Ólafur Elíasson joins other influential artists in opening a new arts centre in Reykjavik
The Marshall-building in Grandagarður at Grandi will be turned into a new arts complex housing studios for artist Ólafur Elíasson and two artist run galleries: The Living Art Museum and Kling og Bang who both recently had to move out of their premises in the city centre.
Elíasson will have a studio on the top floor of the building as well as part of the south side which features high ceilings, to use for installations and exhibitions. The Living Art Museum and gallery Kling og Bang will each get their separate floors for exhibition space. The ground floor will feature a seafood restaurant.
The Marshall building was built in 1948 by means of the Marshall plan, aid from the US following WWII. It was intended as a herring factory and served as such for over half a century but has been empty in recent years.
The building is owned by HB Grandi and the CIty of Reykjavik has made a rental contract with them for fifteen years. The idea behind the project came from architects Ásmundur Hrafn Sturluson and Steinþór Kári Kárson at architectural firm Kurt og Pí and Börkur Arnarson who runs Gallerí i8. Sturluson said in an interview with Morgunblaðið that Kling og Bang and The Living Art Museum were losing their premises and that Elíasson was hunting for a Reykjavik studio. The three of them presented the idea to HB Grandi who were open to the idea.
The Living Art Museum, formerly in the city centre have been located in the suburb of Breiðholt for the past year and focuses on contemporary and experimental art. Kling og Bang, a gallery founded by ten artists in 2003 has the aim of exhibiting art which challenge the context and content of creative thinking and seeing. Their work has gained considerable attention both in Iceland and abroad.
The Marshall building in its new role is set to open this autumn and will be joining a host of artists, companies, shops and delis in this blossoming new Reykjavik district.
Architects Steinþór Kári Kárason and Ásmundur Hrafn Sturluson at Kurt og pí. Photo: Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson