Although the winter solstice was last month, bringing more moments of daylight with each passing day, January can still be an awfully dreary month: the lingering darkness is only abating incrementally, and the weather is arguably worse than in December. To save your brain from sensory deprivation, it is highly advisable to seek out stimulation indoors, and there are few better places to do that than art galleries.
However, Reykjavík is positively brimming with galleries and museums, making it very daunting to parse it all and figure out what’s worth seeing. To that end, we have compiled some of the very best stuff currently being shown in our fair capital.
Abrakadabra – The Magic of Contemporary Art
Hafnarhús, until March
If you only have time for just one exhibition, you could do a lot worse than making it this one. This exhibition boasts a couple dozen artists of diverse backgrounds, with works spanning multiple media. Easily spend an afternoon checking out everything on offer, come away feeling very cultured indeed.
Gerðarsafn, January 14th until March 27th
Rent a car–or better still, hop on a public bus–and get down to Kópavogur for this very special joint exhibition of acclaimed visual artist Elín Hansdóttir and renowned musician Úlfur Hansson, probably best known for being the inventor of the magnetic harp. By their powers combined, they have created an enigmatic exhibition guaranteed to delight both eyes and ears alike.
I8 Gallery, until January 29th
You can’t go wrong with the classics. This Swiss-German artist has been exciting and intriguing people for decades, and he apparently had a special place in his heart for Iceland, too, as this exhibition attests. Most of the exhibition focuses on his works on paper, but it spans multiple genres and decades—specifically the 60s and 70s. A fine reminder that art has always been, and always should be, deeply weird.
Kling&Bang, until January 23rd
In Icelandic mythology, a fylgja was a kind of guardian, a spirit guide and protector who followed generational lines, often appearing as an animal or a woman. In this group exhibition from Halla Einarsdóttir, Hanna Kristín Birgisdóttir and Smári Rúnar Róbertsson, these artists will undoubtedly explore the concepts of myth, generational baggage, and the cultural markers that follow us all. As Kling & Bang never disappoints, this is another exhibition well worth checking out.
Hverfisgallerí, until February 12th
This is a solo exhibition by Hrafnkell Sigurðsson with a very compelling backstory. The artist says he was living in Siglufjörður last year, working at a hotel, and felt entirely detached from Iceland at this remote locale, let alone the rest of the world. But then an avalanche struck–not the first time in the area, and certainly not the last. Visiting the site of destruction, he observed how nature had effectively deconstructed the things built by human beings, which in these works, he re-assembles and deconstructs again. Ergo, redeconstruction. It’s absolutely worth your time in these bleak winter days.
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