Art

Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen – Denmark

Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen is a Danish artists who grew up in Sweden and became a man in New York. In the 90′s he worked as a photographer, artist, DJ and Host for club events in New York’s nightlife. After September 11th 2001, his life took a new direction and he started working on projects to create awareness about urgent global issues, through art. His current projects are CO2 Green Drive – a global performance project with focus on alternative energy and the climate. The other, a cultural and artistic exchange concept called The Triangle Project.

© Nanna Dís 2013

In the spring of 2014 he has plans to bring The Triangle Project to Reykjavik, Iceland. There he wants to launch “Intentional Art” as a new art form and initiate the establishment of the BF Bank. BF is of course short for Bobby Fischer and the plan is to collaborate with local artists to exchange experiences around the current state of Denmark and Iceland, with inspiration from Istanbul and New York.

This will be done by creating a board of directors that will co-create the framework for a new bank on Iceland. He is open to collaboration and can be contacted through Facebook: facebook.com/jacob.fuglsang.mikkelsen

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Photographs taken at Jacob´s studio in Copenhagen, Denmark, early in 2013.


Links:

Portal: jacobfuglsangmikkelsen.com
Site with work before 2004: jayfugmik.com
Climate, Alternative energy and performance: co2greendrive.com
Blog for above: co2-e-race.blogspot.com
Inspiration and creative outlet: mashup-culture.blogspot.com
Cultural and Art Exchange: triangleproject.blogspot.com

Photographs: Nanna Dís


Hallur Karl

On a beautiful summer afternoon we drove to Eyrarbakki for a short visit to painter/artist, Hallur Karl. We came to Litla-Háeyri, an old two-story house in which Hallur lives and works. He was welcoming and offered us coffee and chocolate biscuits, which we gladly accepted. Our visit was both enjoyable and educational; Hallur Karl is well read and didn’t hesitate to bring up many interesting subjects, whether it is his art, his life or various other thoughts.

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Why did you choose to live and work at Eyrarbakki? Many would think that the only way to be successful is to live in the capital and know people that have influence in the art world.

This is not the first time I have a studio here. This place somehow works for me. There is no distraction and I have peace here when I want it. After getting back into painting about a year ago I was working in a garage in my hometown. Eyrarbakki had been on my radar for a while and when I was told about this place, that it was vacant, I took it.

I’m not into Reykjavik, the capital, that much. I use it when I need to be more social and I go there for materials. It’s where the galleries are. To me it is a very distracting place and I wouldn’t be able to work there. Getting 10 hours of silence for painting would be impossible for me. I know how easily I get distracted from my work and tempted by social urges and life in general. It’s too easy to pull me out of my studio. I really like the city but it would overwhelm me and it would impact my productivity in a negative way but I admit there’s a noisy voice inside me telling me to try living there but right now, I’m happy where I am.

“I approach the idea of success in an old-school kind of fashion”

I approach the idea of success in an old-school kind of fashion. I focus on the quality of my work and on the concepts I am working on. I feel quite successful, personally, when it comes to creating what I have in mind. Thus I’m confident when it comes to my art. I don’t spend time on regret in my decisions within the older paintings, but I try to learn from them. The time I have here, outside of Reykjavik, allows me to make sure everything is the way I like it. I believe in foundation-building, growing into success, not getting it on a plate. I don’t want to be a one-hitter. I want to be a good, consistent, effective painter.

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Tell us about this old, charming and colourful house you live in.

The house is built in 1932 by very high standards. It’s almost vulgar how lavishly it is built for the time, in comparison to what was the standard here at the time. The blueprint is similar to what you would see in rich neighbourhoods in Reykjavik of that period. The house is grandiose. The concrete walls are unnecessarily thick, therefore needlessly expensive. The garden has a concrete wall around it, and ten large cartwheels used to decorate the road side. Those are gone now. Everything from the doors to the windows is beautifully crafted from good wood, the place feels almost baroque.

