The Icelandic Pavilion 2019

Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir: Chromo Sapiens

Curator: Birta Guðjónsdóttir

Chromo Sapiens, 2019. Photo: Ugo Carmeni

Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2019 with her installation Chromo Sapiens. Shoplifter’s practice overlaps many different creative fields. From fashion to fiction to furry action to tactile friction, her oeuvre encompasses ways of making that belong to the visual arts and to design. For her installation, Chromo Sapiens, she continued to develop her unique textile techniques and specialized manipulations of her signature material; multi-colored synthetic hair extensions, creating a large-scale environment that can be compared to an overgrown plant-like organism or an inverted hairdo. Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter invited audiences into a multi-sensory environment, “a journey into the center of a new hypernatural world”, to use her own words. In exploring the installation audiences became one with it, immersed in a dynamic field of vibrant color, textures, light, shadows and sound.

For Chromo Sapiens, the Icelandic band HAM was commissioned to create a special soundscape and an ‘Anthem’. The group has played an important role in Shoplifter’s creative processes ever since she was a teenager. She is enormously influenced by how HAM’s dynamic sound takes over our senses and echoes the darkness in all of us. In HAM’s own words from the Chromo Sapiens Anthem; You’re doomed, you’ve got no bloody chance. Until you open up your heart to Chromo Sapiens.

Photo: Installation view of Chromo Sapiens, the Icelandic Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, 2019. Photo: Ugo Carmeni © Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter

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