press release

Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 announces (I)ndependent People, a large-scale collaborative international visual arts project that will involve many of Reykjavík's exhibition spaces, museums, galleries, and public spaces during the festival season and throughout the summer. Focusing on contemporary visual art from the Nordic and Baltic region, (I)ndependent People asks if and how collaboration can operate in a continual negotiation between contesting ideas and desires, yet allowing unplanned and transformative action. All participating artists are engaged in established or temporary joint ventures, that serve as a dynamic investigation of artistic subjectivity and authorship.

The extensive project brings together 29 artist-collectives with the collaboration of over 100 participants. (I)ndependent People is curated by Swedish curator and theorist Jonatan Habib Engqvist and made possible through exchange and collaborative undertakings between a cluster of museums, galleries, artist-run spaces and institutions.

Several projects will be realised during the course of the exhibitions, some with uncertain results. "By putting the 'I' in parenthesis and giving up the authorship of a singular artistic Subject, a specific uncertainty is created and another, hybrid identity is made possible. The in-between state of such collaboration can become a site for social and cultural change. This temporary in-between space created in Reykjavík will serve as a platform for ideas yet to be imagined, examined and constructed. It's a position that can be portrayed as ambiguous and indefinable, but these very qualities often make contemporary art worth putting our hopes in" says curator Jonatan Habib Engqvist.

Participating artist groups are: 1857, A kassen, Anonymous, AIM Europe, Box, Endemi, Goksøyr & Martens, IC98, The Icelandic Love Corporation, Institut før Degeneret Kunst, Jóna Hlíf Halldórsdóttir & Hlynur Hallsson, Kling & Bang, Learning Site & Jaime Stapleton, M.E.E.H., Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas + MIT 4.333, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidsson, No Gods No Parents (UKS), NÝLÓ & Archive of Artist Run Initiatives, Raflost & Steina, Sofia Hultén & Ivan Seal, Superflex, The Artist Formerly Known as Geist, The Awareness Muscle Team, The Leyline Project, The New Beauty Council with Elin Strand Ruin, Thérèse Kristiansson, Mariana Alves & Katarina Bonnevier, Útúrdúr, Wooloo.

Several trajectories of collaborative and artist-initiated practices from the region, reaching over 40 years, serve as background to questions such as: Do we share common, 'alternative' histories in the Nordic region? If so, what are they and is it relevant to peruse these connections today? How have these networks changed over time? Is it possible, or even desirable, to create dynamic and sustainable collaborations? These questions, and more, will be addressed in a seminar on May 20 in the Nordic House with, among others, Sara Arrhenius, Jon Proppe, Signal, and participating artists.

Exhibition venues are: Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland, the Nordic House, Kling & Bang, the Living Art Museum, the Icelandic Sculpture Association, ASÍ Art Museum and public space in downtown Reykjavík. In addition, several independent projects are participating, including HORIZONIC, curated by Emeline Eudes and Ásdís Ólafsdóttir in LA Art Museum; a two-man show curated by Chris Fite-Wassilak in i8 gallery; and an artist-book project by Art in Translation. A real-time video of the twelve-hour performance "Bliss" by Ragnar Kjartansson and a large group of collaborators will be installed in the National Theatre of Iceland and MESSA Vision.

After successful festivals in 2005 and 2008 with focus on visual arts, curated by Jessica Morgan and Björn Roth (2005) and Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ólafur Elíasson (2008), the visual arts program of this year's festival is produced in collaboration between the Reykjavík Arts Festival, Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland, the Nordic House, the Living Art Museum and the Icelandic Art Center.

The collaboration has been expanded further to include Art Nord, Endemi, EDDA Center of Excellence, Kling & Bang, the Icelandic Sculpture Association, SÍM, Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, Reykjavík University, the Iceland Academy of Arts, MIT Boston, Torpedo Press and Art in Translation. Parts of the project by Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S Davidson is produced in collaboration between The Living Art Museum and Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway.

(I)ndependent People Reykjavík Arts Festival 18 May–3 June 2012

(I)ndependent People
Reykjavik Arts Festival 2012
Kurator: Jonatan Habib Engqvist

Künstler: 1857 , AKassen , Anonymous , AIM Europe , Box , Endemi , Goksoyr & Martens, IC98 , The Icelandic Love Corporation , Institut for Degeneret Kunst , Jona Hlif Halldorsdottir & Hlynur Hallsson, Kling & Bang, Learning Site  & Jaime Stapleton, M.E.E.H. , Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas + MIT 4.333 , Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidsson, No Gods No Parents  (UKS), NYLO  & Archive of Artist Run Initiatives , Raflost & Steina, Sofia Hulten & Ivan Seal, Superflex , The Artist Formerly Known as Geist , The Awareness Muscle Team , The Leyline Project , The New Beauty Council  / Elin Strand Ruin, Therese Kristiansson, Mariana Alves & Katarina Bonnevier, Uturdur , Wooloo