But it didn’t get the care it needed in the later years of last century and earthquakes have taken their toll on the concrete. It really needs a paint job. The windows are foggy from saltwater and the wood is quite rotten. So it has this abandoned castle feel to it. I am quite nostalgic here. It constantly reminds me of my good years in France, where I lived in some very old houses that had this ancient glory feel to them.

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You decided to go to France and study fine arts. How was that experience and do you think the French people approach art differently than we do?

I went to France by coincidence after dropping out of school. I had been doing various jobs, something I am glad I did, like carpentry, the roadwork’s, soil conservation in the highlands. A lot of that sticks with me now. I really like manual labour, I’m good at it. It really helps in certain aspects of making artwork. But anyway, I met some people that invited me to live cheaply in France for half a year and they helped me contact the local art school. The school was enthusiastic about receiving an exotic student and the whole thing went really well. I stuck to France for five years. I did three years in art school and I travelled a lot. I enjoyed life very much then. It is like a dream to me now. After receiving the diploma I moved back home and started painting professionally.

“everybody could suddenly go online. Nobody wanted to paint”

The French were very negative when it came to painting in those years. It’s different now, naturally, after Saatchi’s Triumph of Painting exhibitions, the Belgian movement with Tuymans and many other very strong (and expensive) movements of painters. But at the time we were being taught by teachers who were disappointed in painting and had a very restrictive attitude towards it. They claimed there to be rules by which one should approach the medium that seriously reduced the possibilities it offers. This meant that out of some two hundred students, less than ten of us were painting seriously. Many of the students were enthusiastic about the possibilities of new mediums like everything digital, video, mixed installations and so forth. They had Macintosh Classic computers when I arrived there in 2000. The next year they had state of the art computers (in colour!) and everybody could suddenly go online. Nobody wanted to paint.

The French have a stronger social sense than Icelanders. They are very aware of which social group they belong to, and a lot less apologetic about it than we are. It is almost ubiquitous in their art. This may be the reason why they have more problems with painting than some other countries in Europe – they often see it as a very bourgeois activity. The galleries, the money, the status symbols. It can interfere with their reading of painted art. So when the art schools are more or less filled with working class kids it is only natural that they frown upon those who would do art that is traditionally sold. Money was a big taboo subject when I was there. One fellow student comes to mind – he fled the prestigious art school of Sorbonne in Paris because his canvases were repeatedly slashed by other students that disagreed with his practice. He was sick of discovering them ruined when he came to his studio. This is how serious they were, and probably still are.

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You are and abstract painter but you also do landscape paintings.
Do you work from life, photographs or from imagination?

It is all about oil paint to me, whether it suits my needs to draw from photographs or to do more gestural work, for example. I work in series. I create simple systems that force me to make several works around the same method or subject matter. This means that once I have that, I don’t depend on inspiration at all. I don’t think there is such a thing in my list of requirements for creating art. I need time and materials. I need to think. Inspiration can even be a distraction from a better focus point. I feel inspired by stuff that has nothing to do with making paintings. Birds for instance inspire me. Music inspires me. But these things don’t inspire me to paint, necessarily, but rather to feel alive and well. Feeling well does make it easier to paint, contrary to popular belief. The same can be said about any work.

I think that recently, religion and lack thereof has been a factor in my work. I work less from landscape tradition than I used to. My recent work is more introspective, even therapeutic, sometimes. Landscape was very prevalent in my work for a long time but I don’t think I need that now. I’m disappointed and disgusted in the current treatment of land. I’ve tried to make that seen in my work without being kitsch and without telling stories. I think a lot of people neglect that aspect of my work and prefer to see them as objects of beautiful colour in which you can play the cloud game, spotting things, for amusement. I’m tired of the pareidolic approach to abstract art that seems to be so prevalent in people here. I’ll always paint from landscape in some fashion, though. It is beyond me not to, at least for now.

