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Exhibitions 2023

Works outdoors and by entrance

The tall museum guard in blue was made by the art group Huglist in 2009 and has been standing watch outside the museum ever since. On the wall by the entrance an enlarged photograph of a painting by Eggert Magnússon is on display, and on the same wall – a sculpture by Haukur Halldórsson depicting the Norse god Thor lifting the Midgard Serpent in the shape of a cat.

On the stone wall opposite the entrance, white painted concrete jungle creatures by Helgi Valdimarsson welcome guests. Lovers for Half a Century, a wooden sculpture by Aðalheiður S. Eysteinsdóttir stands by the entrance along with works by Ragnar Bjarnason, made from reinforced, painted concrete.

Ragnar’s works are also inside the entrance, as part of the exhibition Family and Friends, next to works by Guðjón R. Sigurðsson, Helgi Þórsson, and students from Valsárskóli primary school in Svalbarðaströnd. Works by children from Álfaborg nursery school are on display in the flower room.

On the sundeck west of the building, Prayer, a wooden sculpture by Hjalti Skagfjörð Jósefsson is on display.


Each year the Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum collaborates with a primary or nursery school in the Eyjafjörður area. This collaboration is intended to boost artistic interest and imagination among children from a young age, but it is also an honour and pleasure for the museum to participate with the children who bring their joy of life and creative force.

The children in the nursery school Álfaborg display their work in the Flower Room adjacent to the doll collection, and students of Valsárskóli primary school have their work on display in the entrance. This year the collaborative exhibition is titled Family and Friends.

The Garden at Home

When creating his work, the artist Pálmi Kristinn Arngrímsson (1930–2015) approached the primal human instinct with humility and sensibility. He looked to childhood, the relationship between mother and child, growth and development in many forms. He was also inspired by the world of politics and international turmoil, was concerned with any sort of retrogression and deterioration of the human spirit. Even though his works have resemblances of visual art from far away, Africa and South America, he used that inspiration in a unique manner and found his own personal style.

Silencing – Never Again

This year works by B. Sóley Pétursdóttir have been installed in the Doll Room. Sóleys’s life has been marked by bullying, exclusion, rejection, and sexual violence, which led to self-mutilation. By recreating the abuse visually and using her art to prevent self-mutilation she has created a powerful internal and external world with diverse and personal expression.

In a Bright Room

Hjálmar Stefánsson (1913–1989) was born in Smyrlaberg in Ásar in Austur-Húnavatnssýsla. He lived most of his life in Blönduós, working various jobs, and only started painting later in life. Hjalmar’s paintings are spontaneous and have no other model than the nature he knew and loved. There is a naive subtlety to the works, bearing witness to a vibrant intimacy. He expresses how the weather effects the country, moves it about and shapes new landscapes.

The design of the exhibition refers to Smyrlaberg, a cliff where he grew up. By hanging the paintings in a concentrated formation an escarpment is formed. The white surroundings of the room are meant to act as a breathing space for an idea, a content, shape, line, and colour – while at the same time defining and drawing attention to Hjalmar’s art.

Love is a Lovely Game

Art was everything to Nonni Ragnas (1951–2019), it was his guiding light. He was a gay man in a time when deviation was despised. He was bullied, beaten, and ostracised but he also lived to see changing attitudes, which he played a part in shifting. Nonni had a unique sensitivity, he was influenced by great tumult and upheaval in the latter part of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty- first. New horizons emerged, new attitudes towards definition of gender, sexual orientation, and skin colour.

Nonni never got to display his artwork in public, the art world rejected him, but he never gave up. He transformed his home in Elliðarárdalur into an exhibition and dance space where no surface went untouched by his hand. He painted every door, table, wall, and ceiling. Each particular entity interacts with another within the space, provoking and charming at the same time.

Home Adornments

This year the South Room displays embroidery by Sísí Ingólfsdóttir. Sísí’s artworks focus on the manifestations of gender roles. She works across disciplines, using anything from performance to ceramics, text, handcraft, and installation. Here, using embroidery, her work takes on a dialogue with the embroidery from Jenný Karlsdóttir’s collection, highlighting con- nections and connotations.

Jenný Karlsdóttir’s Room

Jenný Karlsdóttir recently donated a substantial gift of textile works to the museum, and the plan is to present this gift in the coming years with a series of exhibitions and lectures. The first exhibition of textile works and handcraft from Jenný’s collection is installed in the shop space and the adjacent South Room. A special mention must be made of a faldbúningur – a festive national dress that Jenný embroidered with herbal dyed yarn and crafted in part the accompanying ornamental silver. The faldbúningur is the oldest type of national costume of Icelandic women.

Also, on display in the shop and the South Room are so-called ornamental towels that women embroidered and hung up in kitchens to conceal used tea towels. These are part of the collection of Jenny’s donation.

From Scraps or Nothing

This year the works of Stefán Tryggva- and Sigríðarson are on display in the library. These works are all made from wood, but with different techniques. The works of this talented man bear witness to his patience, attention, and meticulousness.

