The Living Art Museum cordially welcomes you to the opening of Rolling Line, an exhibition spanning more than a decade of work and documentation by artist Ólafur Lárusson (1951 – 2014).
The exhibition will open Saturday March 18th between 2 – 6 o´clock, with the inauguration of The Living Art Museum’s new space at the harbour, in The Marshall House on Grandagarður 20, 101 Reykjavík.
Rolling Line spans more than a decade of work and documentation by artist Ólafur Lárusson (1951 – 2014). Ólafur was a prolific artist and an active participant in the icelandic art scene, which had come to a crossroad in the middle of the seventies; the same time his fascination with the camera had led him to bold experiments with the device as documentation, and also a platform to explore the boundaries of the medium.
Ólafur was in the group of fellow art students who resigned from their studies at The Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts (MHÍ) in 1974 in a push against stasis and headed off to the Netherlands to pursue further education at the notable Atelier ´63 in Haarlem.
After graduating from the school in 1976, Ólafur moved home to Iceland the same year and accepted an invitation to teach in the Department in Transition (Deild í mótun), a new department at MHÍ later called the New Art Department (Nýlistadeild), and where he would teach filmmaking.
Ólafur was one of the founding members of The Living Art Museum, Ólafur actively participated on the board during the initial years, while the museum found its footing. He was also one of the last artists taken into the SÚM group and a significant contributor to the progress of performance in Iceland.
This is the first time that Ólafur´s works are presented together to this extent, an attempt to open up a comprehensive view of the artist’s most productive years. The exhibition has gathered works from the collections of The Reykjavík Art Museum, The National Gallery of Iceland and The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum (Safnasafnið), amongst those in private collections and with Ólafur´s friends and contemporaries.
A publication will be released alongside Rolling Line, marking the occasion of the archival gift the museum has received from Ólafur´s family, containing a vast collection of material from his studio and active documentation. We hope that this effort, the exhibition and publication, will create a coherent contribution to the artist and his practice.
The exhibition presents the recording and documentation of Regnbogi I (Rainbow I), Ólafur´s momentous performance from the year 1978 in Gallery SÚM, which for some time was thought to be lost. It is also possible to see another version of the work, performed by Ólafur for The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service in 1980, marking the first time ever that a performance was screened on television in Iceland.
Ólafur´s artwork invites us into a sense of adventure and storytelling upon the heath and out in the moors. He was forthright and sought to break through the traditional framework of the media he chose, enabling his works to secure their own wings. It appears that the painting was always a natural source for him, although he spent most of his career resisting this very urge.
The works that reflect this battle are more often than not, the most exceptional ones. They are characterized by experimentation, playfulness and appear coincidental, like a bird that rushes by and encourages us to look back and pause a little longer. The timelessness attached to Ólafur´s artwork might be attributed to this unexpectedness, and the way the same impact travels through four decades ago to today.
Around 40 years prior, Ólafur stood upon a hill in the distance, aimed at us with a slingshot and shot high up into the air. Over the feathery-mossed slopes and black and white rainbow. We walk into a large hall and dandelion bouquets and roses pour over us. In between the trees we find the boundaries between the colourful mischievousness and the black and white resonance; what is left when all the pencil crayons in the case have been used up.
Curated by Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir & Becky Forsythe, exhibition design in collaboration with Thomas Pausz.
The exhibition is supported by The Museum Fund and Art Fund.