Friðfinnsson is not only one of Iceland’s leading Conceptual artists, but he himself can be considered a landscape, an atmosphere, a state of mind. His work has inspired younger generations of artists, such as Olafur Eliasson and Philippe Parreno, who have supported his work throughout the years. He is an artist’s artist in the truest sense of the phrase, but this has meant that his work has remained relatively unknown to the broader public.
Hreinn Friðfinnsson’s conceptual work has been characterized as poetic and playful, dealing often with storytelling, nature and time. It can be almost anything: a photograph, a story, a tracing, an atmosphere,a quasi-scientific experiment, a paint stirring stick or a secret. A split second up in the air between the years 1975 and 1976, one shoe searching for the other one to form a pair. His works are often structured around dualities and reversals. Both in form and content they are hard to pin down. The works remain in state of flux even after their conception, often older works are reused or expanded upon.
Born in 1943 in Baer Dölum, Iceland, Hreinn Friðfinnsson has been living in Amsterdam since 1971. He has exhibited internationally since the 1970s and had solo exhibitions at respected institutions such as the National Gallery (Reykjavík), the Serpentine Gallery (London) and Bergen Konsthall (Norway). In 2019-2020 a major retrospective To Catch a Fish with a Song: 1964-Today took place at KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva. Amsterdam based venues such as Gallery 845 (1970’s), Galerie van Gelder (1990’s), Kunstverein (2015) and Eenwerk (2018) have hosted solo shows.