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Björn Líndal Guðmundsson

Björn Líndal was from Víðidalur in north Iceland. He wished in his youth to train as a carpenter, but was unable to pursue that dream. He worked asa farmhand for his father and others until 1940, when he bought a farm, then farmed in his own right until he was 75, when he went into the hospital in Hvammstangi. In 1990, seeking to be independent, he bought a small farmstead across the road from the hospital, where he started sawing out figures of men and women (generally couples), which he either sold or gave as gifts. The striking aspects of Björn’s figures are childlike features, with an open and frank expression, simple shapes and muted colour palette.

When Björn had made a number of men and women and displayed them on a shelf, ladies from the Women’s Institute complained that the necks were too short, and suggested that Björn should use brighter colours. Björn consulted the founders of the Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum, who advised him to ignore all such interference and work according to his own ideas. He was pleased to hear this. Those first shelf-dwellers were purchased by the Museum, and their number gradually grew, as he subsequently presented more works to the Museum.

Björn’s works were first shown in public in 1991 in the exhibition From the Heart at the Living Art Museum. They have often been showcased at the Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum. They were in the Museum’s exhibition Across the Bridge of Optimism at the Reykjavík Art Museum in 2003, and an exhibition from the Museum’s collection in 2013 at the Korundi Museum in Rovaniemi, Finland.