It is almost possible to call Ósk Vilhjálmsdóttir a loner in the Icelandic art scene, her strong sense of political commitment is nearly without parallel in Iceland although Ósk shares her commitment with many of her colleagues in other countries. Political engagement is strong with Icelandic artists in general regarding f.ex. nature preservation but few use it directly in their work as Ósk does.

Her shows and installations are often made in co-operation with the public, such as her series of works made with children and teenagers. In a work-shop like atmosphere Ósk built a small wooden cabin together with children in various places, both in Iceland and abroad. Then she asked them to speak for the camera, asking them about their dreams and desires for the future, showing the result on a screen inside the cabin. The outcome is an engaging work of art that reveals the weaker sides of society in an almost innocent way. Another project of Ósk was her show in Gallery Hlemmur in Reykjavík in 2003. The show was called Something Else, pointing to the fact that many people would indeed like something else than they have. Ósk changed the gallery into a forum open to all, she put up a table, chairs and a coffee machine and almost every day she had more or less formal discussions led by people with very different backgrounds. The “show” was an experiment but worked surprisingly well, with a lot of people coming in every day, expressing their opinions and making interesting crossovers between f.ex. university backgrounds, artists, musicians, dentists or teachers.

Ragna Sigurðardóttir art critics


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