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I think the most common thread in my work is the space of colour as a subject matter. Like trying to paint the dimension of pigmented oil. It’s probably there, my inspiration, if anywhere – my obsession to stick to oils on canvas even if I don’t always enjoy it. The pigments in the oils come from all over the world. Blacks can be made from coal, bone or metal. I truly see the origins of pigments as very fundamental facts. The Italian earths, the cadmiums, the more recent tints made from inert pigments in vegetal colour baths. I love how oils can only be made from physical reality, unlike digital mediums. Therefore, painting is like touching the universe.

Where do you feel your going with your art? For example your latest work, they expose a lot of energy and strong colours.

My most recent work is developed from a series of drawings I made ten years ago in art school. I was fascinated with the idea of paper as the theatre of drawing. I would draw a simple room in perspective, using only square format heavy paper. Once done, everything was permitted inside that room. You could draw anything. We called it the Drawing Room. It was extremely liberating for me to draw in this fashion. What I am doing now is the same thing, but in oils, using 60 x 60 cm format, and a 2,5 cm thick frame within that format of 40 x 40 cm. Beyond this simple recipe everything is permitted. The pictures are very dissimilar except for the clean square frame in the middle of the canvas. It binds them all together. I experiment a lot with colour in these paintings. They are very playful.

The ones that contain landscape have a strong political feel to them, the strictness of the square is so fascist when combined with, say, a mountain. In those, I paint the square in cadmium red, which is basically rusted metal. To mix traditional landscape with a square of red metal creates a grinding sensation in me that I like. Right now I want to make hundreds of them.

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This experiment will eventually reveal something – it may become a thing where the sum will be greater than it’s parts, if it works. I’m often asked about the “energy” in my paintings. I think this apparently common feeling that people get when they look at them might have to do with my use of pure pigments. I like cadmiums when they are clean. They vibrate so strongly. I like clean blacks. I like to juxtapose clean pigments. To blend them serves a purpose, like making illusions of depth or making complimentary colours. So I don’t always feel I need to blend them at all. I also like to stir and smear colours on top of each other once they’re on the canvas. This can make them look torn, sometimes. I guess you could say it has a violent feel to it when you look at it from a figurative standpoint but what I’m really doing is very similar to moving sand on a beach, or playing with mud. I enjoy watching natural movement in the colour. The results may seem violent or energetic sometimes but they really happen quite slowly and peacefully.

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Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting or the way it is executed?

Since I work so much from the standpoint of the materials I’d say the two (subject matter and execution) are both sides of the same coin. They are completely annexed in the ones where I’m not trying to create illusions of landscape or objects with paint. The paints are the medium through which a subject emerges. I’ve experimented with this by painting from reference, searching for colours in natural palettes easily recognizable as Icelandic, or in palettes that are more introvert, personal, and less referential to the outside world. These are often quite fun since there will always be an accidental reference in them that I did not intend for.

In the figurative ones, which I prefer to call illustrative or illusional (since the abstract ones are more honest about what they are made of and therefore closer to reality somehow, thus more figurative) this is a different practice altogether. It is less about invention and more about discipline. They have a lot more to do with the history of painting and because of that the methods are obviously more traditional.

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After this uplighting and meaningful conversation we went our separate ways. We were full of positive thoughts after the visit because Hallur is such efficient and talented painter with a good and enjoyable views. We are most certain that this productive/active painter will be successful in the upcoming future and we wish him all the best!

hallurkarl.is
facebook.com/hallurkarl

Interview & Photographs: Þórfríður Soffía Haraldsdóttir

Siggi Palli

Team Snoop-Around parked outside Mótorsmiðjan for an interview, the second home of artist Siggi Palli, who greeted us with great respect. The atmosphere inside was nice and cosy, and we sat down in the Café area for a chat, we wanted to know a thing or two about Siggi Palli´s lifestyle, artistry and views on the Icelandic motorcycle culture.

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I wonder, have you always been artsy?

I have been drawing since I was a little kid; it was my medium when I expressed myself. I mediated both joy and anger through art, once when my father was strict with me I drew a pretty libellous picture and gave him. He still owns the picture. So, when I needed to get something out of my system I drew it away.

