Exhibition Opening – Ásgerður Búadóttir: Lífsfletir og Jóhannes S. Kjarval: Að utan
Two exhibitions will be opened at Reykjavík Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir, on Saturday 22. Febrúary at 16h00. Facets of Life – works by Artist Ásgerður Búadóttir and From Abroad, works by Artist Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval. Curators are Aldís Arnardóttir and Edda Halldórsdóttir.
Ólöf Kristín Sigurðardóttir, Museum director, will address the opening guests.
Ásgerður Búadóttir (1920-2014) was a pioneer of woven art in Iceland, her work combines ancient craft techniques and the independent creation of modern art. Ásgerður mainly worked with Icelandic wool and during the 1970s her magnificent tapestries drew well-deserved attention for their original use of material, where wool and horsehair create a whole, with a rich materiality.
Ásgerður studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts and at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. Ásgerður was a self-taught weaver, apart from one short evening course. She was an active participant in the Icelandic and Nordic art scene from the start, her art education was very useful to execute artworks in a brand-new medium. The power of the drawing was always an important foundation in Ásgerður’s work, her whole work is characterised by rich materiality and restrained methods.
At an international art and crafts exhibition in Münich 1956, Ásgerður received the gold medal, marking the start of her splendid and influential career. The exhibition Facets of Life covers Ásgerður’s work from her entire career, from figurative sketches and smaller work during her study years, to larger abstracts which are among her key works.
The works in the exhibition From Abroad were all painted outside Iceland.
In spite of Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval´s (1885-1972) unswerving connection to the landscape in Iceland, he also travelled widely and painted abroad. He was very interested in getting to know key works in international cultural history first-hand and learning latest trends in contemporary art.
In 1911, a long-awaited dream came true when Kjarval went to London on his first trip abroad. He stayed in London for around three months and was greatly influenced by many things there. He went to museums, read a lot and became acquainted with all the latest trends in the big city.
From London, Kjarval travelled to Copenhagen, where he lived until 1922. He studied at The Technical Society’s School and The Royal Art Academy, thus receiving the professional art education he had long desired.
In Denmark, Kjarval painted many of his better-known works, such as Icelandic Artists at the Tree of Knowledge and Forest Palace, both of which belong to The National Gallery of Iceland’s collection, as well as many paintings of Danish vegetation, woods and streets.
In 1920, Kjarval was awarded a grant to travel to Rome. He set off with his wife Tove in the spring and travelled around Italy until autumn. Apart from Rome, he visited Florence, Tivoli, Amalfi and Ravello, among other places. He was very industrious in Italy and brought back to Copenhagen numerous artworks, largely water colours and brush drawings.
The work which Kjarval created in Italy and upon his return are clearly influenced by the trip, among them are Divina Comedia and Pantheon, as well as many images of Italian urban landscape and portraits.
Kjarval moved to Iceland in 1922 but in January 1928 he took another long-awaited trip, this time to France, where he spent six months. He had a studio in Paris and also stayed in Fontainebleau Forest outside the city. There, he painted a series of French woodland paintings. Altogether, he is said to have created fifteen paintings in France and brought fourteen of them to Iceland.