the arts department of University of Iceland, the classes that teach the subject are small classes and fill up quickly so it is difficult to get in them, so going abroad is the only option to become a professional curator. But since we do know what curating is and we are curious about it a student gallery was opened fall of 2011. The gallery, which is called Artíma Gallerí, is giving us opportunity to try out curating and finding other people that are interested in the subject of curating and running a gallery.

What is the artistic field of your curatorial practice?

Usually I deal with 2d artworks like paintings or drawings. It was interesting when we decided to include one of Hekla Björt Helgadóttir’s pieces, which consisted of a lamp, broken plates and a stone heart, in the 3rd show of Artíma Gallerí. Once we started planning, it turned out that the piece would work better as an installation using the afforded space in the gallery in a different way than we first envisioned.

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

In retrospect it didn’t seem to matter much to me in which form or medium the artworks were but of course sooner or later practical matters will need to be addressed. In an ideal situation, the curator takes away the burden from the artist, of matching the artworks to an audience in a meaningful way. In reality this often results in a very close collaboration between the curator and the artist, which can be slightly less glamorous. Hammering nails into the wall or holding the ladder while attaching support strings.

From Artíma #3, work by Hekla Björt Helgasóttir, curated by Marín Björt Valtýsdóttir. Photos/Konsthopp

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

Curating is a broad field of work, and every show is different. I think the artist makes the biggest difference in putting up an exhibition and how fluently it goes. When the collaboration between the artist and the curator is good, magic can happen.

A good curator sees the needs of the artist and the exhibition and does what it takes to combine it in to an interesting exhibition. Flexibility and diplomacy is important, as are social and communication skills since a big part of putting up an exhibition is working with other people and finding common grounds to work from. A curator is also a facilitator, concerning herself with practical matters.

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?

Digital media is very fascinating because it can be very vivid and alive. Due to my young age I cannot say much about the effects it has had on curating since digital media used as an art form is older than I am. What I can tell is that digital media and interactive works are becoming more and more popular in the museum world so the medium is marking its place in the ‘traditional’ art world.

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

I don’t see the Internet as having much effect on curating, as in making curating unnecessary. Museums and galleries are becoming more and more popular each year and new art fairs seem to be popping up all over the world, so the demand for a curator, if anything, is higher than ever. Youtube creates an abundance of information; years worth of video are uploaded daily on Youtube alone. My partner pointed out to me that curating is engaged in actively by the online community. People have created channels or blogs with little or no original content, consisting of other people’s artworks both collecting and connecting them, cross media.

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

Curating is a very interesting field of work, it offers you an exciting environment to work in, where you get to know artists and their work in a close and remarkable way. I hope to do more curating in the future since I find it an enjoyable experience. If I were to further my studies in curating, I would have to go abroad and at the moment I have no plans, I would be lying though to say that I haven’t looked into it.

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

Curating is a profession that seems to be on the rise. With more and more museums bursting up and art fairs existing in every country I think the field of curating is going to bloom in the coming years.

From Artíma #3, work by Hekla Björt Helgasóttir, curated by Marín Björt Valtýsdóttir. Photo/Konsthopp

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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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NO GLOBAL TOUR

Performances: 16th – 19th of January 2012 (Reykjavik)

For the last few years, the Spanish “controversial” artist, Santiago Sierra has moved a site and situation specific work from country to country. The project NO Global tour refers to a sculpture, shaped as the word “NO” spelled in an Arial typeface, weighed half a ton, and measured about 5.10 feet high by 13.12 feet long.

Sierra chose the word NO, a negation that could travel around the world and become the monumental leading character in a road movie. In February 2011 the NO, Global tour film was presented at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The NO sculpture outside the Parliament of Iceland

Photo taken from visir.is

The NO Global Tour has travelled to; Lucca, Berlin, Milan, Bernburg, Toronto, Hamilton, Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Rotterdam, Maastricht, Brussels, London, New York, Miami Beach, Livorno, Genoa, Monte-Carlo, Marseille, Montpellier, Lourdes, Madrid, Washington, Salamanca, Carrara, Nagoya (Japan) and Katowice (Poland).

Now, it´s possible to spot this globe trot sculpture in Reykjavik!

An exhibition by Santiago Sierra will be launched at Hafnarhúsið next Friday. The Spanish rebel chose the 20th of January to open his exhibition in Iceland, but on this particular day — three years ago — the largest demonstration in the nation history broke out, outside the parliament.

Date: 16th – 19th of January 2012

Artist: Santiago Sierra

Places: Performance held around Reykjavik in relation to Santiago Sierra’s exhibition at Hafnarhús.

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Filed under Art, Konsthopp, Performance, Political Art, Reykjavík, Sculptures, Solo exhibit, Uncategorized, Video Art, Visual Art