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New Exhibitions in Town (October 2022)

National Gallery – Zanele Muholi

Opening on October 15 at the National Gallery of Iceland is an exhibition of the works of South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi. Muholi‘s powerful images capture the struggle for the rights of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex people in the artist‘s home country. Muholi gives a voice to those who have to battle daily for recognition of their identity.


More than 100 photographs, together with video works, provide insight into these marginalised communities: Muholi‘s sincere view focuses especially on identity politics, prohibitions, hate crime and rape, but also on pride, resistance, unity and love.


Kjarvalsstaðir – Guðjón Ketilsson: Jæja

The Icelandic phrase ‚jæja‘ can mean anything or nothing. It means nothing on its own, but it can carry a lot of weight, depending on the context. It can be a word of sympathy, a verbal smirk, or simply something to say to fill an awkward silence. 


Sculptor Guðjón Ketilsson channels this nuance into his new exhibition, Jæja. He creates works of art out of ordinary or mundane objects and gives them a new context, so their meanings change. Traditionally, he has created works composed of found furniture that he has treated in his own unique way, finely polished wooden objects that look like little-seen useful objects in a museum, highly detailed drawings of body parts, houses and buildings of all kinds, a collection of junk that he has collected and arranged as a whole, photographs of arranged objects and clothing – all kinds of clothing carved in wood, such as shoes, loincloths and hats. 


Jæja will run from October 1 through mid-January at Kjarvalsstaðir.


Hafnarhús – Norður og niður

Translated as Up and Down, this exhibition focuses on contemporary art in the Nordic region and features the work of around 30 artists from the Nordic region, Iceland, Canadian coastal areas, and the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. The artwork relay ideas related to the North: popular perceptions, climate change and environmental crisis, and the painful history of colonization of Indigenous peoples. 


The exhibition is a collaboration between three art museums, the Portland Museum of Art in the state of Maine in the USA, the Bildmuseet in Umeå in Sweden and the Reykjavík Art Gallery in Iceland. There, 30 artists show new works that deal with the changes that are taking place in society, nature and life in the Arctic at the beginning of the 21st century, and which are largely caused by climate change. The exhibition travels between partners from February 2022 to October 2023. It opens at Hafnarhús on October 13. 


Hafnarhús – Sigurður Guðjónsson

Video artist Sigurður Guðjónsson will represent Iceland at the 2022 international curated exhibition Venice Biennale. Known for his voluminous video works where image, sound and space form an unbroken whole, Sigurður has made a name for himself in Iceland as one of the leading contemporary artists. He mainly focuses on the functionality of various equipment, where the viewer is lured into a world of soothing repetition, rhythm and order, and the boundaries between the human and the mechanical become blurred.


Sigurður Guðjónsson was born in 1975 in Reykjavík. He studied at Billedskolen in Copenhagen 1998-1999, Iceland Academy of Arts 2000-2003 BA and Akademie Der Bildenden Kunste in Vienna 2004. He was chosen Visual Artist of the Year 2018.


The exhibition in Hafnarhús, which opens on October 20, presents the artist’s new and older works that introduce Sigurðar’s unique artistic creation to the audience. 


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