The exhibition presents a selection of Icelandic art from the collections of the Reykjavík Art Museum. The works, which span a period of 73 years, are not curated here in terms of a historical overview or thematic approach: here the works of different artists are juxtaposed two or three together  in order to highlight the similarities or affinities between them.

In comparative literature the word affinity is used with reference to resemblances in sentences or phrases. By the same token, one may see affinities in visual art where the structure or composition of works of art displays similarities.

A painting of a door by Þorri Hringsson may thus be compared with a geometrical abstract by Þorvaldur Skúlason: Þorri objectifies the form, while Þorvaldur rejects all allusion to external reality. There is no door in Þorvaldur’s painting, yet the oblique lines seem to rotate the forms, opening them up to the light which floods in, just as the light shines in at the doorway in Þorri’s painting.

Another form of affinity may be discerned through a comparison of themes or content, rather than structure. That applies, for instance, to works by Gunnlaugur Blöndal, Róska and Jóhanna Kristín Yngvadóttir. The subject is comparable, while the image of the woman is strikingly dissimilar in these three works: the affinities bring out the contrasts.

The relationships between the works in the exhibition are random, and do not reflect direct influence or conscious allusion. In most cases the artists have little in common: they lived at different times and found inspiration in different ideas and artistic trends.

Yet all are branches of the same tree. As artists they face comparable choices, and sometimes we may discern affinities in their works which bring us a new insight and reveal what lies behind the art.

(Curator: Hafþór Yngvason)

Guided tours in English every Friday at 1 p.m..

Images of exhibition

Images from opening