press release

Icelandic artist Rúrí (*1951 in Reykjavik) is one of the most important female artists in northern Europe. For almost four decades Rúrí has been in the forefront of Icelandic art as a performance artist, creator of installations, a media artist and a sculptor. Her audacity as an experimental artist has led to astounding achievements in the area of space and time.

After breaking down a golden Mercedes with a sledgehammer in Reykjavík’s busiest square, she dressed up in a mixed costume of the traditional Icelandic female costume and the Stars and Stripes at a large official meeting. These politically oriented actions marked a beginning of more subtle and intimate works where nature and infinity, moment and timelessness were redefined through ephemeral actions like Rainbow I, 1983, where a sky-high bamboo pole with a multi-colour linen banner, set ablaze, marked the zenith of a long performance, filmed as a document of a rite honoring life and nature.

In 2003 Archive – Endangered Waters, an interactive iron structure of an unusual intensity was mounted in the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003, comprising 52 transparent photopositives of waterfalls in Iceland, threatened by industrial activity in the highlands of the country. When pulled out, the images were accompanied with their particular sound, showing that each waterfall had its unique, invaluable character. Whether complex or simple, Rúrí’s ingenious structures tend to hit us in a decisive way, prohibiting them to fall prey to insignificant neutrality.

The exhibition shows the artist’s principal works, together with images of her most celebrated performances, about 100 works, large and small. The exhibition extends towards the show-room at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts with her major installation Paradise?-When?

Rúrí - retrospective
Kurator: Christian Schoen