Ongoing Exhibitions:

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.

Further information:


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.

Further information:


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.

Further information:


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.)

Further information:


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.

Further information:


Previous Exhibitions:

Veröld – House of Vigdís 17 January 2019 – 30 June 2019  and in the National and University Library of Iceland

When the ship Gustav Klimt arrived in Ísafjörður in August 1925, it drew a lot of attention as there were more than a hundred people on board.  It was not unusual for a ship to come into the harbour, of course, but on this occasion it was bearing guests rarely seen, even though they were neighbours, for in addition to the Danish crew, the eighty-nine passengers were Greenlanders. Most of them were from East Greenland, more specifically from the region around Ammassalik, while a further dozen or so were from West Greenland.

This first visit by Greenlanders to Iceland and first encounter between the two nations was covered in detail in Icelandic newspapers, and has often been recalled since. It played a major role in increasing understanding between the two nations.

The Exhibition will be in the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages and in the National and University Library of Iceland, from 17 January until 30 June 2019.


1 December 2018 –  2 February 2019

2014 saw the new Danish translation of the complete edition of the Icelandic Sagas, featuring 40 illustrations for 40 of the sagas by the artist, Karin Birgitte Lund. The drawings are being exhibited here as part of the exhibition series that commemorates the 100th anniversary of Iceland’s independence. The exhibition was opened by H.M. Queen Margrethe of Denmark, on 1 December 2018.

The drawings illustrate the sagas, using motifs from Viking and medieval Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The artist’s interpretation provides an impression of the fascinating aesthetic of those periods. The pictures are inspired by medieval Icelandic manuscripts, frescoes from Danish churches, Norwegian stave churches and Gotland’s picture stones.

The exhibition also includes a series of brand new, large-scale drawings inspired by the era of the sagas.

Karin Birgitte Lund was born in Copenhagen in 1946, and from 1967 to 1973 studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She was awarded the Eckersberg Medal in 1997, and the Danish Arts Foundation’s Honorary Bursary in 2004. She designed and illustrated the new series of Danish banknotes.

The exhibition is on the second floor of Veröld – House of Vigdís and is open from 11am to 4pm on weekdays.


17 April 2017 – 15 December 2018

The inaugural exhibition in the new home of the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute, Veröld – House of Vigdís, explores in a range of media the life, work and causes of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.
The exhibition recounts Vigdís’ student years abroad and her career as a teacher of French, a tour guide, and manager of the Reykjavík Theatre
Company, then explores her many-faceted role as President of Iceland 1980–96, and all the good works she has done since leaving office – for instance as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and with the Institute of Foreign Languages which bears her name.

The exhibition also provides insight into interests and causes that are dear to Vigdís’ heart; visitors will see some of her favourite books, along with quotations and poetry; and observe the Friendship Forest at Þingvellir grow and flourish. Visitors are encouraged to participate in dialogue with Vigdís: to take seat in the blue theatre chairs and contemplate concepts such as: honesty, human rights, culture, knowledge, equality, language, progress, broad-mindedness and education.

VIMIUC – Vigdís International Centre
for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding

Háskóli Íslands
Brynjólfsgötu 1
107 Reykjavík
s: 525 4191 / 525 4281
Kt. 600169-2039
Hér erum við!


Veröld – hús Vigdísar 9:00-17:00