D48 Dýrfinna Benita Basalan: Langa­vit­leysan – Chronic Pain

D48 Dýrfinna Benita Basalan: Langavitleysan – Chronic Pain

D48 Dýrfinna Benita Basalan: Langavitleysan – Chronic Pain



In her exhibition Langavitleysa - Chronic Pain, Dýrfinna Benita raises questions about collective memory and everyday reality in its straightforward and challenging form.

The installation is inspired by the concept of "good bad" – something that may be painful to experience, but may ultimately be for the better. Also, by the childhood memories of the artist in the suburb of Breiðholt, where distinctive walls separate private spaces from public areas, and playgrounds are surrounded by apartment buildings with countless windows. The walls of the gallery are adorned with drawings that act as windows into the artist's world, which encompasses her family and other Filipino immigrants in Breiðholt – an under-represented world.

Me against the World, 2022,Graphite pencil, colored pencil, black ink and oil pastel on paper

The exhibition's double title reflects the duality experienced by Dýrfinna Benita as a mixed individual. It portrays a reality in which she enjoys the privileges of being Icelandic while belonging to marginalized groups. While "Langavitleysa" is a multilayered and playful word, "chronic pain" is the English term for long-lasting pain, something that the artist and many others are familiar with. The two-fold title arises from the artist's need to make herself palatable to the white Icelandic middle-class audience through humor or irony, while also providing an opportunity for uninhibited sincerity in a safe space among those who understand or experience being an outsider.

Those familiar with Breiðholt know that Langavitleysa is a nickname for a 320-meter-long apartment building in Fellin that divides the neighborhood like a barrier. Langavitleysa is also the name of a card game that can take forever to play and revolves around two players trumping each other until one ends up with all the cards and wins the game. Luck must be on the players side as the fate of the game lies in the cards laid on the table. With this exhibition, Dýrfinna Benita reflects on those who belong to marginalized groups and questions whether balance can be achieved. Here, she utilizes her own privileges as an artist with a platform for exhibiting in a public museum to capture a reality that has hardly been visible in Icelandic art until now.

Disparity , 2023, Steel, ship paint, wood.

The see-saw's structure represents the imbalanced societal dynamics, with one end elevated and the other grounded. This visual metaphor emphasizes the disparity in wealth and resources that persistently affects communities worldwide. The artist's intention is to shed light on the challenging realities faced by marginalized individuals. Dedicated to the artist's mother, who, as a Filipino immigrant and single mother, has endured a lifelong struggle with poverty and health issues, particularly kidney failure. This sculpture aims to honor her inspiring qualities and draw attention to the countless individuals who persevere with grace and generosity, even in the face of adversity.

Dýrfinna Benita Basalan (b.1992) was born and raised in Iceland. In 2018, she graduated from Gerrit Rietveld Academie with a B.A. in Art and Design and has had and active artistic practice and worked across various media. In her practice she draws inspiration from different countercultures, manga, queer culture and her personal experiences as a mixed race person. Along with Melanie Ubaldo and Darren Mark, Dýrfinna is one of the three members of the art group Lucky 3, who won the motivational award of the Icelandic Art Prize in 2022. Reykjavik Art Museum‘s D-Gallery exhibition series started in 2007. Emerging artists, who are shaping the local contemporary art scene, are invited to hold their first solo exhibition in a public museum. Dýrfinna is the 48th artist to exhibit in the series.

From the opening



Aldís Snorradóttir