From Iceland — A Journey Without a Determined Destination

A Journey Without a Determined Destination

Published September 29, 2008

Bringing art out of the galleries

A Journey Without a Determined Destination
Photo by

Bringing art out of the galleries

“We are interested in the phenomenon of screen-tests. It is an interesting blend of acting and being yourself,” says Ólafur Ólafsson one of the two artists behind the exhibition Everybody is Doing What They Can, recently opened in the Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús. The show revolves around videos of people being interviewed in a screen-test manner, as if they are auditioning for a part. Some videos were produced before the opening but there is also a studio inside the exhibition hall where people are interviewed on the spot.

The exhibition, which Ólafur’s collaborator Libia Castro says is best explained by using the word “project,” is the first in a series set up in Hafnarhúsið where the relationship between the museum and the public space outside its walls is examined. I ask Olafur and Libia about the idea behind the screentests and how it is aimed to examine the relationship between the public and the museum.

Image building process
“The original idea we had was to make an advertisement for television but we weren’t sure what subject we wanted to advertise, if any, since that was not the main issue. In order to start that project we decided to arrange informal interviews with people and record them. Then we realised we had two parallel projects and we decided to drop the advertisement part but to go full forward with the screen-tests,” says Olafur, and Libia concludes that the uncertainty about the subject is ongoing. “We don’t have the image yet. We chose a group which is related partly through certain issues and ask them about journalism, advertisments, economical- and partly environmental issues,” she says and adds that building the image is a work in progress and maybe it will be more strictly moulded three weeks after the opening or maybe it will still be quite loose.

A travelling show
Their idea is to take the exhibition out of the exhibition hall and project some of the videos in other locations around town to further difuse the boarders between the public space and the museum. “Our background lies in social sculpture, life art, fluxus and conceptual art. Life art is experiential, it is not aiming at putting itself apart from life but to take a place in life,” says Ólafur. Maybe it is the journey but not the destination? Olafur and Libia agree on that in this case. There is no final goal since the process itself is the goal. In the meantime, I guess everybody is doing what they can.

Olafur and Libia’s project will be up until November 2. A new exhibition by Hlynur Halldórsson which carries on the theme of erasing boarders between the museum and the public will open on November  6. The exhibition is called “In/Out” and is about making a deal with various companies around town and borrows items from them to install them in the museum in a formal manner. The companies, which can be shops or other services, then get pieces of art from the museum and put them on display in their premises.

We advise people to go to Hafnarhúsið and see for themselves. If the exhibitions are journeys without a determined destination a visitor can surely expect something similar from the trip to the museum.


Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!


Show Me More!