Steingrímur Eyfjörð Wins Top Icelandic Art Award:
Visual Arts Awards 2008
The Icelandic Visual Arts Awards were given out in a cereomny in Akureyri near the end of last month. Three artists were nominated – Ragnar Kjartansson, Margrét H. Blöndal and Steingrímur Eyfjörð – as well as three designers – Hjalti Geir Kristjánsson, Sigurður Eggertsson and Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir. The winners were Steingrímur Eyfjörð and Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir. The honorary award this year went to Steina Vasulka, an Icelandic artist who moved to New York in the 1960s and became one of the pioneers of video and electronic art.
Guðbjörg Kristín Ingvarsdóttir is a jewellery designer who has had remarkable success with product lines that derive their inspiration from various sources, Icelandic nature, history and literature among them. seemingly fragile and delicately constructed, her work is in fact meticulously designed to push the limits of the production process and yet remain practical for mass production.
Hjalti Geir Kristjánsson was one of Iceland's first educated furniture designers. He first studied cabinetmaking in Iceland and then in the late 1940s, travelled abroad to study design in Switzerland and Sweden. His furniture, manufactured in Iceland in the 1950s and 1960s, set a standar for elegance and practical execution, making fine Icelandic design affordable for the general public.
Sigurður Eggertsson is a young designer who has very rapidly placed himself among Iceland's best and established an international career. He was nominated for the graphic design work he did for the Sequences Time-Based Art Festival last year – remarkable posters and a complete font of type – but has also expanded his repertoire by designing for clothing manufacturers.
Margrét H. Blöndal was nominated for the second time to receive the award for visual arts. Margrét's delicate artwork has been seen in exhibitions in several countries and she has frequently exhibited in Iceland. We have covered her exhibitions here in List. Last year, however, she mounted her largest exhibition to date in the Reykjavík Art Museum, prompting another nomination from the selection committee.
Ragnar Kjartansson will also be familiar to regular readers of List. Just this summer his work could be seen in Manifesta 7 in trentino, Italy, and at the Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York. He has been selected to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale nexty year.
Steingrímur Eyfjörð was Iceland's representative at the last Venice Biennale, in 2007, and now receives the Visual Arts Award for 2008. Steingrímur has an extensive career behind him, having had his first exhibitions in the late 1970s and been a prominent figure on the exhibition scene ever since.
The Icelandic Visual Arts Awards are a joint project of the town of Akureyri, Form Iceland, and the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists. The aim is to grant annual awards in the field of visual arts and thereby bring attention to the contributions of artists and designers working in Iceland and of Icelandic visual artists abroad, increase the public’s knowledge of, interest in, and access to the visual arts, encourage the development of professional knowledge, and create a platform for the production of future work. Six artists, or groups of artists who usually work together, receive nominations in the two fields of art and design, in order to recognise their contribution to their respective disciplines during the twelve-month period prior to the nominations. Any artist or designer can be considered for these nominations who has exhibited works during this period or publicised them through some other means. Two of these nominees then each receive the Icelandic Visual Arts Award, as well as a prize in the amount of ISK 2,000,000. An Honorary Award is given every year to an artist or designer in recognition of his or her unique lifetime contributions to the visual arts. The awards were first given in 2006.
List: Icelandic Art News is published by the Center for Icelandic Art, a cooperative project of Iceland's museums and artists' organisations. List is edited by Christian Schoen and Jón Proppé. If you wish not to receive announcements of our new issues - or you want to contact us for any other reason - please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.