Menu & Search




Good evening,

           My name is Sveinn Fannar Jóhannsson (b. 1977) and I’m writing you from Oslo, the capital of the kingdom of Norway and also the most populous city in the whole country. Some say it’s the fastest growing city in Europe, some say it’s a hub of banking, trading and shipping while other say it’s a centre for art and culture. Nevertheless these are good or bad reasons either for coming to or avoiding the place.

Myself, I’m recently back again after a year in Germany and have been back and forth over the years since involuntarily emigrating from Iceland in the childhood.

You should all come visit some day.






H&H: Uppáhalds listasafn/gallerí í borginni? Favourite museum/gallery in the city?

S: Oh, please don’t force me to choose one single address. The art-spaces here are constantly relocating, disappearing or reappearing in basements, appartments or shady storefront shops. I prefer to do a tour starting at MELK before strolling down to Podium and then maybe a stop at 1857 before ending at NoPlace. Or you can mix up the order anyway you like but be sure to finish up at 1857, I’m confident that Pablo will mix you a very special cocktail from their bar.

Favourite chill/place to hang in the city?

S: I’m not so much of a «chiller» but I like the idea so how about a day at the beach, collecting mussels with my bare hands and getting a tan. It’s just a ten-minute boat trip from the city centre to a small island called Hovedøya. Be aware of the hoards of other people doing exactly the same.

P.S. The water temperature is not geothermal.

H&H: Hverju mælirðu með fyrir listamenn eða listunnendur að gera í borginni? What do you recommend for artists or artlovers to do in the city?

S: It’s mandatory to go to all almost all the institutions, some of the galleries, all the artist-run spaces and even the city hall. But it’s optional to eat a hamburger at the Icelandic fast food chain Tommi’s Burger Joint. And stay updated on the most important openings and events here:

H&H: Hvernig er listasenan í borginni? How is the art scene in the city?

S: The art scene is eclectic, idiosyncratic, dynamic and spread out around the whole town. It’s big enough for you to miss out on a lot of the action but small enough for you to bump into a colleague at a bar or when you think you’re minding your own business walking home from the store with a loaf of bread.

S: I’m trying to solve the problem of how to misread some of Rosalind Epstein Krauss’ seminal texts from a contemporary perspective…

…and simultaneously hand sewing curtains for my new studio.

H&H: Hefur þú fengið greitt fyrir vinnu þína sem myndlistarmaður? Við hvaða aðstæður og í hvaða landi? Have you been paid for your work as an artist? Under what circumstances and in what country?

S: Yes, in Norway there is occasionally an exhibition grant or allowance for both solo -and group shows, although often of a symbolic character.

Á Íslandi stendur SÍM fyrir herferðinni Við borgum myndlistarmönnum, með það m.a. að markmiði að koma á framlagssamningi svo að myndlistarmenn fari að fá borgað fyrir að sýna á opinberum söfnum, og reyna að breyta viðhorfi almennings og yfirvalda á listaruglið.

The Icelandic Fine Arts Association recently launched a public relations campaign called “We Pay Artists“. The pillar of this campaign was to normalize payments for artists work for example through commissions on public exhibitions. The idea being that once artists get paid fairly for their work the artistic profession will be equal to other professions.

H&H: Hvernig standa yfirvöld ykkar borgar/lands sig í þessum efnum?
What has the government done in your country or city in these matters? It would be interesting to compare.

S: The artists’ organisations here are constantly working on this, trying to establish rules in favour of the artists getting paid for their work. At the moment the governmental institutions are supposed to pay an allowance when exhibiting your art, the local or municipal institutions are not obliged. However, there seems to also be a huge gap between the amount of this fee and the rise of costs in general. While the average income for artists have declined, everything else is getting more and more expensive and there is a very well established culture of expecting artists to work for free.

H&H: Vinnur þú Alvöru vinnu með myndlist? (Fyrir tölfræðina..)
Do work another job to make ends meet?

S: Yes.