Water Carrier

Water Carrier

Water Carrier




During the last few yers, a group of nonconformist artists has, at regular intervals, come together for exhibitions of watercolours. The objective of these exhibitions has always been more important than the individuals involved, namely the celebration of the ancient art of the watercolour; thus the make-up of the group has varied from year to year. Yet particular credit should be given to painters Daði Guðbjörnsson, Eiríkur Smith and Hafsteinn Austmann for their part in organizing these exhibitions.

Their devotion is an offshoot of their art, for in recent years few Icelandic artists have contributed as much as they have to the development of the modern watercolour. Purism has never been part and parcel of the objective of these exhibitions. Though there are many who still believe that the aquarelle, the joint creation of artist and water, is the only sacrament worth cherishing, art history tells a different story. When there was much at stake, even the great masters of the aquarelle were not above using unorthodox methods such as applying body colour to accentuate the whiteness of the paper or scratch its surface with a knife to get extra lights. None of the artists present need to prove that they are capable of working towards the light without such subterfuges; water and natural pigments are the only requirements.

Thus, in this exhibition, you will find painters using water soluble colours on canvas, gouaches on paper, watercolours with embroidery and of course classic aquarelles. The subject matter is equally varied; there are impressions from nature, studies of people and social situations, conceptual works, pure fantasies and even depictions seldom seen outside the pages of medical journals. It is safe to say that, like the famous beer, these works manage to reach places that other forms of art cannot. As a tribute to sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, the exhibition bears the name one of his most famous, and controversial, public sculptures. The artists and curator would like to thank Hafþór Yngvason, Director of the Reykjavik Art Museum, for his encouragement and asistance.

Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson