Reykjavík Arts Festival is here once more to take over the city with openings, exhibitions, music, and all flavours of interdisciplinary performance. Are you ready?
Austurvöllur – June 1-15th – Free!
The central Reykjavík square of Austurvöllur, situated right outside of Iceland’s parliament, has been the site of many protests over the years—not least, the iconic outpouring of dissatisfaction that followed the release of the Panama Papers. At the Reykjavík Arts Festival, another striking form of resistance will take place in the form of Borghildur Indriðadóttir’s photos, in which topless young women defiantly amongst dusty paintings of besuited men. After the gender wage gap protests of recent years, and the #MeToo movement, It’s a simple but effective idea that communicates the city’s feminist zeitgeist. JR
Iceland Symphony Orchestra: Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony
Harpa – June 1st – 19:30 – 2,500 to 7,500 ISK
Gustav Mahler was one of those people—like Trump, or Cher—who preferred things BIG. This ambitious drive for tonal apotheosis created some of the most ambitious, inimitably idiosyncratic, and existential orchestral pieces of all time. Nothing is more representative of this than his ‘Resurrection Symphony.’ If you’re into existential ennui and that moment in ‘Se7en’ when Brad Pitt asks “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?”, then this is the tune for you. While the title sounds religious, Mahler was kind of a spiritually confused guy, and the symphony dives more into the sheer unadulterated pants-wetting terror of it all. Relatable content, right? HJC
Daniel Lismore – “Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken”
Harpa – June 2nd-17th – 12:30-16:30 – 1,500 ISK
If you live in Reykjavík and have any connection to the arts scene, you may have first heard of Daniel Lismore when he added you on Facebook and Instagram recently as part of his pre-exhibition promo effort. But if you’re interested in queer culture, club kids, the international art scene or high fashion, you probably followed him long ago. Lismore creates autobiographical sculptures that chart his dramatic, extravagant “looks,” layered and collaged using everything from broken jewellery to fine fabrics and found objects, and from high street clothing to haute couture. The resulting exhibition is hypnotic, comprising a collection of mannequins clothed in wildly creative ensembles that express a unique and inspiring vision. Read our full interview here. JR
Hafnarhúsið – June 2nd – 21:00 – Free!
Of all the young DJs on the Reykjavík scene, the audio-visual duo DJ Dominatricks are far and away the most ambitious. Melkorka Þorkelsdóttir and Arna Beth mix together a colourful, glitching digital backdrop that looks like the internet’s subconscious puking VR dreams and nightmares onto the screen; the accompanying music is a dizzying mash of fresh, creative electronica gleaned from all over the genre spectrum. Check them out at the festival’s opening party at the Reykjavík Art Museum’s downtown Hafnarhúsið building. You won’t be disappointed. Read our interview here. JR
Robert Wilson / Det Norske Teatret – “EDDA”
Reykjavík City Theatre – June 8th & 9th – 20:00 – 7,500 ISK
The worldwide famous avant-garde/experimental theatre director Robert Wilson is bringing his newest production, “EDDA,” to Iceland. The Eddas are two of the main literary works of Icelandic language Norse mythology. Wilson is known for his original use of language, movement and lighting, and it’s fair to say that this will be unlike anything Icelandic theatre has ever seen. You can expect spectacular costumes and scenography from the play that won the Norwegian Hedda Prize for the theatrical event of the year in 2017. Dive deeply into Iceland’s and the Northern countries’ heritage with this magical event, which is part of a special programme celebrating the 2018 centennial of Icelandic sovereignty. PW
It’s A Block Party And You’re Invited!
Asparfell 8 – June 9th – 16:00 – Free!
Want to score some bonus cool points as a tourist and be able to say that you’ve been to an *actual* Icelandic party in Iceland?? Here is your ultimate opportunity to improve your reputation. The block party will be hosted by the residents of Asparfell 2-12 in the Reykjavík neighbourhood of Breiðholt. The residents will be graciously opening up their apartments to allow tourists and Reykjavík residents alike to experience an Icelandic dance party. Guests are invited to wander from apartment to apartment and meet the inhabitants who come from all walks of life. In some apartments, you will find loud music and large groups of people, while at others you will find a calmer environment with fewer people. You can take Strætó (#12, #17) to get there. Limited availability. JIW
Bill Murray & The Cello Guy
Harpa – June 14th – 20:00 – 6,900-12,900 ISK
There are a lot of things people think about when they hear the name of larger-than-life Hollywood star Bill Murray, but a cello concert isn’t one of them. The world famous actor has charmed generations with his subtle, eccentric humour, both in his movies, and in real life; his performances for Wes Anderson have practically made him a living legend. So it’s incredibly thrilling for classical nerds that he met the unrivalled cello player Jan Vogler in an airplane few years ago, and they hit it off—classical style. Iceland is one of few countries in the world where Vogler and Murray will performing together. Violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez will also perform—both of them are outstanding. So, eccentric humour and world class classical music the same night; who you gonna call? VG