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Ingvar Ellert Óskarsson

Ingvar Ellert (1944-1992) was born in Reykjavík and spent almost his entire life in mental institutions. He was a gentle man, cheerful, kind and generous, but occasionally had difficulties getting a grip on daily life. Ingvar Ellert started drawing at a young age, but never received any formal art training. His works were shown 1981 in the mental institution Víðihlíð where he lived, and later in the Living Art Museum and Safnasafnið. 

Ingvar Ellert’s works can be divided into several categories, but what characterises the bulk of his work is a tendency to bring the diminutive detail to the foreground, sometimes as if unimportant matter is filtered out. In these fragmentary and fast drawings, certain symbols gain a vague meaning when they break out of the chaotic disorder of background, lines and forms. When choosing works for this exhibition it was decided to focus on two groups of motifs. 

Boats and landscapes: Real and imaginary boats. Some merge with the landscape, with sails that resemble mountaintops, and some are on the verge of being boats at all, as the eye is deceived by the ambiguous interplay. Ingvar Ellert’s boats are a fantasy of an artist who longed to travel the skies and the seas, but couldn’t make that dream come true.  

People and animals: An unexpected exposition of ideas, gaining significance in a complex and unforeseen juxtaposition, where floral decoration and love of colour sets its mark on the final execution. Figures merge, and while some adapt, others refuse to be drawn into this whirlpool of fantasy.