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“Artist run spaces have more freedom”

“Artist run spaces have more freedom”



Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir

“Artist run spaces always have more freedom, it gives the artist an opportunity to kind of work without the influence of what it’s supposed to be which can happen in more commercial spaces and to do more interesting things.”

That was the opinion of artist Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir, 47, when we met her last summer in the newly rehoused Kling og Bang gallery in Reykjavik.

Hekla whose work includes installations, videos and photographs helped establish the artist run initiative in 2003.

“What I appreciate the most is that we are still artist run, it’s still volunteer work almost entirely, members want to have a say in what’s being shown in the gallery. The ones who do the most work are the ones who have the most control over what’s being shown, it’s a nice way to run things, it makes sense.”

Kling og Bang has had several homes since it was founded but its most recent is supported by the city.

She told us: “This was the most positive thing the city has done, to support this house, it’s the most positive feedback from the city, it’s very important for this area, artist run spaces are the ones that keep things going.”

“Sometimes the artists who show here are young, sometimes they are developing a little bit, we always think it’s fresh art they’re making.”

“I hope we continue working in the same way we have been and making the art the most important thing…it’s so easy to get institutionalised.”

Hekla feels art and in particular fine arts are enjoying a resurgence in Iceland, she said that although financially things can be challenging popularity in art is on the up and the future looks very positive.

“Reykjavik is more artist run than most places. What’s missing is that we don’t have any market here for art, but an art market can also be negative.”

“Of course financial things have influence but also some kind of fashion, fine arts were not in fashion at all and were not really nurtured in Iceland. Now there is a more positive view on fine arts than I have seen ever before.”

For more information about Kling og Bang visit http://this.is/klingogbang/.

Words by Beth Cherryman

Lost Shoe Collective Film Production Company