Jór! Horses in Icelandic Art
The horse has played a vital role in the lives of Icelanders from the first settlements onwards, sharing the hardships of the Icelandic people during the worst of times. The horse also benefited from the prosperity of the nation in the 20th century, eventually becoming the proud creature of the highlands and racetracks that we see today.
The exhibition is a visual documentation of the roles that the Icelandic horse has played in the life of the Icelandic nation from the late 19th century onwards, as reflected in paintings and sculptures by Icelandic artists. Thus the exhibition partly reflects the development of Icelandic art during period in question. The horse is part of the background of many a landscape during the early part of the 20th century. It takes on a symbolic role in the art of the thirties and forties, and later it becomes a recurring feature in conceptual and contemporary art.
Three themes underline and overlap in the exhibition: the horse as Loyal Servant, featuring realist and semi-realist depictions of the horse; An Embodiment of the Wind, where the horse is portrayed as an extension of natural forces; and finally, Winged Horses, which is a celebration of the horse in recent art.