When I was older I was a student at the Icelandic Academy of the arts, but I didn’t connect with the format of creating art daily from 8-4, and to hand in projects on deadlines and so forth. It killed my drive for some reason. We learned Art History, where we studied paintings made by the old masters, and I was sure that I would never paint like that. The comparison didn’t make sense to me at the time.

I didn’t mange to finish school, so me and my friend decided to get a job on a ship, that sailed us to Greece, where we stayed for some time for we wanted to experience something new and adventurous. When I came back I didn’t touch a pencil or a brush for years though.

“a documentary, Flúreyjar, about a small group of tattoo artists from Iceland”

So you have been working with film, I hear as well?

Yes, I had been doing that for years. I have for example been directing and producing music videos and various things. I was a gripper for years as well. I produced a documentary, Flúreyjar, about a small group of tattoo artists from Iceland, Fjölnir and Jón Páll, and a couple of other guys that went biking in Faeroe Islands. I have always been a big fan of the Islands, and Fjölnir even made me a tattoo as a thank you gift with the logo of the film after all this.

But yes, I have been directing and producing music videos with various artist from Iceland and Scandinavia; Dr. Spock, Eivör, Högni, Boys in a band and Rönbeck for example.

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So, when did you manage to get your mojo back?

Ten years ago, I started to see images again in my mind and got many ideas that I wanted to act on. I wanted to explore formatic elements and this need to paint gushed out so I started to paint a lot. When I had painted 20-25 large paintings, they started to get in our way at home so I figured that I had to exhibit then. In my exhibition 8 of 10 of my works were sold. So that gave me a boost on expressing myself artistically again. I painted when I got inspired, sometimes continuously for hours and hours. That’s the way I work, always.

I am currently also a drummer in a band called Þrusk. We are maybe not that known, but I can tell you that we were the first band to play on a snow stage up in Bláfjöll (Blue Mountains) as a warm up for the band Dr. Spock in the middle of the winter.

I have also been very much in touch with matters of the spirit. I hired my dad once to translate a book about Zen, called Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, a book about quality of life and things that matter the most at the end of the day. In Icelandic we would say that I was an fjöllistamaður – which means that I am somewhat a multi artist. I am not only focusing on one art form and that’s they way I am.

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When did you start tattoo artistry?

I am a member of a motorcycle club, and they were always looking for someone that was skilled and artistic with a needle. So they had been encouraging me for a long time to do it, I had been a fan of this art form for years and had many tattoos myself. My wife bought me a start up equipment for tattooing, and they boys in my club were excited enough to let me practise, so I did just that and on human skin as well so that was a huge advantage for me.

My brother was running this place Mótorsmiðjan, and was looking for a tattoo artist, so I started out here. I try to focus on the tattooing and not on the drawing, at the moment, Siggi my coworker is drawing a lot and he is very talented and fast. Then as time passed by, me and Haddi who is a leather designer (Haddi Dreki) decided to open this up as a social club for bikers, and all those interested in the culture and the rock and roll lifestyle. Our organization is called the Motorheads, and we have around 130 active members. All members are welcome to spend time here, and those who want to tattoo each other can go ahead to do so.

And over there, you can see that we have various instruments here in front of our Café. There are many members of the club that are musicians, so they are free to play, grabbing whatever instruments they want and jam a little here whenever they want. They can drink coffee, form bands, or just play live music. This is an open stage, always.

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But what can you tell me about the hair saloon corner that I see over there?

Smutty Smiff is one of the most kown rockabilly heroes in the world today. He has played in many well-known bands with many of the most famous musicians in rock history. He is running a small hair salon here, in this rockabilly style, and we are the only store here in Iceland that offer those hair products, brilliantine hair wax for hairstyling.

So what is this business here in Mótorsmiðjan about, in general?

We are mainly running this to support our club, so we can get by sustainably. But we also give money to charity, for example we gave 100.000. – ISK the other day to the Children’s Hospital, Hringurinn. I really admire what they are doing there, my son got sick once so I have personal experience. We chose this organization because we know that their operation is run by heart and honesty. But yes, in general this is a social community for us bikers, mainly men. Women are always welcome though of course.

