“Claiming art spaces adds a level of drama”
“Art culture is important, otherwise our lives would be very flat and uninteresting.”
38-year-old painter Þrándur Þórarinsson was showing his work in Gallery Port in Reykjavik when we interviewed him in the summer.
His “old masterly” style depicts historical events in Iceland in new thought provoking ways, for example, in the painting we saw he had turned ‘the situation’ a period during the second world war when Icelandic women were dating foreign soldiers on its head by showing instead a female soldier and a male admirer.
“Recently I have been making political points in my paintings, it’s a fairly new development in my art.”
His other works have included interpretations of financial institutions in Iceland and it’s current tourist situation.
He said the influx of tourists lately has had a positive impact on the local art market in the sense that there was more money in the country and therefore more money to spend on paintings, however, in other ways the art scene has had to change and is being pushed out of the centre.
“When I started my career you could find empty spaces here downtown and throw up some exhibition. That’s becoming increasingly hard or impossible to do, there are not many empty spaces any more. There used to be quite a lot more art galleries here in downtown Reykjavik, now they are moving out to the periphery.”
Þrándur’s first solo show was in an abandoned building in the city, and he believes that claiming spaces in that way especially as an up and coming artist adds a level of interest and drama to the exhibition while also providing a way to show your work if it is getting declined by the establishment.
“Finding spaces on your own can be quite a clever way if museums or galleries decline you – you have to figure something else out.”
Although he concedes it is getting harder to do that in downtown Reykjavik with the prices rising as steeply as they are.
Find out more about Þrándur here.
Words by Beth Cherryman