From Iceland — Wow, Hallgrímur Helgason Painted So Many Jón Gnarrs!

Wow, Hallgrímur Helgason Painted So Many Jón Gnarrs!

Published April 16, 2015

Wow, Hallgrímur Helgason Painted So Many Jón Gnarrs!
Haukur S. Magnússon
Photo by
Hallgrímur Helgason

Artist-slash-novelist Hallgrímur Helgason recently unveiled the above painting at the Kjarvalsstaðir art museum. Entitled “The Gnarr Family,” the work of art depicts a selection of the various roles comedian Jón Gnarr has assumed over the years, drawing inspiration from some of his beloved TV characters and his public appearances throughout his career.

This is what it looks like:

The Gnarr Family by Hallgrímur Helgason


Discussing the piece on his Facebook page, Hallgrímur said:

This is an idea I got a few years ago, on an airplane crossing the Øresund bay. Maybe it I got the idea because I initially wrote articles against Gnarr’s campaign when he first announced it, maybe it came as some sort of penance for being wrong about Jón. At the opening, rather many visitors, especially of the older generation, believed this to be a conventional family portrait of Gnarr, that the subjects were Jón, his wife and children.

“She’s really rather large, Jón’s wife, but the children, they look just like him. Does he really have so many children?”

In any case, I intended this painting to be an autobiographical family portrait of the man, featuring him in every role. He was kind enough to grant me access to his family album and allow me to use as reference several personal photos from decades past. And then, of course, I used the dress and wig he donned at the Gay Pride parade a few years back. I am very grateful to Jón Gnarr, for being so cool about this project.

You can view The Gnarr Family at Kjarvalsstaðir until June 7, along with a great selection of exciting paintings from the most exciting, relevant Icelanders who are working with the medium at the moment. Seriously, Just Painted II is a must visit for anyone who concerns her- or himself with modern Icelandic art.

Here is a list of all the artist whose work you can view at Just Painted II:

Aðalheiður Valgeirsdóttir, Anna Jóelsdóttir, Aron Reyr Sverrisson, Arngunnur Ýr, Ásdís Spanó, Birgir Snæbjörn Birgisson, Bjarni Sigurbjörnsson, Björg Þorsteinsdóttir, Björg Örvar, Björn Birnir, Bragi Ásgeirsson, Daði Guðbjörnsson, Eggert Pétursson, Einar Hákonarson, Erla Þórarinsdóttir, Erla S. Haraldsdóttir, Erró, Eyjólfur Einarsson, Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Guðbjörg Lind, Guðbjörg Ringsted, Guðmundur Thoroddsen, Guðrún Einarsdóttir, Guðrún Kristjánsdóttir, Hadda Fjóla Reykdal, Hafsteinn Austmann, Halldór Ragnarsson, Hallgrímur Helgason, Harpa Árnadóttir, Hrafnhildur Inga Sigurðardóttir, Haukur Dór, Helgi Már Kristinsson, Helgi Þorgils Friðjónsson, Hlaðgerður Íris Björnsdóttir, Húbert Nói Jóhannesson, Hulda Stefánsdóttir, Jóhanna Bogadóttir, Jón Axel, Katrin Fridriks, Kristbergur Ó. Pétursson, Kristinn G. Harðarson, Kristín Geirsdóttir, Kristján Steingrímur Jónsson, Marta María Jónsdóttir, Ragnar Jónasson, Sara Riel, Sigtryggur Bjarni Baldvinsson, Sigurbjörn Jónsson, Sigurður Árni Sigurðsson, Sigurður Örlygsson, Snorri Ásmundsson, Stefán Boulter, Steingrímur Eyfjörð, Þorbjörg Höskuldsdóttir, Þorri Hringsson, Þorvaldur Jónsson, Þórdís Aðalsteinsdóttir, Þórður Hall, Þura-Þuríður Sigurðardóttir, Valgarður Gunnarsson.

And here is what Kjarvalsstaðir says about it on the museum’s website:

“In recent years the painting has been gaining an ever-stronger foothold worldwide. New emphasis and expansion of the medium has attracted attention and the focus has been on the diversity of contemporary painting. Iceland is no exception. Artists of all ages, with very different artistic styles and ideologies, have chosen the painting as their primary art medium. To give an overview of painting in Iceland today, the Reykjavík Art Museum presents two exhibitions, the first one at Hafnarhús and the second at Kjarvalsstaðir displaying works by 87 active artists, 27 at Hafnarhús and 60 at Kjarvalsstaðir. Such an extensive overview of Icelandic contemporary painting has never been presented before. Curators: Hafþór Yngvason and Kristján Jónsson.”

Kjarvalsstaðir is open daily from 10-17. It’s right by Miklatún, near downtown Reykjavík.

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