An installation and a found photograph printed on glass, exhibited in room number 425 at the Oddsson Hotel in Reykjavík. The photograph – showing the interior of a tiny cell – accompanied a 2016 article, published in the Icelandic daily Morgunblaðið, concerning the future of an old stone house situated in the city center of Reykjavik. The article discusses a dossier by a working group commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior to examine what kind of businesses could – and, of no less importance, should not – be housed in the building following the halt of its heretofore function.
From the day its doors first opened (only to be immediately shut and locked thereupon) until early summer 2016 – a period of 142 years – the house served as a prison, simultaneously housing a court room and a city council meeting hall for a shorter period of time. Most commonly referred to as the Rock, due to its characteristic construction material – or else the Nine, owing to its street address – the house was, in fact, Iceland’s only purpose-built penitentiary up until the 2016 opening of a new prison, located at the Hólmsheiði plateau outside Reykjavík, whereto the Rock’s overall operations were transferred.
Underneath the photograph from the old prison says: Cell – Artistic activities could be practiced there.
The work deals with the tourist industry, gentrification, housing crises, art, transformations and imprisonment.
Here is a silent documentation from the exhibition:
er mjög hert
því ekki mögulegt að
brjóta þaðþá snúa gluggar
þannig að fangar geta
klefa eða deild
Above: Found poetry in a news from the national radio (RÚV) about the opening of the new prison in Hólmsheiði, located on a heath close to Reykjavik.
Here is the catalog from the exhibition.
Detours from the exhibition, the photograph New cell, can be found on page 3 in the catalog. And the sound performance Á is here underneath. Both were performed in cells in the prison in Hólmsheiði just before it was opened.
The exhibition was in a row of solo exhibitions, called Þrju tonn af sandi / Return to sender, that took place in the same hotel room, one after another. The other artist were Bryndís Björnsdóttir and Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson.
The exhibition was a part of the OH Project. More about that here.