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“You don’t want to break in here, we will find you
before the police does”

So what groups belong to Mótorsmiðjan?

I am in a club called Hrafnar for example and Haddi is in a club called Þeyr. But that has in itself nothing to do with Mótorsmiðjan, it is for everybody bikers and non-bikers. Even though Mótorsmiðjan is situated in a neighborhood where there a lot of people living, they residents seem to like it because they think its good to have a motorcycle club in their backyard so thief’s would be less likely to invade the area. We also have a sticker in our window that reads: “You don’t want to break in here, we will find you before the police does”.

We have a small flea market here with used bikers outfits. Sometimes people are kind to give us used things that we sell. All the profits go to the organization for the basic things we need to pay for, rent, electricity the Internet and phone bills. If we have profited more than takes to run this place on daily basis, we give the profits away to charity. So I could proudly say this is an way, the Icelandic Red Cross Motorcycle club, for this reasons.

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What can you tell me lastly about the negative image that is often portrayed of the motorcycle culture in the media?

I can understand this negative portrait for sure, because if there is a story in the news on motorcycles, it’s mostly a story about a car chase, crimes or some bad accident someone had. Also in films, if there is a motorcycle club, it contains flocks of criminals doing this and that so its not very positive, the image is in my opinion very crooked in media culture.

“95% of bikers here in Iceland are indeed boy scouts”

People that know this culture know that 95% of bikers here in Iceland are indeed boy scouts. I am not kidding; they are the nicest people that I know. There are guys on Jeeps that are criminals too; you can find them in whatever group in the society. Imagine a criminal that drives a Benz for example, he is hopefully not giving all Benz owners in Iceland a bad name? Right? Well that’s what I think anyways.

We would like to thank you so much, Siggi Palli, for this great interview and yeah, we should encourage everybody to come here to Mótorsmiðjan?

Yes of course. Everybody is welcome, even though there is mainly testosterone in the air. The members of the Harley Davidson club have regular meetings here as our motorcycle clubs Þeyr and Hrafnar. We have actors, musicians, hippies and bums; you just name it the different characters that pop by to see us. We have all the range here in Mótorsmiðjan, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

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We leave with longings for café hangouts, tattoos, paintings made by Siggi Palli and a curiosity to know more about the society that Mótorsmiðjan is.

siggipalli.is
motorfactory.is
facebook.MótorSmiðjan
www.hrafnarmc.is

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís
Photographs of tattoos: Siggi Palli

LungA art festival – #Day 2 music workshop

I sat down with Úlfur Hansson (musician) and Arnljótur Sigurðsson (artist) in what seemed like the only lull of the day and when I say lull I mean that those guys where only being bothered by me and a handful of other people who would come through the door, ask a question and exit with the needed information to continue working. It’s the day before the exhibition and the last day of full and unadulterated work, no wonder it’s hectic.

This is the music and instrument creation workshop, am I right?

Yes, it’s called Expansion of the Oscillators.

That being both the name and direction of the workshop?

Úlfur: In brief this workshop is a festival and feast of sound, the idea is to open the ears and eyes of the participant to the soundscapes that surrounds them in day to day life and to the harmonics that are found in all spaces and nature.

Arnljótur: There has also been a discussion on sound from a conceptual and aesthetic perspective.

Úlfur: In the process of discussing these things, ideas have materialized that have then been realized in the creation of particular sound, tones and these oscillating instruments, which we have been building throughout the week.

So in order for me to understand you, this isn’t just a hands on create your own noise machine workshop, this is also probing look into how you interact with sound?

Úlfur: We are trying to turn on the metaphorical light bulb in their heads.

Arnljótur: People think of sound as something they hear, but not something they perceive. When in fact it is so much more. There is a universal sound in the multiverse that we have been trying to guide them towards.

Can you tell us more of this universal harmonic?

Úlfur: There are vibrations in everything, that in and of it self is a crazy enough concept to spark a religion.

At this point as we are interrupted again, this time they need to answer questions about their collaboration with the dance workshop in the exhibition. Everything seems to be in a state of flux, but very much in a good way. There are possibilities to be realized.

