Hreinn Fridfinnsson is one of Iceland’s leading conceptual artists. His work is celebrated for its lyricism and stark poetry that transcends the often-commonplace subjects and materials that the artist uses to create his pieces.
Although there is a consistency of theme and a common emotional thread to Fridfinnsson’s art, the media that he employs are remarkably varied in scale and substance, from photography, drawings and tracings, to presentations and installations of sound, texts and ready-mades.
Fridfinnnsson often presents found objects with which he interferes as little as possible, creating new works that investigate ideas of the self and of time. He has said that: “Notions of time are always compelling. I read what comes my way about physics and mathematics, but I read as one who is uninitiated. The feeling and the interest in the essence of time is serious, but my dealing with time is not knowledge-based; it is more exploratory and feeling-based.”
Born in 1943 in Baer Dölum, Iceland, Fridfinnsson gained prominence as a leading figure on the Icelandic avant-garde after founding the group SÚM with three other artists in Reykjavik in 1965. Fridfinnsson moved to Amsterdam in the early 1970s and has been living and working there ever since.
Hreinn Fridfinnsson has had solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Iceland, 1993; 45th Venice Biennale, 1993; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam, 1992. His work has also been featured in group shows including the Carnegie Art Award, 2000 and Sleeping Beauty–Art Now, Scandinavia Today, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1983.
The exhibition was presented in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson, who was working with Kjetil Thorsen of Snøhetta to design the 2007 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Eliasson has gained worldwide renown for his large-scale installations which appropriate natural materials and phenomena in unexpected settings.