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Reykjavķk Grapevine

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Reykjavķk Grapevine

						Kolabrautin is on 4th floor Harpa

Order a table in phone 519 9700

info@kolabrautin.is

www.kolabrautin.is

Whether you experience our  surprising neo?Nordic influenced cuisine, or have a drink at 

our renowned cocktail bar while enjoying one of the best panoramic views in Reykjavík, 

an evening at Kolabrautin is truly a feast for all the senses.

ICELANDIC PRODUCE

MEDITERRANEAN TRADITIONS.

20The Reykjavík Grapevine Issue 3 ? 2013

The Artists Are Present 

Recent art school grads open a new breed of art gallery at Kunstschlager

Like many good things, the gallery was the 

product of opportunity and good timing. 

Gallery co-founder and recent art graduate 

Steinunn Harðardóttir set the process into mo-

tion one day while browsing Barnaland (https://

bland.is/) for something fun to buy and came 

across a post for a large, cheap space adver-

tised as being good for artists. She rang up 

some artist friends to go check out the space 

and eventually they signed a lease together. 

 It was only afterwards that the idea of a 

gallery occurred to the group, which con-

sists of Steinunn, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir, 

Baldvin Einarsson, Claudia Hausfeld, Guðlaug 

Mía Eyþórsdóttir and Helgi Þórsson. ?In the 

beginning we thought we would also use the 

upstairs for studios, but then we decided to do 

something else in that space,? Helgi said. ?I 

had in mind for a long time that if I rented out a 

studio, I could have part of it as a showroom. I 

think we were all thinking the same.?

 This common sentiment among the artists 

was largely borne from a sense that something 

was missing. ?There aren?t that many opportu-

nities and there are very few places to display 

art,? Helgi continued. Guðlaug agreed, citing 

her own ambivalence upon graduation from 

art school. ?You basically have to do every-

thing on your own and that?s exactly what we 

did,? she said. ?We were very lucky to have this 

opportunity because three of us just graduat-

ed. Either you do it yourself or you wait 10?15 

years to get into a museum.?

ACCESS PASSING

While there?s nothing surprising about the can-

do DIY attitude of the young art community, 

it was surprising to hear that this was borne 

more out of necessity than desire, as Reykja-

vík has a reputation for fostering artistic events 

and talent. The Kunstschlager team took issue 

with this, however, pointing out that decent 

gallery spaces for emerging artists are few and 

far between. ?For a consumer, it might seem 

like there is a lot going on, but for someone 

who needs a platform to show their art, there?s 

not much,? Claudia said. 

 Aside from a few free galleries that mainly 

show more established artists, such as the Liv-

ing Art Museum and ASÍ, there are no spaces 

for emerging talent to gain visibility and have 

the chance to sell their works, having either 

closed (Crymo, Klósett) or been run ineffec-

tively (Dvergur). Most exhibitions take place 

in state-run museums, which rotate 

every three months and charge 

admission. Kunstschlager 

aims to fill this gap by stay-

ing open for three hours 

every day except Sun-

day, rotating exhibits on 

a monthly basis and not 

charging for entrance.

 The art bazaar is set up 

partially as a strategy to 

sustain the gallery financially, 

but mainly to provide a way for 

people to purchase art by emerging 

talents at a reasonable price. ?Art is actually 

quite hard to get,? Guðlaug said. ?We wanted 

to make a venue where that could happen eas-

ily without having to go to a fancy gallery.? 

There they also feature an ?Artist of the Week,? 

a creative solution they came up with to deal 

with the high demand for exhibitions.

MORE, MORE, MORE

The group behind Kunstschlager had several 

ideas on how the local art-scape could improve, 

including more foreign exhibitors to break up 

the repetition of featured names, more diversi-

ty of spatial use and cooperation between art-

ists to establish locations, and more colour, risk 

and extravagance in the content of exhibitions.

 Their most resonant desire, of course, was 

funding. Although the group have recently re-

ceived a modest grant from the City of Reykja-

vík, they have all had to continue working day 

jobs to maintain the gallery, which prevents 

them from extending their opening hours. 

?The art world definitely needs more money,? 

Helgi said. ?I think if there was more money 

then there would be more spaces, more buyers 

and more foreign artists. It would just lead to 

more in general.?

 - REBECCA LOUDER

To the untrained eye, Reykjavík appears to be a city with no lack of space devoted to art. For emerging artists, however, it can feel like a 

bastion for the privileged. One group of recent graduates from Iceland?s Academy of the Arts transformed their frustrations about the 

inaccessibility of the art world into their own haven?a multifold space including a gallery, an art bazaar and studio space which they 

called Kunstschlager.

?

?

Either you do it 

yourself or you wait 

10?15 years to get 

into a museum

Alísa Kalyanova

ARTGallery Kunstschlager is located at Rauðarárstígur 1, next to Hlemmur. It?s open Monday to Saturday from 15:00 to 18:00.  For more info check kunstschlager.com.

					
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