How many participants are in your group?

Úlfur: It has fluctuated through the week,with the volunteers coming in and taking part, but all in all the group is around thirteen people.

How have you structured the workshop?

Arnljótur: We had predetermined parts of the program, but a lot of it has been structured around what everyone wants to do.

Úlfur: We have then tried to help each individual on their own path, in no way telling them what to do, but to try and open up as many possibilities and directions as possible.

Arnljótur: They are immensely fertile and productive. What they have achieved in a week is just astonishing.

This wonderful house, is it empty between festivals?

Úlfur: Björt LungA and her friends from Denmark own this house. In the wintertime it’s an artist residence that you can rent to work and live in. In the summertime it’s used for workshops and the like.

Arnljótur: Funnily enough this is but one of many artists residences in Seyðisfjörður. There is a longstanding tradition of artists coming here to work, stretching back to Dieter Roth.

How did it transpire that you started working together and did you approach LungA with this idea?

Úlfur: I was asked if I was willing to come and run this seminar and of course I said yes, without really knowing what I wanted to do. For the longest time Arnljótur and me have intended to work together on something, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity and it just clicked and worked really well.

Arnljótur: Finally we are working together and we’re well chuffed.

Further collaboration?

Arnljótur: In the work beforehand and throughout the process of running the workshop we have taught ourselves quite a lot, we have broken everything apart analyzed it and in reassembling begun to get a deeper understand.

Úlfur: It’s insane how much you learn form teaching others.

Arnljótur: You can’t do this if you haven’t thought it out and applied reason to what you are doing. You’ll be caught out if what you’re saying is bullshit. In disassembling and analyzing you learn more. The worst part for me is not being able to be a participant. Given the time, we’ll undoubtedly take this project further.

lunga.is

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 2

Our second day at LungA was dedicated to independent exhibitions and performances, which where held in various locations, dotted around town. Most artists showed work that they had been working on during the week, but some pieces had been worked on during a longer period of time.

The first event we attended, was an off-venue venture, an exhibition of work by five artists in an abandoned former bakery. Fittingly, when we got to the house, a young girl was handing out delicious warm home baked rhubarb muffins. When you got in the house however, you were greeted by a strong smell of anise seed, as one of the pieces was a room full of the Angelica plant, where a tent had been pitched in the middle. Within it sat a hippie like figure, humming and strumming a guitar.

Other pieces in the exhibition also had a happening feel to them, couple of simple sound works, a room where it said, it´s a little chilli outside, where the was actually a chilli hanging outside the window, and an stolen object, which was an actual stolen art piece from another exhibition at LungA, where the original artist, ended up coming to reclaim his artwork from the “new” artist.

The official program, was opened by a performance by Ása Dýradóttir and Karl Torsten Stallborn named The Hill Is Alive. The artists where placed at a little island in what the locals call “the lagoon”. The performance was in essence a ritual of both sound and fire, and in the end the hill woke up and replied.

After the performance, the other exhibitions opened. We had a quick stop at Árni Már Erlingssons and Sigurður Atli Sigurðssons exhibition Be Right Back, The Studio Is Closed. This time they where in, and the studio was chock full of people. We were lucky enough to have had snooped around them earlier in the day, and got a special class in DIY lithography, which will be the focus of an whole different article here on Snoop.

Next stop, was Harpa Einarsdóttir/ Ziska exhibition titled Instant ReflectionsTake Out The Trash! which was the cleanest cut exhibition of the ones we visited. Harpas world is certainly a very vivid one, full of ancient versus modern symbolism, colours and lines and are reminiscent of a wild occult space world, which you can only glimpse through Harpas artwork.

The last exhibition we visited was Rögnvaldur Skúli Árnasons, So What Do You Think?. His exhibition was set in a oddly washed out red house, which apparently had been left almost untouched by the owners, who took up and moved to different towns a few years earlier. Aptly the exhibition was in the living room, where Skúli showed new oil paintings, made during the week at LungA. The small paintings, which were brilliant little studies of moments that had happened during the last week in Seyðisfjörður, including subjects like fellow artist, Árni Már, Seyðisfjörður it self and it´s scenery.

