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Reykjavík Arts Festival: Dragsúgur—A Gust Of Air, Or A Mobile Gallery?

Reykjavík Arts Festival: Dragsúgur—A Gust Of Air, Or A Mobile Gallery?

Photos by
Sveinni Speight

Published June 1, 2018

The Wind and Weather Window Gallery (WWWG) is an unconventional gallery located in the front window of the 105-year-old house at Hverfisgata 37. It’s not a gallery that you go inside, and you’re thus exposed to the elements as you observe the mixed media art installations, which change every one or two months, through the glass.

The project is run by artist and curator Kathy Clark, who has been living and working in Reykjavík since 2005. The gallery’s latest project—“Journey To Home”—was co-curated with American exhibition maker, tour manager and art agent Annabelle von Girsewald. Von Girsewald is no stranger to Icelandic art, having co-produced Hreinn Friðfinnsson’s latest addition to his “House Project,” and is also curating a group exhibition titled “Earth Homing: Reinventing Turf Houses,” which will open in Seltjarnarnes later this summer.

Another window, another level

“Journey to Home” is a window art exhibition and walking tour held in conjunction with the 31st Reykjavík Arts Festival, opening on June 3rd and ending on June 22nd. “The theme is ‘Journey to Home’ and the artists are presenting their interpretations of that in their window installations,” says Kathy. In addition to the original location on Hverfisgata, nine window galleries can be found in commercial and residential windows around the downtown Reykjavík area, with work by a plethora of interesting artists.

“There is a connection between the physical and the spiritual.”

Kathy wanted to take the concept of WWWG to another level, so she also came up with the idea for Dragsúgur (the Icelandic name for the wind that comes in from a window). This mobile window gallery is an exact replica of the one at Hverfisgata 37. Thus, the WWWG can now have multiple locations, each hosting different performances and activities.

“I’ve always liked the notion of things being personified and having a life of their own—their own character and spirit,” says Kathy. “There is a connection between the physical and the spiritual. Dragsúgur is the spirit that has been embodying Hverfisgata 37 for over a hundred years. Now he gets to experience the human world and all the interactions that come with it.”

Espresso and night

Dragsúgur will first be parked in front of WWWG at Hverfisgata 37 (May 26th to June 2nd) and Austurvöllur (June 3rd to June 8th) where “The Espresso Bar” will take place. Egill Sæbjörnsson and Ívar Glói will offer espressos at the excellent price of 100 ISK. The mobile gallery will then move up to Hallgrímskirkja (June 10th to June 14th) and finally Bernshöftstorfan (June 14th to June 20th), where Styrmir Örn Guðmundsson and Agata Mickiewicz will take over with their installation “The Night Station.”

“I’ve always liked the notion of things being personified and having a life of their own.”

Three artists will make scheduled performances in connection to “Journey to Home”. The text-based performer Erin Honeycutt will perform as “The Chronicler,” documenting Dragsúgur’s experiences on his journey through downtown Reykjavík, and accumulating the findings into a performance entitled “Windows Open” at Bernhöftstorfan on June 15th.

Observe and compile

“The Chronicler will be in the background, recording and perhaps overhearing people’s conversations,” says Kathy. “He’ll observe and compile interactions that Dragsúgur will have with people and the artists involved.”

Arnar Ásgeirsson will invite people and objects to become part of an unexpected scenario in his performance “Close Encounters” on June 16th. Emilija Škarnulytė will test the boundaries between documentary and fiction and between ecological and cosmic forces in her performance “Cloud Chamber.”

Free guided walking tours of the various window installations in “Journey to Home” are scheduled on June 3rd at 4PM, June 9th, 10th, 14th and 15th at 1PM and June 16th and 17th at 2PM. They run for approximately one hour, and start at the Festival Hub, where a map of the installations is also available.

This project is a part of Reykjavík Arts Festival. For a schedule, a map of the installations and info on participating artists, their installations and performances, go here. For more Arts Festival coverage, go here.


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