Friday, May 16, 2008

Art Festival

It is the Art Festival time in Reykjavik. It was officially opened yesterday and will continue till June 5th. There will be exhibitions, performances and concert programs. For almost a week before this event all major art galleries and museums were closed to public in preparation for the big opening. Today their doors were finally opened to the viewers. My friend and I hit all the major openings. In the course of the evening we:

  • Saw a young artist presenting her perfume; work of an elderly French gentleman, who, quoting his wife, is “obsessed with rocks, lava and women”; witnessed the attempt to melt lava, which almost ended up in an explosion after the artist accidentally set the cord connecting a blowtorch with a gas tank on fire; viewed an environmental exhibition “Endangered water”; poked an abstract installation made from stretchy nylon material, two part of which were balanced with 12 kg of lava stones and round pebbles; rocked in a hammock –like structures, and enjoyed the calming light of the candle.

  • Became convinced that most of the galleries prefer to keep their art offerings as mysterious as possible, and refuse to put titles anywhere near the exhibited pieces.

  • Discovered that some galleries offer champagne and sodas, some - stick to beer, and some offer the most unfortunate selection of wine. I suspect that free drinks are the major attraction of the Art Festival.

  • Noticed that Icelanders tend to stop and talk in the most inconvenient places, regardless if they on the way or not. (Perhaps the previous point explains this peculiar habit.)

  • Voted that the most entertaining show of all is people watching and the best place for it is the National Art Gallery.

The most surprising event of the evening – meeting with Doctor Ruth. Apparently, she is a special guest of the Art Festival and will give a talk on Sunday in the Reykjavik Art Museum. I am not sure what surprised me most - the fact that she was chosen as a special guest of the art festival in Iceland, the fact that I recognized her or the fact that she will give a talk in the art museum.

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