is always on the road. The Icelander is a traveler between continents
and cultures who, because of his interest in his fellow man, is
always looking for contact and conversation with those around him.
These meetings yield a wealth of snapshots that form the basis for
his photo cycle Myndir Bilder Pictures from the years 2000
These are photographs
integrated with a trilingual text. In their totality they give rise
to a road movie created from Hallssons experiences and memories
and which functions as a kind of diary. Released from any chronological
order, family scenes are threaded together with photos of friends
and strangers, shots of different regions and towns are interspersed
with images from the international art world. Before this background
emerges a colorful and very private sequence of images from Hallssons
own life that seems to arise casually, but interwoven with the texts
creates a virtually incredible effect.
For each photograph
Hallsson tells us a brief story in Icelandic, German and English.
This linguistic sequence is maintained consistently for all the
works and at the same time is a reference to the artists communicative
horizons. Icelandic is his native language, German the language
of his second home, and English a world language. Ultimately this
clearly demonstrates what a pivotal role language and communication
play in the work of this artist from Iceland.
narratives, created of only simple sentences and subordinate clauses,
move us with their immediacy -- the result of how directly the artist
has communicated with us. For example, he begins the story of a
hot air balloon ride with his son Hugi on the occasion of Hugis
10th birthday with utter innocence. But the tale takes a darker
twist and loses its idyllic atmosphere when the artists thoughts
turn for a moment to Ian McEwans book Enduring Love, which also
describes a balloon ride -- but one that does not end well.
of a crash and the book that reminds the artist of this these
are precisely what delivers the slight shift within the narrative
that rescues the account from quotidian banality. It is not merely
the juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity that distinguishes
these stories. Ambiguity is a constant that runs through the entire
cycle and also appears in the work showing the courtyard of the
Art Basel Conference Center. In nice weather many visitors gather
there; it is a communicative place. But who, if not Hallsson, would
have come upon the idea of comparing the chatter of humans with
the background sounds of a bird cliff? For the artist this comparison
seemed obvious; but for us he has opened the limits of our perceptions,
and at the same time he has made it possible for us to expand our
have referential qualities. They tell us something about him as
a person and his vision of things. Perhaps it is necessary to come
from Iceland in order to see the world as he does.
from German by Lois Feuerle, Portland, Oregon)