Alicja Kwade inaugurates the new i8 Grandi gallery in the former fish factory in Reykjavik
Alicja Kwade is the first artist to present an exhibition in Reykjavik’s new gallery i8 Grandi, which will host year-long exhibitions evolving over time
Iceland may be better known for its natural beauty than its art scene, but the opening of a multidisciplinary arts space in Reykjavik should bring new gravity to the capital’s budding position in the art world. . i8 Gallery, one of the most established art galleries in the Nordics, has opened an epic second space across the harbor from its current location. The new i8 Grandi is located in Marshall House, a cultural center within a historic factory in Grandi’s harbor district, which is also home to the Living Art Museum, the non-profit Kling & Bang gallery, as well as the studio deprived of Olafur Eliasson. Its two sprawling floors will be devoted to exhibitions throughout the year, each devoted to a single artist.
“I was involved in the transformation of the fishing factory building into an art space in 2017, together with Ásmundur Hrafn Sturluson and Steinþór Kári Kárason of Kurtogpí Architects,” recalls i8 Gallery co-founder Börkur Arnarson. “Drawing inspiration from spaces such as the Löwenbräukunst in Zurich, we thought Reykjavik could use a versatile art space. In the nearly five years that the building has been open, I have considered its potential for various projects, and the idea of long-term, single-artist exhibitions is an exciting concept for i8 to undertake in this space.
i8 Grandi is located in the Marshall House, Reykjavik. Photography: by Ari Magg Courtesy of i8 Gallery, Reykjavik
The gallery’s new long-term presentation model is particularly suitable, given the current situation in the art world. “As the art world only seems to be speeding up, we thought it would be interesting to offer artists the opportunity to truly slow down. With an exhibition spanning a calendar year, we can deliver an exhibition that is viewable much longer than other gallery and museum exhibitions,” says Arnarson. “As part of this, there is a unique approach to moving the works during the exhibition: it will be fluid, sometimes growing and sometimes shrinking throughout the duration of the view. Local visitors can see several iterations of shows, and people who only visit Iceland once a year will have the chance to experience a dedicated exhibition. This format allows all visitors, whether it is their first or fifth visit, to come away with a keen sense of the artist and his practice beyond what a typical gallery exhibition can offer.
i8 Grandi’s inaugural exhibition “In Relation to the Sun” is by Polish-born Berlin artist Alicja Kwade, whom i8 gallery has represented for a decade. Throughout the year, Kwade will reconfigure the elements and adapt the works of the show, emphasizing his recurring themes of space, time, science and philosophy. The exhibition features key works, including his mixed media installation Connectivity of Ouroboros Forceless Bodies (2010), as well as new works on paper and sculptures from last year.
Alicja Kwade, Connectivity of Forceless Bodies Ouroboros2010 mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik
‘[Alicja] was a natural fit to inaugurate our new space as her practice deals with issues of time, space, and conceptual considerations,” says Arnarson. “She’s a brilliant artist and she has an incredible mastery of scale and form. i8 Grandi allows us to provide ample space for Alicja to present her sculptural installations, as she is particularly adept in her approach to large works.
He concludes: “The ideas of space and time were intrinsically linked to i8 Grandi from the start. The exposure time gives [itself] to reflections on measurement, and, while much of the world has come to a standstill over the past couple of years, the consideration of time seems more relevant than ever. §