© 2012 vytautas michelkevičius. All rights reserved.

Discovering East Iceland: Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art (IS4)

Seyðisfjörður is a town which has the most distanced residency place from Reykjavik (~700 km, ~9 hours by car), however it is the closest port to Europe. It is still welcoming passenger and car ferries all year round. It is also known for its road which is the highest mountainpass in Iceland
Another feature of this place is that almost 4 months every year you do not see the sun, because the fjord is so high. The arrival of the ferry or cruise ship makes 700 inhabitants village very lively and crowded.
Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art of East Iceland has 3 residency places, an office, a gallery space and a library


The biggest part of the library is filled by books by renowen artist Dieter Roth who spend many years in Seyðisfjörður. The library is located inside local bar-bistro
The gallery space
The residency located in the main house a spacious living room-studio


You can work at the desk and watch arriving and departing ferries. The space for work is really productive
A View to the fjord and the port from the studio


Comfortable kitchen helps to arrange artists dinners
This residency space has two bedrooms
Every new group of residents are making artists talks. However the audience is not very numerous as in every remote place
The day before I had an opportunity to attend the opening preview of sound installation which was attended much better


There is quite a few summer houses owned by artists from Reykjavik and other cities, so the town has lively artistic community


German artist Lukas Kühne was invited to make a piece “Tvísöngur” (participatory sound installation) by an artist from the local community
The site for the installation was selected as the most sunny place. Passing by ferries bring also specific ambience
Skaftfell runs also a project space - former bookshop


Young graduate from Reykjavik Academy Viktor Pétur Hannesson was opening his exhibition at that time


In February he jumped with a bicycle into the water and in August he took it back.


Skaftfell has also another residency in this white house
Interrior of the house is painted in light purple. Some structures inside were made according to Dieter Roth design principles (like multi-socket system on the ceiling which allows to move lamps along the space)
There are two bedrooms next to living room with kitchen. There is also the third artist-in-residency house - The Birgir Andrésson house.
Skaftfell among its other functions is also responsible for a Geiri's house. He was a local naïve and folk artist




A view to the fjord. You can feel the remoteness and wild nature of Iceland only several hundred meters aways from the village

This is the end of my research trip. As you might have experienced all the icelandic residencies are remote but some of them are more remote than the others. Skaftfell residency is like an artist colony with artists’ summer houses and cultural as well as social infrastructure, whereas NES residency is located in completely rural and remote environment with no urbanistic infrastructure (like cafeteria or gallery) during most of the year. One more review of Icelandic residencies can be found on the Baltic, Scandinavian, and Russian art magazine Arterritory.




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