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A journey through

Iceland’s art scene

A compendium of visits around the island, this is the first book of its kind, featuring 256 pages mapping out Iceland’s artistic landscape by introducing its key artists, curators, framers, collectors and gallerists as well as art spaces, outdoor artworks and museums. Discover the capital’s buzzing art life as well as art projects in abandoned lighthouses, an artist colony in the island’s far-away east and what it means to live, work, and create on a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Iceland is an intriguing place for artists. You’re a little bit out of the art market, as there are not many internationally operating galleries. Some may see that as a problem, but it’s also an advantage. It pushes artists to be very creative and do things themselves, like running their own art spaces. The art scene is not as structured as elsewhere but it’s all the more interesting for it.

Gústav Geir BollasonFounder of art space Verksmiðjan

It’s a small place at the end of the world but you can always find somebody who knows someone. Everything feels at a hand’s reach.

Ragnar KjartanssonArtist

We all come back. There is a strong pull that is difficult to shake. It’s cold and dark but it pushes you to be more focused. I really evolved as an artist after I moved back.

Sara RielArtist

I guess Icelanders have been striving to become like everyone else. There is this weird struggle between maintaining your identity as the art scene that has no history, no money, no collectors, and no galleries, which was very much the case for the second half of the 20th century, and wanting to be one of the big boys.

Markús Þór AndréssonCurator

There’s a homely security about being an artist in Iceland. People know you exist, and that you’re an artist. In Berlin you just disappear.

Freyja EilífFounder of art space Ekkisens

It’s fantastic to witness the growth of the scene here. We’ve been lonely for way too long.

Börkur ArnasonOwner of i8 gallery