Your Compound View - Selection from the collection from 1970-2010
The summer exhibition at Hafnarhús presents a selection of contemporary art from the collections of the Reykjavík Art Museum. Many of Iceland‘s best-known artists working today are featured in the show, including e.g. Ólafur Elíasson, Ragnar Kjartansson, The Icelandic Love Corporation, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir and Hreinn Friðfinnsson.
The exhibition comprises a total of about fifty pieces from the period 1970–2010, representing three generations of artists. The origins of Icelandic contemporary art can be traced back to the rebellion of the “SÚM generation” (SÚM – Association of Young Artists) against the dominant position of abstract painters in Icelandic art in the early 1960s. That generation introduced innovative ideas into art training and established new connections abroad. That meant that the following generations of artists looked farther afield; and the fifty artists whose work is shown here have pursued postgraduate art studies in no fewer than ten different countries in Europe and North America. Those diverse influences are reflected in the great variety of the exhibition. Many different media are employed, and subjects are highly diverse. The show includes, for instance, site-specific installations, minimalist sculptures, concept art in a range of media, performance-related video art, and works based on research.
Subjects run the gamut from internal meditation on the nature of art to social critique and the deconstruction of received ideas about “the North” and Iceland’s cultural heritage. While Icelandic artists have brought many ideas back with them after their studies abroad, their ideas and approaches have continued to evolve in a new environment on their return to Iceland. The ferment that has taken place, and the discourse which has emerged over the past half-century, have made their mark on Icelandic art – but the diversity is a fact, which this exhibition seeks to bring out.
The Reykjavík Art Museum is Iceland’s largest art collection, comprising about 17,000 works, including a general collection of works by numerous Icelandic and foreign artists, in addition to collections of the works of three leading Icelandic artists: Erró (1932– ), Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885–1972) and Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893–1982). The collections have been acquired thanks to generous gifts from artists and individuals, as well as by purchase of works of art.