Art: The mind of Iceland's master painter - Kjarval.
Kjarvalsstaðir art museum in Reykjavik reopened on February 5th after a refurbishment, with an extensive exhibition of the work of Jóhannes S. Kjarval in both East and West galleries of the venue.
The exhibition comprises two parts: the principal content being rarely-seen works from the unique private collection of Þorvaldur Guðmundsson (1911-98) and his wife Ingibjörg Guðmundsdóttir (1908-2004), which are preserved at Gerðarsafn and are shown alongside pieces from the Reykjavík Art Museum’s own collection. The exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to see key works from the artist’s career, and to gain insight into the recurrent themes which are characteristic of his oeuvre – on the one hand Icelandic nature in all its diversity, and on the other the life and symbolism the artist sensed in his surroundings – perceived by the mind as much as seen by the eye.
The collection of Þorvaldur and Ingibjörg includes many of Kjarval’s key works, among them Lífshlaupið (The Story of Life), a large-scale mural from the artist’s studio on Austurstræti in Reykjavík. Completed in 1933, The Story of Life exemplifies various factors which recur regularly in Kjarval’s work: landscape and working life, while the work also includes the fantastical element which is a feature of much of his oeuvre
The exhibition is titled Jóhannes S. Kjarval: Mind and World. Iceland Monitor took a closer look.