Last on the tour, was Byssukisis performance at the edge of town, where a group of people under enormous white sheet, moving to the beat of rocks being thrown at massive oil tanks. The event ended in the group jumping into the ocean after having sprayed furiously through the sheet and in the process covered themselves in brown paint.

Our night ended at the screening of the dance and music film Girl Walk // All Day by director Jacob Krupnick set to the music mash up from Dj Girl Walk. At the beginning the presenter said that there where only two prerequisites for them to show the film, which was that they needed to have an powerful sound system, which they certainly did, and there need to be a dance floor if the need to dance would catch the audience. We were happy too see the normally reserved Icelanders, all getting up and dancing through the whole movie!

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís

LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 1

The Snoop-Around team was so fortunate to be invited to the LungA Art Festival in the picturesque town of Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland.

LungAs mission is to give young people opportunities to explore their artistic abilities and to widen their horizons, be it through workshops, exhibitions, collaborations with working artists or concerts. LungA was founded in 2000 and has been growing year from year.

The workshops run during the week and conclude in final shows on Saturday, which are dotted around town. The workshops cover a wide range of fantastically interesting subjects using mediums such as dance, photography, sound and happenings. Friday is dedicated to independent artists exhibitions and openings and the whole event culminates in big outdoor concerts on Saturday.

Yesterday Snoop-Around attended a fashion exhibition that was located in an abandoned warehouse type of a place at the edge of town. Their five fashion designers had set up installations of their work. We especially liked the installation by Sunna Örlygsdóttir, who had made a surreal oasis with a few potted plants and an oriental rug where four models stood. Sunnas designs where mainly composed of stiff, painted jackets but contrasted by soft pieces underneath.

Upstairs there we found work by Claire de Quénetain, who showed intricately woven pieces made of a foamy sort of a material that was held together by weaving techniques and safety pins. The garments shapes reminded us of a kind of an urban warrior theme, although the garments could be translated to wearable garments or accessories.


Today we will explore Seyðisfjörður some more; the town itself is set in a picturesque fjord at the edge of the east coast of Iceland. The town is surrounded by massive mountains on all sides that make it really cosy and comfortable for those who are not claustrophobic by nature.

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís

lunga.is

Hand plays

The visual artist Marc Ferrante is an interesting up and coming artist, has throughout the years made projects out of 100 X-rays of the hand that he made with the help of radiologist, surgeons and X-ray technicians, puppeteers, dancers, magicians, shadow- puppetry artists. The images are digital prints printed displayed on stainless steel light boxes. He intends to point out that the X-ray is portraying the vibrant complexity of the being, and are initially complex, while one looks at the concept of “the self”.

Shadow play series
One of his first series was an X-ray practice, similar to a cave where the forms turn into shadows on a wall, which is a reminder of radiologists experience, since they are led to check negatives on what will be X-rayed.

mephisto, devil

Objects theatre series
Here the artist Ferrante focused on the relationship of values by playing with stereotypes, cultural conventions by comparing different types of images that can be interpreted with a medical, folkloric or archaic focus. Many of the images in his series are made by collaboration with other artists, for example from the theatre.

chripata 02

Hand dancing series
The dances of hands are a portrait of the hands ability to grasp the void or time, simulating the analysis of movements. His intention was to refer to the movement of dancers rituals to reparative moves.

Danse, dph 01

Modified presence series
Here the artist experiments with mixing up recent technologies, inspired by Méliès, Moholy-Nagy and many other, wanting to disturb the usual perceptive constraints brought about by standardized readings, photography, 3D imaging and so forth.

Peau 01, skin 01 (sloughing)

Skin series
The skin is the most notable missing constituent re-emerges in this series to add sensuality.
Skin and bones superimpose then split in paradoxical spaces that no software or digital medical equipment has been able to generate so far. It is clear that there are several relative levels of transparency and that the X-ray photograph has been used at a high level of opacity.

