In the Depths of Your Own Awareness

Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson

Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson held his first solo exhibition in Unuhús in 1970 and he came to make waves in the Icelandic art scene at the start of the 1970s, as his powerful work quickly drew attention to this young and self-taught artist.

Straight away with his first exhibition, Gunnar Örn raised existential questions about the pressing tempo and detachment of modern society. Human existence was a constant source of inspiration for the artist, providing him with subject material for his whole career, in the struggle of man against himself – of existing in the world. His whole body of work is characterised by his spiritual search, on a journey where the canvas echoes the artist’s personal experiences.

Gunnar Örn was an extremely prolific artist and left a great many artworks: drawings, monotypes, paintings, sculptures and watercolours, as well as works created with mixed technique. This retrospective exhibition will feature works spanning the artist’s career, of almost forty years, during which he went through a number of transformations and changed his style a few times.

Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson (1946-2008) took cello lessons in Copenhagen in 1963-64, as well as attending Svend Nielsen’s drawing school in Denmark, though he was otherwise a self-taught artist. Gunnar Örn was an active presence in the Icelandic art scene, exhibiting regularly both here and abroad, for example in Denmark, Tokyo, Budapest and in Achim Moeller’s gallery, Moeller Fine Art, New York. Notably, Gunnar Örn was Iceland’s representative at the Venice Bienniale in 1988. Works by the artist belong to the collections of many museums in Iceland, as well as the Guggenheim in New York, the Sezon Museum of Modern Art (Seibu) in Tokyo and Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

Curated by Aldís Arnardóttir.