From Iceland — Bringing Art to the Public

Bringing Art to the Public

Published July 27, 2007

Bringing Art to the Public

‘Miðbaugur og Kringla: Leisure, Administration and Control’ is the name of a collaborative exhibition of 11 visual artists that will open in various spaces in Reykjavík on July 21. The participating group, which consists of artists from Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, France and Estonia, originally came together in 2005, when chosen to create a grand-scale exhibition for a culture festival set to take place in Berlin the following year. They invaded the Potsdamer Platz train station, smack in the city’s centre, and put up installations that grabbed the passenger’s attention beyond all expectations.

Working within this crowded intersection inspired the artists to continue the collaboration and as they all share the same interest in working with public spaces, two of Reykjavík’s largest were the obvious targets. The spacious Kringlan shopping mall and the old city centre will experience a four-week transformation when

Kringlan’s entrance, hallways, shops and car park, downtown Austurvöllur, Miklabraut traffic street and Miklatún outdoor park, among others, will be used for installations, photo displays and performances during the period.

The exhibition catalogue reads that the group chose these two destinations because to them they are the most important meeting spots in the capital and represent in a prominent way what Iceland and Reykjavík are. Although very distinct in size and shape, these spaces both serve as busy shopping destinations as well as favoured hangouts for locals and travellers alike.

“We are looking at the purpose these areas serve and how people use them,” they explain. This will be a wide-ranging project, which hopefully will attract the pedestrians who frequent these places. The goal is to make the exhibition very visible but also interactive, so the viewer can be part of the projects. When shopping, heading to work or strolling around downtown in search for some afternoon fun, you therefore might stumble upon some intriguing art-piece along the way and forget all about your former missions.

The exhibition’s opening will take place at two locations on July 21. At 15:00 the temporary-showroom Kringlan reveals its facelift and at 17:30, the exhibition inside the Reykjavík City Hall opens to the public. From there, a walk around the centre will lead to Gallery Dwarf on Grundarstígur, where the opening ceremony concludes at around 20:00.

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