Top Quality Butcher Block

Klemens Hannigan is a visual artist, musician, and carpenter – a master of all trades. He is as skilled at crafting furniture as music, with a strong sense of composition, material, and space. He thinks with his hands and his tools directly into the mater- ial. He says that his works are among other things a contemplation on shape
and shapelessness.

Klemens displays turned wooden sculptures in the space. The sculpture Eighty- eight, which was his graduation piece from the Iceland University of the Arts in 2022, is on display alongside two new and small- er models. Forty-eight is a new sculpture made especially for this exhibition and while it is based on the same basic concept as Eighty-eight it has more gentleness to it; in fact, it could be said that it was an inver- sion of the other. The basis of both works is a rectangle, the shapes warp out of a box, either prickly or soft.


Anna Hallin and Olga Bergmann exhibit diverse works with common themes. The works guide the viewer beyond Earth’s atmosphere. While they share an interest
in subject matters such as knowledge creation and speculative fiction, the pair work in diverse media. Olga in wood and Anna in ceramic relief, and watercolours. Both artists have been showing us glimpses into new and unknown worlds for a long time, and this exhibition is no exception. Anna and Olga live and work in Reykjavik where they have a studio in Phenomen, a centre for artists. They work separately but have on occasion collaborated on specific projects since 2005.

Black Magic

Hildur María Hansdóttir has been taking photographs for a long time and turning her lens at silhouettes in alleyways in her neighbourhood. She approaches her sub- ject with aesthetic precision, alertness, and a sensitivity for delicate nuances in the interaction of line and structure. Different angles create a balance and sense of safety by looking at one thing and conjur- ing up another.

Guðmundur Ármann has accumulated skill in his long career in the field of visual art and printmaking. The prints on display here draw inspiration from a time when he worked at the Slippurinn shipbuilding and repair company in Akureyri 1973–1974. The dangerous tasks and difficult condi- tions posed a danger to the workers. Guðmundur carved his experience and impressions into linoleum and printed them in various editions. The images are characterised by bareness and simplicity of forms on small surfaces. Lines and composition link the forms in a playful flow and elevate the work and the workers that inspired the artwork.

The Language of Material

Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir’s creations can be arranged like a family tree; her works are born, they connect and conceive de- scendants. Certain parameters repeat and evolve, but then there will be a mutation and a new branch will sprout. The works on display here were made during an improvisation where Brynhildur pushed her assistants out of their comfort zones while blowing glass. She wanted the glass blowers to lose control so that she could control the chaos and reap at the end of the process objects that would be foreign to her. There was complete trust during the collaboration and the work process was based on a balance between gravity and movement.

Runs from May 7th to September 10th.
The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm
Admission is ISK 1500 – A detailed exhibition brochure is included with the ticket

This summer, the museum is presenting 12 new exhibitions featuring the works of 15 artists and students from the Álfaborg elementary school and Valsár primary school.  Emphasis is on fresh ideas and refined craftsmanship, glassblowing, embroidery, silver work, ceramics, photography, screen printing, and woodworks. The museum also showcases three deceased visual artists whose lives were marked by great adversity in our Created from Collections exhibition. One of the themes explored in 2023 is how visual art can help individuals cope with self-harm and contain it. Despite the seriousness of the content, the museum’s exhibitions are bright, colourful, and accessible to all.

On the gallery floor are works by Aðalheiður S. Eysteinsdóttir, Eggert Magnússon, Haukur Halldórsson, Helgi Valdimarsdóttir, and Ragnar Bjarnason from Öndverðarnes. The Museum Guard by Huglist group stands tall in the parking lot. In the foyer and Flower Room, the exhibition Family and Friends is showing works by Guðjón R. Sigurðsson from Fagurhólsmýri, Helgi Þórsson, students from Valsárskóla in Svalbarðsströnd, and children from the Álfaborg elementary school. West of the exhibition area on the back patio, the wood sculpture Prayer by Hjalti Skagfjörð Jósefsson is on display.

In the Doll Room, a permeant exhibition featuring dolls and costumes from around the world, and a special exhibition of works by B. Sóley Pétursdóttir entitled Silenced – Never Again, presented in a cabinet.

In the Middle Room, there is a memorial exhibition featuring works by Pálmi Kristinn Arngrímsson (1930-2015) titled The Garden at Home, while the West Room presents In a Bright Room, a series of paintings by Hjálmar Stefánsson (1913-1989). In the East Room, there is another memorial exhibition of works by artist Nonni Ragnas (1951-2019) titled Love is a Lovely Game.

This year, the museum received a gift of 2,500 textile works collected by Jenný Karlsdóttir, which will be stored in a special room dedicated to her. Embroidery works from her collection will be displayed in the exhibition Home Adornments as well as embroidery works and plates by Sísí Ingólfsdóttir.

This year the works of Stefán Tryggva- and Sigríðarson are on display in the library. These works are all made from wood, but with different techniques. The works of this talented man bear witness to his patience, attention, and meticulousness. 

Works by Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir are on display in the Long Room in an exhibition titled The Language of Material. The North Rooms section contains works by the following contemporary artists: Klemens Hannigan with Top Quality Butcher Block, Anna Hallin and Olga Bergman with Stopover, Guðmundur Ármann and Hildur María Hansdóttir with a display titled Black Magic.