From Iceland — Turning Things Around

Turning Things Around

Published November 7, 2008

Hlynur Hallsson opens an exhibition in reverse

Turning Things Around
Haukur S. Magnússon
Photo by
Jói Kjartans

Hlynur Hallsson opens an exhibition in reverse

By Yesterday, artist-slash-Left Green alternate MP Hlynur Hallsson opened an exhibition pretty much all over 101 Reykjavík. Even though the show, entitled ÚT/INN (“OUT/IN”) has its official headquarters in the main hall of the Reykjavík Art Museum, it’s concept and execution rely on the goodwill and co-operation of several downtown businesses and institutions, all of whom Hallsson says were extremely helpful throughout the twelve months it took to plan and prepare the venture.

“There was a lot of paperwork involved, and a lot of coordination” Hallsson says over the phone from his Akureyri home a few days before the opening, “the nature of the project made it so. Everything had to be insured head to toe. Fortunately, the people we approached liked the project and were more than willing to help.”

What Hallsson has effectively done with ÚT/INN is pretty remarkable in and of itself. The idea behind his exhibition – while simple enough in essence – has many philosophical and aesthetical aspects that Hallsson hopes will open up discussion and force the viewer to ask himself some pretty weighty questions concerning the nature of art, the universe and everything.

Various artefacts
The “ÚT” aspect of the show sees Hallsson borrowing the Reykjavík Art Museum’s hefty collection of artworks and placing them in various downtown establishments that are frequently visited by the public, thereby exposing it to various works of art it might have never encountered. Subway, Landsbankinn, Kaffitár and 10-11 are among the twenty establishments that display works from the museum’s collection (a complete list may be found below).

The “INN” portion goes in a completely different direction. For every object d’art Hallsson places in the participating establishment, he has borrowed an item from their own collection and placed them in “an artistic environment” – more specifically in the large display hall of the Reykjavík Art Museum.

“The artefacts we got from the various establishments represent them in some way, and say something about them. I place them in the gallery as sort of ready made works of art. The new placement in this context will hopefully allow people to ponder their significance in their daily lives and connect to them in a new way. Hopefully, the act can serve to shed a light on the artistic and aesthetic values of the objects that surround us in our daily lives, the things we perhaps don’t pay much attention to.”

“The exhibition is called INN/ÚT – it’s pretty self explanatory. On one hand, the aim is to get the art out to the people, where they spend their day-to-day lives. On the other, we want to get the people in the museum, to see the things that colour their everyday lives in a new light. Hopefully, it will shed some light on our shared values. If I have my way, people will walk from the show viewing their everyday surroundings in a new light.”

The following establishments participate in ÚT/INN
Aurum, Brynja, Eymundsson, Gyllti kötturinn, Hársaga, Gallerí i8, Kaffitár, Karlmenn, Kisan, Landsbankinn, Lyfja, Múltíkúltí, Skífan, Subway, Varðan, Verslunin Bláa lónið, Víkingur, Vísir, 10-11 og 66° norður.

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