Birgir Andrésson

In Icelandic Colours


For Birgir Andrésson (b. Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, 1955; d. 2007), Iceland was much more than merely his native country. It was the muse and subject of much of his oeuvre. In eclectic works in media ranging from painting, sculpture, and drawing to writing and photography, Andrésson explored Iceland’s culture, history, and nature and deconstructed and redefined Icelandic identity, playfully manipulating local narratives and international stereotypes alike. Color and writing is the central concern in the artist’s oeuvre. In the series Icelandic Colours, he labels various colors uniquely Icelandic even though they could exist anywhere—a jest in the spirit of Magritte’s visual critique of language and semiotics. During his lifetime, Andrésson had more than 50 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 80 group shows. In 1995, he created the Icelandic contribution to the Venice Biennale.

In Icelandic Colours is the first comprehensive and extensive monograph of the oeuvre that this artist, who died too young, built over three decades. With an essay on the conjunction of literature and semiotics in the artist´s work by Robert Hobbs, a foreword by his former student, the internationally known artist Ragnar Kjartansson and interviews with Andrésson´s friends and close contemporaries by Thröstur Helgason.

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