Reykjavik Botanic Garden.
Laugardalur, 104 Reykjavik
Opening hours: 10:00-15:00
 
Conscious compound
23.03.-02.04.2024
Opening: 23.03.2024, 14:00-16:00
 
Performance by Wanxin Qu, Play Paradise, 14:30 (10min) and 15:30 (10min)
Guided tour with artists Emil, Heimir Snær, Vala Sigþrúðar Jónsdóttir and Wanxin Qu, and curators Bryn Nóel Francis and Hreinn Hákonarson, 29.03.2024, 14:00-15:00
Guided tour in Icelandic Sign Language by curator Bryn Nóel Francis, 30.03.2024, 14:00-15:00
Artists: Emil, Heimir Snær, Laura Wiemers, Linnéa Jonsson, Manuel Strube, Marzieh Amiri, Nicole Desautels, Sandijs Ruluks, Sunniva Allanic, Vala Sigþrúðar Jónsdóttir and Wanxin Qu.
Curators: Bryn Nóel Francis and Hreinn Hákonarson.
 
The exhibition is a collaboration between Reykjavik Botanic Garden and master students in Art Theory at the University of Iceland along with master students in Fine Art at the Iceland University of the Arts. This project engages these students in combining ideas, stories and backgrounds in creating a collection, a pile of nutrition, a fusion of energy and to exchange genetic material.
 
A compound of artists from various backgrounds shoot their roots within Reykjavik Botanic Garden’s soil to mark the beginning of Spring in Iceland. There are many stories hidden in the living museum waiting to be found, and these hybrid creatures and plants invite guests to hear their voices of truth and reason. What may one find other than themselves, facing the will of conscientious care?
 
What is the meaning of conscious compound? Can compost think?
Compound, compost, combination, hybrid, fusion, mixture, mash-up, a pile.  When looking up the word compound in the dictionary, the meaning of the title becomes clear. A compound of artists coming from various directions collaborate within a living environment where their artistic energies shoots roots. The compound also exchanges nutrition for the environment and for their living surroundings to create something new, in order for their artworks to bloom.
 
The Reykjavik Botanic Garden in Laugardalur is not merely surrounded by houses and people, but also by roots, and the garden celebrates the artists’ fiery roots and purpose which builds a connection that tells in one way or another the relationship between man and nature.
The garden inhabits and provides everything an artist needs: energy, light, nutrition, creation, and reproduction. The garden is their subject matter and material, and the garden embraces the artists’ and the man-made structures. The artists are faced with their roots of differing vines that are stretched deep within the soil which are meek and conscientious. Knowledge and growth are time consuming but never ending. The pile thinks as far the man does, whether within the grounds of the Botanic Garden or within one's own ground.
 
The artists are aware while stepping into dialogue of the man-made garden, that they inhabit one’s perception of nature. Conscientiously each navigate their way knowing they will never grasp or fully understand the nature of plant or understand the mind of a garden, nor learn their languages. Curiosity, play, and communication builds a bridge between these worlds. By digging themselves within the garden’s soil, to plant the pile, conscious compound, they find their roots stretched and ever growing into the garden’s secrets. Sounds, movements, visions, and the garden and its nature are together a living being of creative communication in which the artists have outmost respect for.
 
Artists:
Your Rhythm, 2024
Emil (b. 1998) studied at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and completed his BA degree in Fine Arts at Glasgow School of Art in 2023. He is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses themes of self-reflection, corporeal awareness and the interplay between natural and social environments. He examines and challenges our conception of and relation to our natural surroundings, through interactive sculptural installations and performances while utilizing his musical knowledge and dance background.
For the Botanical Garden Emil has created a large-scale interactive wooden sculpture. Your Rhythm is inspired by rhythms and patterns in our natural environment and our own personal lives and it explores concepts of curiosity and reflection. The work invites guests to physically engage, enter into its rhythm and listen.
 
Per Umbra, 2024
The Presence
Diurnal Line
Heimir Snær (b.1993) is a visual artist with a background in Fine Art painting and filmmaking. He graduated from the Fine Art Painting program at the Reykjavik School of Visual Arts in 2022 and from the University of Cumbria with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2023. Ranging from paintings, installations, sculpture and video, his practice aims to pierce the veil shrouding the world of artistic intention and to conjure the unseen bonds between the real and the ephemeral.
Heimir Snær presents his artwork titled in Latin, Per Umbra. A lover's likeness, a diurnal line and a painter's hand. By light we are given shadow, and by shadow we are given flesh.
 
If my understanding is accurate, you have affection for me, 2024
There are several earthworms who are named after my grandfather, 2024
Laura Wiemers (b. 1997) studied Fine Arts at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar, Germany, and is currently studying in the MA Fine Arts program at the Iceland University of the Arts. She engages across disciplines through interactive objects, installation, drawing, sound, touch, and movement. Her work is about exploring material in a traveling and changing stage combined with human projections, intentions and wishes.
Compost is getting better over time, and information and belonging can travel through deconstruction and recombination. Earthworms are vehicles and could maybe answer to existential and metaphorical questions addressed to life. Let’s grapple with a diffuse definition of eternity and identity while bonding with the compost area of the botanical garden!
 
