Opening weekend 18 – 21 May 2012 Saturday May 19 will be dedicated to openings of the exhibitions International seminar in the Nordic House May 20 Many exhibitions will run throughout the summer.
Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 announces (I)ndependent People, a large-scale collaborative international visual arts project that will involve many of Reykjavík's exhibition spaces, museums, galleries and public space during the festival season and throughout the summer. Focusing on contemporary visual art from the Nordic and Baltic countries, (I)ndependent People asks if and how collaboration can operate in continual negotiation between contesting ideas and desires, yet allowing unplanned and transformative action.
All participating artists are engaged in established or temporary joint ventures. Artist-collectives, partnerships, collaborative workshops and exchanges serve for a dynamic investigation of artistic subjectivity and authorship. Made possible through exchange and collaborative undertakings between a cluster of museums, galleries, artist-run spaces and institutions – the construction, intention and focus of the exhibitions can both thematically and performatively be described as a ”Third Space” (Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, Routledge, 1994). Similarly, putting the “I” in parenthesis by giving up the authorship of a singular artistic Subject can create the specific uncertainty that makes another, hybrid identity possible; where the in-between of collaboration can become a site for social and cultural change, “around identities”, between defined singularities. In the words of Elisabeth Grosz: “The space in between things is the space in which things are undone, the space to the side and around, which is the space of subversion and fraying, the edge of any identities limits. In short, it is the space of the bounding and undoing of the identities, which constitute it” (Elisabeth Grosz, Architecture From Outside, MIT Press, 2001).
Often labeled “alternative” or “independent”, several participating groups at once address questions concerning the structure of a mediated (art) world and constitute a vessel without sharp contours. By attempting to move beyond national representations, concepts of “public” and “private”, “author” and “audience”, this context provides a nuanced discourse about something common. In describing a place between subjectivities, ideologies, interests and structures, the temporary in-between space created in Reykjavik can serve as a platform for ideas to be imagined, examined and constructed. This position can be portrayed as ambiguous and indefinable, but these very qualities often make contemporary art worth putting our hopes to. (I)ndependent People asks if and how collaboration can operate in continual negotiation between contesting ideas and desires, and yet allow unplanned and transformative action. The balancing act of remaining between controlling structures, formalising agreements, constituting norms and allowing change is central to the exhibition and closely connected to aspects of collective practices and artist-initiatives. Several projects will be realised during the course of the exhibitions, some with uncertain results.
The extensive project brings together 29 artist-collectives with the collaboration of over 100 participants. (I)ndependent People is curated by Swedish curator and theorist Jonatan Habib Engqvist and made possible through exchange and collaborative undertakings between a cluster of museums, galleries, artist-run spaces and institutions. Venues include Reykjavík Art Museum, The National Gallery of Iceland, The Nordic House, Kling & Bang, The Living Art Museum, The Icelandic Sculpture Association and ASÍ Art Museum, together with public space in Reykjavík and off-site events. Saturday May 19 will be dedicated to openings of the exhibitions with receptions and events at the venues from morning to evening and Sunday May 20 will host an international seminar.