Icelandic Music Festival Hosts Impressive Avant-Garde Art Program

The art exhibition at Cycle Festival 2016 focuses on time and alternate realities.

Performance artist Johannes Paul Raether will perform in a location to be announced at Cycle Festival. Photo courtesy the artist and Cycle Festival.
Performance artist Johannes Paul Raether will perform in a location to be announced at Cycle Festival. Photo courtesy the artist and Cycle Festival.

The art at music festivals doesn’t usually tend to be associated with the art world at large; rather, large-scale, flashy installations are temporarily on-site for stoned campers to chill out with, or to set on fire in the desert. But Cycle Festival, an edgy music and art event in Kópavogur, Iceland, is breaking those stereotypes with an exhibition at the city’s museum of contemporary art.

The festival, now in its second year, takes place from October 27-30 in Kópavogur, a city immediately south of Reykjaviík. During the weekend, a series of musical and lecture performances will take place at the Gerðarsafn-Kópavogur Art Museum, Salurinn Music Hall, and other cultural venues in the city’s Hamraborg neighborhood. The exhibition, titled “That Time” after a Samuel Beckett one-act, will open on the same weekend, and run until December 18.

Rachel de Joode, Surface Costumes, (2016). Production image courtesy of the artist and Cycle Festival.

Rachel de Joode, Surface Costumes, (2016). Production image courtesy of the artist and Cycle Festival.

Curated by Eva Wilson, “That Time” promises the heady and theoretical. Press releases tout the exploration of themes like “deep time and peak futures,” the search for a musical structure of time through the principles of the loop, rehearsal, and refrain, and insisting “on the potentiality of other worlds.” Participating forward-thinking artists include Constant Dullaart, Margeurite Humeau, SUPERFLEX, Dorothy Iannone, Kapwani Kiwanga, Rachel de Joode, and many more.

Besides an exhibition and performance program, the festival weekend will also include a national radio and TV broadcast featuring works by Dullaart, and Nicolas Perret & Silvia Ploner. The works, including a sound piece by the duo called Nýey of field recordings taken on remote islands off Iceland’s coast, will also be streamed online.

Marguerite Humeau, FOXP2 (2016). Digital Image courtesy of Le Studio Humain (Benjamin Penaguin) for Marguerite Humeau.

Marguerite Humeau, FOXP2 (2016). Digital Image courtesy of Le Studio Humain (Benjamin Penaguin) for Marguerite Humeau.

Most of the artists listed above are international, but there’s a strong representation of Icelandic artists as well, including Egill Sæbjörnsson, who is representing Iceland at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The country’s art community is, quite literally, insular, but perhaps an exhibition like this can help build us a bridge to the young Icelandic avant-garde.

Cycle Festival takes place in Kópavogur, Iceland from October 27-30. “That Time” will remain on view until December 13.


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