Reykjaviks city children

First of all, the art-scene in Iceland isn’t big. Still we have about 4 or 5 active galleries (then we’re talking contemporary art) in Reykjavik and the Living Art Museum (like the kunstvereins in Germany), The Municipal Art Museum of Reykjavik (shows both contemporary and 20th century art) and the Art-Museum of Iceland (more conservative). Those institutes and the galleries are doing extremely good in getting all kinds of exhibitions into the country compared to how many inhabitants are in Iceland and in Reykjavik.  260.000 people in whole Iceland (like a small village in Europe) of which150.000 live in Reykjavik.  So Reykjavik is a small town and a Big City at the same time.  It is the capitol of Iceland and here everything happens so to say.  We still have a strong gallery in Isafjordur on the West, west, west side and north up at no-place called Slunkariki.  This gallery is quite well known among foreign artists that have been travelling to Iceland increasingly over the last 20 or 30 years.  Artists like Roni Horn and Richard Long are here all the time, still never to be seen at the bars because they’re always out walking in the wilderness, while we the Icelandic citychildren stay in smoky bars and stroll down Laugarvegur (the main main main street of Reykjavik with all the shops and bars around it).        

That is one thing.  City-child.  To be born and raised in Reykjavik does mean that one IS Icelandic of course but it doesn’t mean that one has BEEN to Iceland. To stay inside Reykjavik is totally different than going to the country side. So youngsters in Reykjavik might get the idea of GOING TO ICELAND which means to GO OUTSIDE OF REYKJAVIK and see some of this beautyful country side we have.  Iceland is particular in the sense that Renaissance started in Iceland in the 20 century.  Until that time there were only merchants that ruled the country like in the middle age Europe.  They had all the money and ruled everything.  Then in the late 19th century Reykjavik began to grow and everybody got crazy about this small place (30.000 people in 1850) and wanted to go there.  People became citychildren, with money and they wanted to go to the cinema and to make art and paint and make art-museums and galleries.  Stuff that didn’t exist in Iceland before that time.  Amazing isn’t it? A third world country, a Danish colony, jumps first world in one jump.  Goes straight from mud and grass houses to ten floors concrete blocks of flats.  Then there comes second world war and U.S.A. puts ENORMOUS amounts of money into Iceland (they were buying their way in to have an army base in the country) and everybody goes NUTTY PROFESSOR with money floating out of their pockets.  People drive into the 20th century with houses and houses and houses (lots of money comes also from the fish industry) and suddenly abstract paintings with icelandic themes and then in 1970 conceptual artists broke through (The Living Art Museum built) and since then, everything getting more and more and more like EUROPE and USA.  Yepp baby, living in Reykjavik is to have a grandmother that lived in earth-houses and now lives in concrete block of flat and having all the american movies BEFORE they are shown in Europe. We are SO UP TO DATE. And everyone wanted to be here for a while when Bjorky was doing the big lift-off.  But now, WHERE IS EVERYBODY?????  Only Bjorky moved to Iceland but Damon Albarn is hardly ever more to be seen at KAFFIBARINN (the hottest hottest art bar in Reykjavik).  Fifty years ago we only had like 20 painters in Iceland and half of them were amateur painters.  Today there is more. 50 new kids are taken into the art-school every year.  Now that’s a lot for such a small place.  Seven of those go to multi-media department, eight to painting, seven to sculpture and the rest to graphic-designing, ceramics, textile and stuff like that.  So we have like 20 new fine-art contemporary artists, what ever that contemporary means, coming out of the school every year. Mostly on weekends there are openings in galleries and museums.  Then everybody (100 people) goes let’s say to the Living Art Museum for an opening of a show with various artists from Germany, Holland, Sweden and the states. Gabriel Orozco, Louise Bourgeouis, Orlan, Johan Grimonprez, Felix Gonzales Torres, Dumas ... you know how it goes! Then every-one strolls down Laugarvegur down to Ingolfsstraeti 8 (which is the only kind of a International gallery in Iceland) to see an opening of Inga Svala Thorsdottir (Icelandic and lives in Hamburg) or of Roni Horn or Olafur Eliasson (lives in Berlin) or Elmgreen & Dragset.  One other international gallery was run independently by Petur Arason and his wife Ragna Robertsdottir, artist.  This gallery was called Second Floor and was in their appartment on Laugarvegur above the Levis store but Mr Arason is the owner of this store. They did show many artists that otherwise were not shown in Iceland not even by the large museums. Example: Richard Long, On Kawara, Donald Judd, Lawrence Weiner.  One other guy that runs a clothing store (running a gallery is not very profitable in Iceland) has a gallery called Galleri Saevar Karl and he has shows with many contemporary Icelandic artists. The oldest gallery is Café Mokka close to Laugarvegur and almost every artist young or old has exhibited there. It is the grandmother of all galleries in Iceland.  A great place where NOTHING has changed for the last 30 years exept for the pictures on the walls.

