august, 2019

29aug16:4529oct17:00Transitions / Vistabönd(august 29) 16:45 - (october 29) 17:00 Veröld - House of Vigdís Event Organized By: University of Iceland and Vigdís Institute and International Centre Event Type :Event

Event Details

Photo: Part of The Swan People by Kristín Ómarsdóttir


The exhibition Transitions / Vistabönd opened in Veröld – House of Vigdís August 29 and will be on display until October 29. The participants are the composer Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, the artists Karlotta Blöndal, Olivia Plender, Unnar Örn and Ragnar Kjartansson, and the author Kristín Ómarsdóttir. With one exception, they all have in common the link of having been artists in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada, or have had work exhibited there. The exhibition has been set up in association with the conference Migration/Vistaskipti that will take place in the University of Iceland, in collaboration with the University of Manitoba, on 29-30 August. Though its exhibits reflect the varying subject matter of the creative artists, they display nonetheless the strong connection between man and nature. Very different localities become the source for art that expresses itself in various forms and media, and the exhibition consists of visual images, texts and music.


ANNA ÞORVALDSDÓTTTIR  Icelandic composer b. 1977, lives and works in London, UK.

In Anna’s work, the world of sound is often vast and readily inspired by the developing ratios of nature and landscape. METACOSMOS is inspired by a natural balance between beauty and disarray and how a convincing whole can coalesce from elements that at first sight seem unconnected and discordant.  The spark that ignited this work is a kind of metaphor based on the idea of falling into a black hole—the unknown—with its innumerable combinations of adverse powers that connect and interact, expand away from and contract into the other. These diverse elements contend with each other, are pulled in all directions, as man slowly realises he is drawn into a natural force over which he has no control.

METACOSMOS was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and performed in April 2018, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The work was later performed by the Berlin Philharmonic in Europe in 2019, conducted by Alan Gilbert and by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 2019, conducted by Daníel Bjarnason. It has been performed by other orchestras since then, for example by the San Francisco Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic and is scheduled for more orchestras in the coming years.

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KARLOTTA BLÖNDAL Icelandic artistb. 1973, lives and works in Reykjavik.

Woven is a presentation from a research residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada, 2018. The project was to research historical records and attempt to use material from local resources to bridge the gaps between two locations and time spans through artistic methods.

The starting point or, “transfer object,” was a life-size photograph of a woven basket from the mid-seventeenth century made by Fjalla-Eyvindur, a well-known outlaw in the highlands of Iceland, who was also renowned for his craftsmanship. The basket is on display at the National Museum of Iceland.

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KRISTÍN ÓMARSDÓTTIR Icelandic author b. 1962, has written poetry, novels and plays. Kristín’s works have been published or displayed both in Iceland and abroad. She has also taken part in art exhibitions and in collaborative works with other artists.

The Swan People are watercolours painted from 2018 to 2019. They were completed while the novel The Swan People was being written. No one knows what came first, the chicken or the egg, the drawings or the text, but the characters suddenly appeared on the scene on a Sunday in midwinter, almost certainly under the influence of Dimmalimm by Mugg, Guðmundur Thorsteinsson (1891-1924). The novel will be published in the near future.

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RAGNAR KJARTANSSON Icelandic artist b. 1976, lives and works in Reykjavík.

From the Valley of World-Weariness in British Columbia are watercolours painted by Ragnar while on a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in Alberta, where they were exhibited. “Originally, I intended just to present a video work, but after having produced the watercolour paintings  from the heart of the world’s weariness in uninhabited British Columbia, I felt they complemented each other really well,” says Ragnar. “I got to grips with the world’s weariness and this romantic longing by wearing winter clothing and walking far into this gigantic valley that was destroyed in the forest fire of 2003.  It is littered with dead, charred trees. The conditions certainly had a tremendous influence. There was snow and biting cold and I couldn’t handle working any longer than on the pictures I completed. I’d paint one picture, then have a coffee and a cigarette to warm myself. The water froze on my brush,” says the artist, and shudders at the coldness of his memories. (From an interview with Ragnar Kjartansson by Einar Falur Ingólfsson in Morgunblaðið, 15 December 2011.)

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UNNAR ÖRN Icelandic artist b. 1974, lives and works in Reykjavik.

OLIVIA PLENDER British artist b. 1977, lives and works in London and Stockholm.

The Gods Present to Us the Artefact. Two photographs of objects in a collection capture our attention and lead us into a video by Olivia Plender and Unnar Örn, which focuses on the narration and interpretation of history. The narration of the film is a contemporary folklorist giving a lecture on one of the supposed founders of the National Museum of Denmark. The character that she describes is a nineteenth-century antiquarian, who, like many scholars in those days, adapted facts to suit his view of the world. Plender and Örn are particularly interested in the development of national identity that took place during the Romantic movement of the early nineteenth century and its influence on Scandinavian cultural history. Their work evidences how archeologists, then and now, create connections between artefacts in order to write historical narratives.

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August 29 (Thursday) 16:45 - October 29 (Tuesday) 17:00


Veröld - House of Vigdís


University of Iceland and Vigdís Institute and International Centre