OCTOBER 11th - 20th




Sequences real time art festival is an artist run biennial held in Reykjavík, Iceland. The aim of the festival is to produce and present progressive visual art. Founding members of and responsible for Sequences are Kling & Bang galleri (est. 2003), the Living Art Museum (est. 1978) and the Icelandic Art Center. Sequences is a non-profit organisation.

c/o Icelandic Art Center

Gimli, Laekjargata 3
101 Reykjavik

00354 5627262     



Ingólfur Arnarsson
Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir

When the Sequences board contacted us and invited us to curate the coming Sequences festival we were moved and surprised, and had to take time to think it through. Our collaboration in teaching has been positive and both of us have taken part in diverse art-related activities; as is common of artists in Iceland.a) After some thought, we came to the conclusion that we would have to approach the work as artists. That is, reflect upon artwork as material object, not only as idea. We would not be able to confine ourselves to real-time or time-based media, which is the original intention of the festival. Our areas of interest and expertise are wide and fragmented, but not especially voiced in that area. We chose to split the concepts real-time and explore their individual relativity with works created in various mediums. We hope to start a dialogue with our guests through the works presented, their diverse interaction and their multifaceted fields of meaning.

A question that came up considered what exciting work we could introduce to Icelandic art enthusiasts, something that had not been seen here before. One of the first things to surface in our dialogue with one another were the Yellow Movies by Tony Conrad, a series of works that one of us had seen at the 2009 Venice Biennale, and that the other admired from a distance, but had never seen. We agreed that these would be great works to show and that they fit well into our vision for the festival. These works were done in the seventies. They are monochrome, contained within black borders, reminiscent of movie screens, and were made using non-durable house paint on paper. The works are now in a slow state of degradation and have yellowed with time; they provoke thoughts on the time we dwell in. For practical reasons, which will not be discussed here, it was unfortunately not possible to transport these works.b) But in some ways they still remain in our minds as a key component for the exhibition, despite their absence as they rest in a crate or hang on a wall, somewhere out in the world.

The festival has various sections. The focal point being in the Marshall House. Exhibition a) in Kling & Bang and exhibition b) in the Living Art Museum, along with the opening work and an exhibition of drawings by the honorary artist in the restaurant on the ground level. Exhibitions a) and b) are in many ways different, but in dialogue with one another. Our guests are invited to reflect on this. The artists are of various nationalities and are diverse.c) Some are deceased, while others are practicing. They range in age and have different backgrounds. Some of the works have been created specifically for the occasion, while others are older works that are on loan. In the case of some artists, we envisioned that smaller solo exhibitions would be more suitable, exhibitions that could be categorized between a) and b). Their works can be viewed in Open, the Green Room in Hafnarhús, and in Harbinger. In Bíó Paradís works are offered in the time-based medium of film and we have selected works that show an innovative use of the medium, with themes that fit well within our vision of the festival. In the church Fríkirkjan there will be a concert where a well-known musician reuses sounds from the past to create new ones.

It has been the custom of the festival to choose an honorary artist. For this edition this is Kristinn Guðbrandur Harðarson, an artist who is greatly respected by colleagues of his generation, but is for many, an obscure figure.d) Kristinn has been active in the Icelandic art scene for decades. Kristinn’s works include a personal and poetic processing of his immediate surroundings using various media including texts, embroidery, sculptures, wall paintings, cartoons and performances, to name a few. Kristinn will hold a solo exhibition in Ásmundarsalur, release a bookwork that is its own exhibition space and a selection of his older works will be exhibited in the Marshall House.

Our collaborative project is the result of an artistic dialogue realized in collaboration with the talented people of these artist-led spaces. We have chosen four varied individuals to comment and respond differently to our foundational ideas. Exhibition visitors then add their vision and experience. This is a proposal, an open event for reflection on our place in time.
Ingólfur and I have had many conversations about artwork. During traditional coffee breaks in the art teacher’s lounge we have drafted the student’s next projects between exchanging our views on art. Particular to this specific coffee lounge is that it is located on an island off the beaten track. So as it was, we began to discuss the importance of viewing work in person, and in particular, which works we would most like to experience (in real-time). My mind then involuntarily searched for a work that had a remarkably strong physical effect on me in real time. I imagine how I fell on my tailbone in distress over being in the near presence of “time” in the 2009 Venice Biennale. Ingólfur then mentions a work by Tony Conrad he has always wanted to see. I look up the name immediately because it rings a bell. It turns out he is talking about these exact same works. That is the basic premise for Ingolfur and I accepting the generous invitation made by the Board to curate the real-time festival Sequences.

I remember when Sequences festival was founded, among other things, under the premise to escape the costs of transporting art, i.e. it was considered to be more practical to focus on time-based media and thus, minimize the transportation cost to and from an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Ingólfur and I have somewhat reversed these intentions, we’ve transported and exhibited a considerable amount of material works and allowed ourselves to assert that most are real-time works, as Conrad’s films emphasize then all things are really events (some lasting longer than is fathomable).

We went out of our way to select a diverse group of artists for this exhibition, a kind of cross-section of society: one couple, several students and teachers, friends and acquain-tances, living and deceased, established and emerging. But like most cross-sections, it only shows the layers that surround this particular slice. Thus, there is a great lack of representatives outside of the northwestern part of the world. This error is absolutely intolerable.

After graduating from Iceland Academy of the Arts, I began teaching at the Reykjavik School of Visual Arts. There I met Kristinn as a very quiet fellow teacher. He struck me as a complete contradiction to what I had been told about visual artists. He was down to earth and calm, in incredibly plain clothing. Watching him teach expanded my idea of art and pushed the boundaries between art and life. Kristinn’s respect for his students and relaxed stance with the diversity of people had a great impact on me. He reveals this attitude in his work among students, but also in his art. He does not place himself outside of human society with an estranged bird’s-eye view, but in the center, a kind of gastrophy procedure for a nation.....[and then something about his dog and meekness].