Gudrun Lilja Gunnlaugsdottir, curator

There is something exciting and provocative about confronting the unknown. That was how I felt when I was requested to act as curator for this exhibit. It is like the weather in Iceland, one never knows precisely what one is venturing into.

In selecting works for the exhibition, several insistent questions arose immediately:

What kind of exhibition would I myself like to see?

What is happening in Icelandic design today?

What is unique about Icelandic design?

In fact, is there anything that might be called "Icelandic design"?

What opportunities does mental energy provide us with?

There is no simple answer to these questions. After all, design is a journey searching for discoveries – and so long as we are willing to embark on these journeys, even more questions will awaken. 

What I wanted of the exhibition was to see the unexpected and experience something which would touch me, and hopefully others as well. Also, I wanted visitors to acquire a deeper understanding of what design is, where it comes from and what thoughts lie behind the works.

Design is not to be put on a pedestal; it is part of our overall environment, and through this exhibition I would like to make the viewer a participant.

In our ever-shrinking world, the uniqueness of each nation is becoming less tangible. We will only be able to set ourselves apart and create our own special status by being true to our inner consciousness, creative power, and heritage. On the other hand, we have the wind in our sails; Icelandic design is gaining momentum fast.

The works in Magma (Kvika in Icelandic) come from all quarters and reflect certain contrasts – nature, the city and the interaction between them – which are distinct but complementary. For me the name of the exhibition, Magma/Kvika, reflects the present state of Icelandic design: it is simmering – anything can happen.

Gudrun Lilja Gunnlaugsdottir



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