The Lost Horse Gallery has moved from the old converted stable at Skólastræti 1 and found a new home on Vitastígur 9a. Reykjadam/Amstervík is the first exhibition on the new premises. The show brings five Icelandic artists back from their studies in The Netherlands at the renowned Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Gerrit Rietveld was an infamous Dutch designer with a passion for concept art. Hence, it is no surprise that the exhibition conjures a similar experimental ethos.
How the artists came together
The group of Icelanders met in Amsterdam and began to form close friendships. It slowly became apparent that they all shared an interest in putting on a show back home in Reykjavík, so as to contrast what they had experienced in Amsterdam. The idea to convey their connection between the two artistic realms seemed appropriate. On arriving back, the group simultaneously had to contend in the vibrant, chaotic Icelandic art scene whilst trying to maintain their adopted ideas from Amsterdam, which brings with it a more headstrong chronology of conceptual art.
The artists had the hard-grafting predicament of being the first exhibitors since the move. Walls needed painting, electrical appliances checking… Still it seemed the group’s ambitious plans were not to be stifled, and as they sought to promote the show the Dutch Embassy gave them a generous grant. According to participating artist Hrafnhildur Gissurardóttir, the Dutch Consul is keen on providing funding to make Reykjadam/Amstervík an annual event: “He proposed if we give him half a year’s notice, he would try and guarantee money toward the show next year.”
The new space is divided into two floors; three of the artists occupy downstairs and two are on the upper deck. Sæmundur Þór Helgason, one of the artists on the second floor, describes his work as “Technical Fetishism”. His peculiar light sensitive sound installation has an even more unconventional power source: potatoes! The piece seems to further extend man’s use and fascination with this common vegetable. As I was perplexed by why he choose the beloved potato to power the installation, I asked Sæmundur to elaborate more on how it ran: “By using the acid within the potato, the potatoes start to act as batteries between the positively charged copper (+) and the negatively charged zinc (-), thus powering the artwork.” He also remarked that it was like “crisis power plant, since potatoes are symbolic of famine and poverty.” This is apparently meant to reflect the current situation in Iceland.
Another interesting piece was that of Hrafnhildur Gissurardóttir, who etched paparazzi photography of Amy Winehouse. The artist’s intention behind the work was to deconstruct the icon, not to derogate her. And no, she is not a fan. She simply intends to illustrate the self-destructive tendency Winehouse portrays and pose the question whether it is self-made.
- Reykjadam/Amstervik The Lost Horse Gallery (Vitastígur 9, Reykjavík): Open 2pm–6pm