Sleppa lei­arkerfi.

Gunnhildur Hauksdottir

Gunnhildur Hauksdˇttir is one of the young artists who, in 1999 ‘took over’ a small derelict house in the center of Reykjavik, in Skuggahverfid (the District of Shadows) just off the city’s busiest shopping streets.


The house, old and scheduled to make way for a new development of high-rise apartment houses, had in recent years been home to Samt÷kin 78, the Icelandic Association of Lesbians and Gay Men. The young artists, most of them still studying at the Icelandic Academy of Arts, saw an opportunity and they seized it. They painted the house yellow and called it, simply, the Yellow House. For about a year it was the focus of a loosely-knit group of creative young people pursuing their art, music and social life with a vitality that contrasted sharply with the derelict surroundings. The house is now gone, the high-rises have been built and the artists have gone on to pursue their careers in the wider world.

Gunnhildur’s activities since then reflect the strong connections made by Icelandic artists in the 1970s with Fluxus and the European avant-garde. A member of the nebulous but well-connected Dieter Roth Academy since 2000, ‘under the guidance of Bj÷rn Roth’, she moved on from the Art Academy in Reykjavik to pursue further studies at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Gunnhildur's work retains a lot of the characteristics associated with the Yellow House group, most obviously perhaps the use of cheap materials and rough execution. They have an air of impermanence – a ‘temporary’ air reflecting the urgency associated with an art space that was always operating just days ahead of the wrecking crew. Her most recent exhibition, in the Kling & Bang Gallery, is a good example – an installation made of carpenter’s foam, store-bought baby bottles and electrical wiring. The result, however, is a thoughtful meditation on dependency and the rampant consumerism that reduces us all to the developmental stage of infants, being fed our culture and identity through an increasingly automated delivery system promising instant gratification at the risk of our losing all initiative and creative engagement. Her 2002 installation ‘The Adorer and the Adored’ is a similarly executed examination of the symbiotic relationship between viewer and performer, artist and public.


More of Gunnhildur Hauksdottir's work can be seen on her website at:

Gunnhildur Hauksdˇttir: ‘The Adorer and the Adored’, 2002, examines the symbiotic relationship between viewer and performer, artist and public.
From Gunnhildur's latest exhbition in Kling & Bang Gallery, Pelab÷rn (Bottle Babies).

 #4 [August 2005]


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