Using a variety of mediums; film, art, music and poetry, The Icelandic Love

Corporation not only epitomise the modern artist but also enshrine the values of good, honest, hard-working women.  Sigrún, Jóní and Eirún sprinkle their fairy dust over Dee Sekar during a question and answer session.


By Dee Sekar

You embrace all mediums of art – film, sculptures, TV, poetry but if you each had to pick one favourite artist/inspiration who would it be?

We are not able to pick out any single artist or medium as a favourite.  It is hard to define exactly what influences you at each time. It can be one thing today and another thing tomorrow.  But for sure we are always being influenced by something and thereby becoming a part of the environment and world we are living in. We also all have different individual influences.  And some people might see very strong influences in our work but others not. But we are probably mainly influenced by each other.

Would you consider incorporating music into your work? If so, are there any musicians you would like to work with?

Our friends who are musicians have helped us out a number of times. Such as Viddi and Doddi from Trabant and Oli Bjorn who is an excellent drummer and composer and has toured with Emiliana Torrini.  We have also recorded songs with Johann Johannsson. This was for a video piece called 'Where Do We Go From Here?'  We put our own lyrics to an ancient Icelandic lullaby.  We have also composed a little song for a flute, triangle and xylophone.  Music has a very strong presence here in Reykjavik, so you are kind

of surrounded by all these great musical people. I guess we wouldn´t mind working with all of them.  In a way, we are a little bit sad that we didn´t learn to play instruments when we were small. But we picked another form of art.

You’ve also had exhibitions in NYC/Berlin/London. How has the international reaction been to your work?

We have worked mostly in Scandinavia and Europe, but also in the US. The reaction has been quite nice we think. When we were at Statements, at the Basel Art Fair last year, we got lots of support from Japanese people.  It would be great to show our work there and elsewhere in Asia.

Anywhere specific you like to exhibit work?

Africa, South America and Antarctica.  It looks like we might be going to a small town in the far north of Norway this summer. That will be nice.  We would like to go anywhere. We have shown our work both in big museums and in the street and we like to keep this ability to adjust to different situations and circumstances- an elastic way of working.  We also like to do site specific work and a lot of the things we do are inspired by the situation they take place in.  We created a series of performances and installations called 'Higher Beings', after we had been invited to do a show in Amsterdam´s Red Light District.  Last week, we did a three hour long performance at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.  There we printed (among other things) a wheelbarrow full of ILC currency. These places often talk to you subconsciously.  After this, the idea of the money came in so strong and we realized that Frankfurt is the main money centre in Germany. We made a Bald

Eagle out of nylon stockings in New York.  Somehow this all connects in the end.

You’ve done some beautiful work and I love the poems which accompany some of your work. Do you write these as the inspiration for your art  or are they written after the creation?

It is changeable as to what comes first.  Usually though, we have a pretty clear idea of the project, before we start with the poetry. Sometimes we make them all together. Sometimes we make them individually.   But like with everything we do, it gets the ILC branding or stamp, so in the end nobody is really sure who does what. Poetry is some kind of a tool we use to communicate an abstract idea to each other and then the audience as well.  We like it.

Who are your favourite poets?

We don´t like to name any special names.  They change all the time and we probably disagree on these things, but that makes things exciting.  But of course, each and every one is allowed to adore whoever; and have their favourite shoes, color and pets.

Which has been your most favourite piece to work on?

We probably all have a different story on this.  And we also have a somewhat different interpretation of each and every piece.  When things go well and we don´t argue too much, everyone is happy.  There are also these things that have a hard time coming out and take a long time and a lot of energy and when they finally come together, you really appreciate them.  But this is not a rule.  We all love the ideas that just jump out, fully formed and everyone understands them.

I like the concept of ‘Women Good Enough To Eat’ which plays on the traditional stereotype of the woman’s role. Why did you decide to bring up this issue as being supportive of the stereotype rather than making a statement against it?

An effective way of approaching things is often to express them in an absurd or comical way. It works better than putting yourself in the teacher's position. Works of art that make you giggle often come out the strongest. Especially when they are full of irony and hidden meanings and push all these personal buttons that make you put things into different perspectives.  This does not necessarily have to have anything to do with what the artist intended.  But this is how art should work.  That it makes each and everyone draw their own conclusions rather than know what exactly it should mean.

Name 3 of your inspirational women.

Those are the ones that are closest to you.

‘Places of Worship’ is a wonderful concept. For me, it epitomises the magic of humans – themselves a wonderful act of creation and they themselves can create wondrous things. What are your feelings towards humans and the natural world? Are you religious?

Religion is blind.  Nature is remarkable, both it´s creative and destructive force.

‘Rendez-Vous’ demonstrated the support of your community – with the public services helping you. How did the idea and subsequent support come about?

This happened for a festival that the City of Reykjavik organized.  They paired different institutions within the city up with artists.  We were chosen to work with the fire department. We decided to make a date between us and the fire trucks, just like someone had planned this 'rendez-vous' between us and the firemen, and we brought into play the whole works; the powerful engines, water hoses, fireworks and firemen, lights and noise. To top it all, we got an opera singer to put on a fireman's suit and when the trucks had loaded off all they had over each other, she stepped out and sang an aria.  Mega orgasm under a full moon.  It was beautiful in its brutality.

A recurring theme I have noticed is the colour white  - either as the surroundings of your performance/in your art/colour you wear. Is this symbolic of your natural surroundings in Iceland? Are there more reasons for this?

In the piece 'Where Do We Go From Here?' the reason for the white color in our costume is very obvious. These costumes are made from bed covers. They are protective against the cold and harsh landscape and lava. The white color symbolizes purity and that fits very well in this project, where we leave our safe home to explore the world.  But if you are referring to snow in Iceland it is rather far-fetched!  Of course we have sometimes snow in the city (less and less thanks to global warming) and there are magnificent glaciers.  But there is no apparent connection between the color white in our work and natural surroundings in Iceland.  We also have dirty streets and ugly apartment buildings here!

You have each worked individually on solo exhibitions - does this  ‘break’ away from each other help or distract ILC?

In order to be strong within the collective you have to be a strong individual, so far these private adventures have only made us stronger.

The world knows famous Icelander, Bjork. Does having one incredibly famous person from your country help/hinder people’s attitudes towards Iceland?

It helps a lot that people have heard of the country and that it produces more than salted cod! For us it is good and inspiring to have her.  She is really good at spotting other people's talents and always works with great people. In all ways, it helps. Except that people sometimes tend to simplify and think that everything that reminds them of her is hers.  But some of it is this Icelandic "tradition" that moulds all people from here.

You all have an amazing and striking look! Where do you get your clothes from/who’s style do you admire?

Thank you!  We make most of our costumes and things we wear in our work ourselves. The costumes are always a very important part of the bigger picture in each project. Sometimes we make the costumes and they sort of lead the projects and ideas.  Our newest costumes are really complicated Baroque crochet pieces. Crochet can really make you wild, because it works really organically and fast, especially with wool.  If you let it take over, you usually end up with some beautiful, complicated knot that still has a structure.

What are your current and future projects?

We are going to Stockholm this week to do a performance at the Modern Museum there and take part in kind of symposium with other artists and curators to discuss how different artists make their own sort of venues and platforms.  Then we go to Reykjavik to do a performance at a forum that brings together visual artists, dancers and theatre. Then a solo show in a small fishing village in Iceland in September. We are working on making our website better, It should be ready soon. So people can see if we are coming to a town near YOU!!!

Special thanks to The Icelandic Love Corporation.

Interview by Dee Sekar for   May 2005