Young artists are coming up strong. The girls from The Icelandic Love Corporation were on the cover of SIKSI the nordic art-magazine followed with an article about those four young girls that are on the edge of becoming stars in Scandinavia, moving southwards. As well we have a young generation coming from NY and LA influenced from the two scenes in U.S.A.  Most kids still go to Europe to study their master-degree. We have The Icelandic Culture Enterprise with the curator Hannes Sigurdsson in the front, doing cross-projects at a large scale in Iceland. There is no such thing as art-magazines in Iceland.  There used to be but there is nothing today.


Starship 2: Subjeskie Point - Cover You Never Know
  1. Editorial #2 Starship, Martin Ebner, Ariane Müller, Gunter Reski, Hans-Christian Dany
  2. Auf der Stereotaxie Michaela Eichwald
  3. Annoncen Martine Anderfuhren, Rachel Mader
  4. Fotogramme Markus Amm
  5. Point of view Natascha Sadr Haghighian
  6. Minimal sorgt für mich Hans-Christian Dany
  7. Einige zerfahrenen Gedanken um die Berliner Institution Kunstwerke Ariane Müller
  8. Volltext mit Bildboom Gunter Reski
  9. Das Institut Ariane Müller
  10. Don Quixote Judith Hopf
  11. Digital Saniarts Florian Zeyfang
  12. Christine Lemke Christine Lemke
  13. 40.000 Mercedes Bunz, Stefan Heidenreich, Ariane Müller, Hans-Christian Dany, Gunter Reski
  14. Vis à vis Nicolas Siepen
  15. Reykjaviks city children Egill Saebjornsson
  16. Russian art and the economic crisis in Russia Joseph Backstein
  17. Kofferökonomie Gülsün Karamustafa, Ayse Öncü
  18. Poster Nathalie Richter
  19. Die Kuratorin als Toastmaster SMEK
  20. Immer wieder fragen Bücher Starship
  21. Tanzania Aids Marisa Maza, Hans-Jörg Dilger
  22. Photographie und Gedenken Diedrich Diederichsen
  23. Schieß deinen Schuß Ingo Niermann
  24. Fünf Seiten im Kopf eines Künstlers Ran Huber
  25. Mit Gitter zum Bild Burkhard Mönnich, Thomas Palme
  26. Ein Drehbuch für Silke Yilmaz Dwiezior
  27. Peter Fritz Infotage Gerhard Frommel
  28. Raumfahrt ’98 - zum Nutzen der Menschheit Frauke Gust
  29. Fotobearbeitung: Jan Timme Jan Timme
  30. SimSex Sven Barske
  31. Spekulantentheorie Jesko Fezer
  32. Kai Althoff Kai Althoff
  33. Stirbt der Mensch als Künstler - Teil 2 Dany Müller
  34. Foto Elke aus dem Moore Elke aus dem Moore
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