By Ragna Sigurdardottir

Galley Kling & Bang 2006
Yellow Beans

By Ragna Sigurðardóttir

11 December 2006, Morgunblaðið – Visual Art, Kling & Bang Gallery

Helga Óskarsdóttir exhibited her work Art Distribution in the Kling & Bang Gallery on Reykjavík’s Laugavegur, thereby following in the footsteps of artists who have sought to create their work in public places. In a pamphlet accompanying the exhibition, Jón Proppé discusses Daniel Spoerri’s penchant for giving found objects to friends and relatives. Helga takes a similar track here, except that she creates the artistic object herself, the seed or the bean that visitors receive as a gift to take with them and put down wherever they like.

The exhibition incorporated several photographs with examples of where Helga had placed the yellow bean – a bench at a bus stop, next to a street, in a private home. Artists such as Harmen de Hoop from The Netherlands spring to mind, who do not work in galleries but rather on the street. Examples of his work are clothes pegs attached to signs at a bus stop and a screwdriver placed in a telephone booth, an ironic reference to common vandalism. He has been known to place four city garbage bins on the same street corner, to put the sign HOTEL next to steps leading down to the subway, and to set down crates of apples next to free newspapers in train stations.

Harmen de Hoop causes pedestrians to think, as does Helga. She has chosen to step outside the limits of a conventional pattern characterised by the purchase and sale of expensive artworks, turns viewers into active participants, causes them to contemplate the nature of art and its place, and to see mundane surroundings in a new light. The yellow colour also works very well in the midwinter darkness, and the yellow bean is highly popular in my home – family members fight over it.

Helga Óskarsdóttir recently presented a unique work at a joint exhibition in the Kling & Bang Gallery, and now once again shows what a clever and imaginative artist she is.

Ragna Sigurdardottir