The Factory in Hjalteyri
The herring factory in Hjalteyri, north Iceland was built in 1937 and closed its doors in 1966. According to some sources it was the biggest of its kind in Europe during the era. Today, the concrete hull – Mjölhúsið/fishmeal building - is an art & project space, but this unique space is comprised of three-levels, covering a total of 1500 square metres.«Verksmiðjan á Hjalteyri» was founded in 2008, is an art collective that runs an active art and culture program in the old herring factory in Hjalteyri. It came to life in October 2007 with the first exhibition and official opening of the new venue taking place on August 2nd, 2008. The collective's aim was to reanimate the old and weathered factory, incorporating collaborative work with art schools, collectives or other associations, the intention being to create a platform for local and international artists, to work in a creative environment and intentionally not restore the houses from their ruins or the entropic condition. The activities still are partly seasonal and primarily consist of a summer programme of exhibitions and events running between early May and the end of September. The winter projects are different, workshops and studios in collaboration with art schools or individuals. In the near future the plan is to work more with art-schools, but mainly use the facility as an art studio, for visual art and music and sometimes to produce bigger works to be shown in the a more vigorous exhibition and festival program continuing to thrive during the summer months. The centre is non-profit, but gets subventions mostly from the icelandic art fund and uppbyggingarsjóður. The factory provides a very inspiring and creative setting, and has mostly been used to house installation art, sculpture, audio, films and video. The building, its story and its surroundings spur many fresh ideas, and the works shown here are often produced especially with the factory in mind with the help of the Verksmiðjan association.