Transparente 07, transparent skin (without bone) 07

Ergon series
In this series the artist materialized the vacuum between two hands, by X-raying the things the machines can normally not catch. Radiography is here a matter of sculpture, portraying the third dimension.

Ergon 08

Be sure to learn more about the visual artist Marc Ferrante,
based in Strasbourg.

margferrante.com

Westfjord ArtFest

Westfjord ArtFest was held for the second time this Easter in Ísafjörður and involved 58 artists from all over Iceland. The festival was in two different spaces this year; in Norska Bakaríid and The Edinborg Culture Center. Norska Bakaríid used to be a bakery and a store in downtown Ísafjörður, but now the house has been empty for a long time. This was an excellent location for an art exhibition like this. Twenty-five artists displayed twenty paintings and five video-works in Norska bakaríid. Most of the artists had been working on their piece since last year. The theme of the paintings was 1×1, which is a reference to the size of the paintings. In The Edinborg Culture Center, the exhibition Phobophobia was on display, a collaborative art exhibition of 33 illustrators. Their work can be seen everywhere, from the books on the shelves in our living rooms to the cereal boxes in our kitchen cupboards, our homes are filled with illustrations, both obvious and hidden. As a part of DesignMarch 2012, the illustrators had created posters that explored the scary, complex and sometimes comic world of phobias.

It is the online art gallery Muses.is that kept track of the festival with support from various local companies. Muses’s curator, Rakel Sævarsdóttir, is behind the whole plot. I sat down with Rakel and she told me a little bit about muses.is and The Westfjord Art festival.

Tell me something about you and muses.is, what is it?

Muses.is is an online art-showcase and gallery. Artists that have ambition and are doing exciting things in their creations have their works there. We want to promote the artists outside the electronic world so we also put up all kinds of exhibitions. The gallery itself provides various services for customers and our ultimate goal is to bring art closer to the public. You can look at our art at home or anywhere as long as you have a computer and our exhibitions are alive and interesting and open for everyone.

Where did this idea come from?

The idea came when I was in the University finishing my MA degree in Culture and communication. I talked about this to a friend of mine, then a few months later she came to me and asked if we should start working on the idea and since then, there has been no turning back except now I run the gallery on my own with support from all the artist on Muses.is.

How do you see it expand in the future or how do you want to evolve this concept?

I want to continue to add exciting artists to the gallery and put up exhibitions, further more I want to take the exhibitions outside the country. This summer, me and the programmer will work more on the website, to make it more interactive and I want to provide more prints and other art related products to the customers.

Westfjord ArtFest is kind of a new festival in Iceland, where did you get the idea?

I´m raised in the Westfjords and have been going there during easter ever since I moved to Reykjavik. A lot has changed since the skiing area was destroyed by an avalanche and had to be moved to a safer location. The biggest change during the annual Skiing Week, as it´s called, is the addition of the rock festival Aldrei fór ég Suður. That was a really a good change and gave the locals and visitors a reason to stay and visit Isafjördur. The idea of Westfjord ArtFest just came up as a way to bring balance to the rock during the day. To bring talented artists to Isafjördur and work with the local artists in making a cultural event for everyone to visit.

It is the second time the festival is held, how was this year different from the first one?

Last year was my first experience in setting up a big exhibition – we had great artists, a great location, amazing artwork but didn´t have any time to promote the festival so we didn’t have many visitors. Since then I´ve worked on four big exhibitions and therefore have more experience. On top of that I had a big help from Aldís María Valdimarsdóttir, who worked with me as a publicist and other friends and family members. As musician Mugison said so nicely: “You can´t do shit on your own”

 

On muses.is you can place bids in the artwork at the artfestival Westfjord Artfest, which was held for the second time in Isafjördur this easter.

See you next year in Ísafjördur!

Interview: Aldís María Valdimarsdóttir
Poster: Kristinn Gunnar Atlason
Photographs: Aldís María & Aníta Björk Jóhannsdóttir