From Iceland — The Love Corporation

The Love Corporation

Published November 5, 2004

The Love Corporation

Just as one begins to think that this is the ultimate male dream, the camera begins to show uncomfortable close-ups of their facial skin. The tension is increased when they start cutting their wings, generously splashing blood on the white outfit. At the end the scene is celebrated with a shower of champagne.”Love conquers everything!”. As much as I don´t like the word “feminism”, because today it rather brings negative connotations of extremism, I couldn’t help being charmed by the genuineness of those girls.

Their work shows sensitivity, confidence and pride in being a woman. One of the reasons why I came to Iceland is because of the legend of how strong and independent the women from the North are, a paradise for feminists. My very first lesson in the Icelandic language was a story from “Laxdæla” about Guðrún mistreating her husbands. Immediately I associated “love corporation” with female revolutionaries. Being one myself, I called my foreign comrades Sigrún and Jóní for an interview (the third one lives in Berlin). On Sunday morning I had a bad feeling that no Icelander gets up early after a heavy weekend, but Sigrún showed up. It turned out that Jóní had had a “bachelorette party” the previous night, attended by among others Sigrún. I felt bad for dragging her out of bed.

Q: – So what did you do?
A: – Oh, it was great. We were only girls, and we went to Kramhúsið, where Jóní danced really beautifully.

Q: – Why do you call yourselves The Love Corporation in English, while your Icelandic name means something else (“gjörningur”=“a happening or performance”), according to the dictionary)?
A: – Actually it means “performance club”, like a “knitting club”, which is a popular Icelandic expression for women gathering together over gossip and exchanging recipes. Traditionally in such male clubs- golf, bridge, whatever clubs, the access of women is strictly prohibited, and during leisure-time serious business is often discussed there as well. So, why not a knitting club? It could be pretty serious business, too.

Q: I read somewhere, that you do performances because you hate it- “the most pretentious art form of all”, right? And you do a lot of poetic (sentimental) slogans. I am big fan of manifestos – reminds me of the modernistic “-ism” schools being formed between First and Second World War. Are you serious about your hatred of performance?
A: Yes, we hate performances. Today you can not say such stuff without sounding naive and silly, because we all know that those ideas you mentioned didn’t work at the end.So, we are self-ironic, in a way. But it doesn’t hurt believing in them. Its about loving life in joy and sorrow. You won’t change the world, but hope keeps you moving ahead.

Q: – All of you lived and studied abroad. The other girls were exchange students in Copenhagen, and you worked in New York. Weren’t you tempted to stay in the big world beyond the ocean? It seems to me that Icelanders who live abroad always come home in about 10 years. What explains this Icelandic phenomenon?
A: – I followed my boyfriend for 12 years, (my husband today), who was studying there; he is a movie-maker. I also went to school there, but I quit- it was way too expensive. I kept doing illegal jobs, and it was tiring. I didn’t have freedom to do what I want because of the visa-restrictions. Now I wouldn’t go back. Things in the States worry me. And I was terribly homesick.

Q: – How do you manage to work as a team? There are always leaders and passive people and normally the leaders are the ones with confidence, while the silent people are the ones with knowledge.
A: – We all contribute with something. At the end the product is something which individually nobody would have come up with alone.

The Love Corporation´s exhibition opens on the 12th of November in the National Art Gallery (Listasafn Íslands).

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