S7 – Suðurgata >> Árbær (not in service) is an exhibition and publication based on the cross-disciplinary artist initiative Gallery Suðurgata 7. The initiative, named after its location, ran from 1977 to 1982 in central Reykjavík. Organised by young artists at the time, the venue hosted a variety of cultural events, art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and performances and instigated a platform for critical dialogue with the publication and art magazine, Svart á hvítu [Black on White]. The project is an attempt to examine the history of the initiative and its’ importance as well as to contextualise it in contemporary art and thus shape a new narrative.
The project allows for an otherwise unlikely collaboration between two institutions, the artist run Living Art Museum and Reykjavik City Heritage Museum, the collaboration presupposes the project. The Living Art Museum keeps original documents about the gallery in its Archive of Artist-run Initiatives, while the Reykjavík City Museum preserves the building that housed the gallery in Árbær Open Air Museum, where it was relocated to in 1983 [see photograph].
Four emerging artists, Erla Silfá Þorgrímsdóttir, Hrafnhildur Helgadóttir, Sæmundur þór Helgason and Styrmir Örn Guðmunsson, have been invited to present site-specific work in three rooms of the building in the village of Reykjavik City Museum. The artists react on the multi-layered history of the building, its architecture and its museological context. In addition, individual works by artists Anna Hrund Másdóttir, Arna Óttarsdóttir, Arnar Ásgeirsson and Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson have been chosen to reflect on the staged period-rooms installed in other rooms of the building.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication documenting the story of gallery Suðurgata 7. Among other things, the publication contains an essay by Heiðar Kári Rannversson, where he reflects on the gallery in international context of artist-run spaces, and examines its chronicle using ideas in the art of the 70’s and 80’s in Reykjavík as a starting point. Editorial board consists of Heiðar Kári and Unnar Örn curator, as well as Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir, on behalf of the Living Art Museum and Bergsveinn Þórsson, programme manager at the Reykjavík City Museum. Arnar Freyr Guðmundsson designs the layout using the publication Svart á Hvítu as an inspiration.
The project is a collaboration between The Living Art Museum, Reykjavík City Museum and Reykjavík Art Festival.
S7 – Suðurgata >> Árbær (not in service) will open 1st June at Suðurgata 7, in the Reykjavik City Museum during Reykjavik Art Festival.