Alicja Kwade inaugurates new i8 Grandi gallery in Reykjavik former fish factory

Alicja Kwade is the first artist to stage a show in new Reykjavik gallery i8 Grandi, which will host year-long exhibitions evolving over time

Alicja Kwade, Transformer, 2021 bronze bowl, copper bowl, Amadeus granite sphere, Ostsee Earl patina, milled lava rock, milled granite, petrified wood, bronze chair.
Alicja Kwade, Transformer, 2021, bronze bowl, copper bowl, Amadeus granite sphere, Ostsee Earl patina, milled lava rock, milled granite, petrified wood, bronze chair.
(Image credit: Alicja Kwade and i8 Gallery)

Iceland may be better known for its natural beauty than its art scene, but the opening of a multidisciplinary art space in Reykjavik is set to bring a new gravitas to the capital city’s burgeoning standing in the art world. i8 Gallery, one of the most established art galleries in the Nordics, has opened an epic second space across the harbour from its existing location. The new i8 Grandi is located in the Marshall House, a cultural centre within a historic factory in the Grandi harbour district, which also houses the Living Art Museum, non-profit gallery Kling & Bang, as well as Olafur Eliasson’s private studio. Its two sprawling floors will be devoted to year-long exhibitions, each dedicated to a single artist.

‘I was involved in the transformation of the building from fishing factory to arts space in 2017, along with Ásmundur Hrafn Sturluson and Steinþór Kári Kárason of Kurtogpí Architects,’ recalls i8 Gallery’s co-founder Börkur Arnarson. ‘Taking inspiration from spaces such as the Löwenbräukunst in Zurich, we felt that Reykjavik could use a multipurpose arts space. In the almost five years the building has been open, I have considered its potential for various projects, and the idea of single-artist, long-term exhibitions is an exciting concept for i8 to embark upon in this space.’

i8 Grandi, The Marshall House, Reykjavik Harbour, Iceland

i8 Grandi is located within the Marshall House, Reykjavik. Courtesy of i8 Gallery, Reykjavik

(Image credit: Ari Magg)

The gallery’s novel long-form presentation model is especially apt, given where the art world is today. ‘As the art world seems to only speed up, we thought it would be interesting to offer artists an opportunity to truly slow down. With a show spanning a calendar year, we can offer an exhibition that is on view for far longer than other gallery and museum shows,’ Arnarson explains. ‘Within that is a unique approach of shifting works during the exhibition: it will be fluid, sometimes growing and sometimes shrinking throughout the time on view. Local visitors can see multiple iterations of shows, and people who only get to Iceland once in the year will have a chance to experience a dedicated exhibition. This format allows all visitors, be it their first or fifth visit, to leave with a strong sense of the artist and their practice beyond what a typical gallery show is able to provide.’

i8 Grandi’s inaugural exhibition ‘In Relation to the Sun’ is by the Polish-born, Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade, whom i8 Gallery has represented for a decade. Throughout the year, Kwade will reconfigure elements and adapt works in the show, emphasising her recurring themes of space, time, science and philosophy. The exhibition features key works including her mixed media installation Connectivity of Force Free Bodies Ouroboros (2010), as well as new works on paper and sculptures from the last year.

Alicja Kwade, Connectivity of Force Free Bodies Ouroboros, 2010 mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik, at i8 Grandi

Alicja Kwade, Connectivity of Force Free Bodies Ouroboros, 2010 mixed media.

(Image credit: Alicja Kwade and i8 Gallery)

‘[Alicja] was a natural fit to inaugurate our new space as her practice deals with issues of time, space, and conceptual considerations,’ says Arnarson. ‘She is a brilliant artist and has an incredible grasp of scale and form. i8 Grandi allows us to offer Alicja ample space to feature her sculptural installations, as she is particularly skilled in her approach to larger works.’

He concludes: ‘The ideas of space and time were intrinsically linked to i8 Grandi from the outset. The length of the exhibition lends [itself] to reflections on measurement, and, as so much of the world paused over the past two years, the consideration of time feels more relevant than ever.’

Sculptural ’Crinkled Series’ vase

Alicja Kwade, Connectivity of Force Free Bodies Ouroboros, 2010 mixed media.

(Image credit: Alicja Kwade and i8 Gallery)

Alicja Kwade, Parallelwelt (Ast/AntiAst), 2018 6 branches: wood branch, rusted iron, aluminium, bronze with green patina, bronze, bronze patinated

Alicja Kwade, Parallelwelt (Ast/AntiAst), 2018 6 branches: wood branch, rusted iron, aluminium, bronze with green patina, bronze, bronze patinated.

(Image credit: Alicja Kwade and i8 Gallery)

Alicja Kwade, Transformer, 2021 bronze bowl, copper bowl, Amadeus granite sphere, Ostsee Earl patina, milled lava rock, milled granite, petrified wood, bronze chair, at i8 Grandi

Alicja Kwade, Transformer, 2021 bronze bowl, copper bowl, Amadeus granite sphere, Ostsee Earl patina, milled lava rock, milled granite, petrified wood, bronze chair.

(Image credit: Alicja Kwade and i8 Gallery)

INFORMATION

‘In Relation to the Sun’ until December 2022, i8 Grandi, Reykjavik. i8.is (opens in new tab)

i8’s existing gallery at Tryggvagata 16 will continue with its regular programming, as well housing staff offices; the two locations are a 15-minute walk apart across the harbour. i8 Grandi will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 12am – 6pm, as well as by appointment.

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.