Swedish Element. This can be a cheap option if you have access to firewood, however, it requires manual labour, 2024
Linnéa Jonsson (b. 1986) finished her BFA in 2018 from Konstfack, Sweden with a special interest in the everyday. The relationship between humans and objects, what that makes of our perception of the world and how we create and live within it. She works with varied materials and mediums making sculptures, installations, video works, prints and participatory art works. During the master’s program at Iceland University of the Arts she has picked up an interest in the elements, the raw materials itself and the structures they live by.
 In Swedish, a radiator is called Element, short for värmeelement. The word has therefore two meanings in the Swedish language, an actual element, and a radiator, but can also be referred to a basic part of a whole. Pine has been and still is one of Sweden's most common commodities. Sawn wood was the top fifth most exported goods from Sweden last year.
 
When it comes to roots, 2024
Manuel Strube has been studying sculpture in the fine arts degree program at the Berlin Weißensee Academy of Art since 2018. His passion lies at the intersection of art, technology, music, and sound. Manuel Strube specializes in creating immersive installations that recontextualize the spaces they inhabit. He has worked on projects that are intend to challenge the conventional boundaries of art, utilizing technology to engage and interact with the audience.
For this project Manuel has collected interviews with some of Iceland's migrants with whom he has developed personal relationships. A composition of fragments from theses voice recordings is played through hidden loudspeakers in the plants.
 
Witness, 2024
Marzieh Amiri (b. 1983) graduated with an associate degree in Iranian traditional arts, and with a bachelor's degree in graphic design from the University of Iran. In her work for the context of the Botanic Garden, Marzieh tells the story about a woman who does not scream. The work is about the silencing of women in her home country of Iran, crimes against women that are ignored. But here there are witnesses, the plants have witnessed an act of violence. Is there hope? In her work Marzieh builds on the theories of Clive Bakster, polygraph expert, form the seventies about plants as thinking beings which themselves act as lie detectors using polygraph equipment.
 
Not on my Turf, 2024
Nicole Desautels (b. 1991) is an artist of Icelandic and French descent from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) from the University of Manitoba. Desautels is currently working on her masters in the Fine Arts program at Iceland University of the Arts. She works primarily in time-based media, such as video and performance, however, Desautels also enjoys experimenting with other mediums such as sculpture and painting. She draws from absurdist comedy, popular culture, satire, and the freewheeling imagination of children’s entertainment. 
In her work for the Botanic Garden, Nicole Desautels searches for the meaning of defending a home and identity. The geese represent how scared and territorial we are, and our need to defend ourselves when we feel challenged. The turf house represents wanting to belong and have a home, but can we really feel at home if we are constantly defending ourselves?
 
The museum of burned past, 2024
Sandijs Ruluks (b. 1980) is a designer and multi-disciplinary artist mainly working with photography and video. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in visual communication from the Art Academy of Latvia. Currently he is studying Fine Arts at the Iceland University of the Arts, and in his current artistic practice he explores the relationship between time and the perception of it, combining video, drawing and machine with a system of organized chaos. The artworks are constructed on the site, using charcoal from the wood collected in the Botanical Garden.
 
Rabbit 1-mid leap, 2024
Rabbit 2 - all ears and stomach, 2024
Rabbit 3 - dissociate, duplicate, 2024
Sunniva Allanic (b. 2000) of Franco-Irish decent, is currently a student at the École des Beaux Arts in Nantes, France, and is participating in an exchange program at Iceland University of the Arts. The main body of her work revolves around the forms of animals and more recently in the particularlity of rabbits. Through sculpture, she represents her subjects in a state that provokes uncertainty, in a state between birth, mutation, sleep and death. From her work one can read the feeling of missing, of loss, and an irreversible change.
 
Quite tense, quite calm, 2024
Vala Sigþrúðar Jónsdóttir (b. 1993) lives and makes art in Reykjavik. She holds a BA from Gerrit Rietveld Academy, and MA in art education from Iceland University of the Arts. In recent years she has produced installations and sculptures that deal with the materiality of textiles and video, and the relationship these two mediums have with human environments and systems. These days she is working on a series of works that deal with moving textiles, where tension of hand-spun thread plays a key role. 
 
Play Paradise, 2024
Wanxin Qu (b. 1993) graduated in 2017 with a BA in costume design from the University of Arts in London and has been working in different fields of art as a costume designer, sculptor and body joint doll designer. She has worked in various mediums including drawing, sculpture, stop motion animation, sound installation, music, and performance.
The project Play Paradise draws inspiration from observing children playing, and the imaginative worlds they create and believe in, granting them the "superpower" to revive non-living things. This project aims to create an interactive installation in nature where viewers of all ages can engage and explore, envisioning a playful paradise.
 
Curators:
Bryn Nóel Francis (b. 1996) graduated in 2022 with a BA in Sign Language and Deaf Studies with a minor degree in Art Theory at the University of Iceland and has been working primarily within the Deaf community of Iceland. Currently Bryn Nóel Francis is focused on the research of Deaf Art alongside working with sign language speaking children at a bilingual preschool. His main interests are in cultural and minority community worlds, communication and language structures within communities and hidden worlds. Bryn Nóel Francis also works with hybrid identities, diaspora, relationships, time and memories whether in his own art or in curating.
 
Hreinn Hákonarson (b. 1952) completed a degree in theology from the University of Iceland in 1981 and a BA degree in art history last February. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in art history. For 40 years, he served as a priest in the Lutheran National Church of Iceland, predominantly as a prison chaplain. Hreinn has translated numerous books, written many articles in newspapers and magazines, authored prose, and composed plays. He manages the online magazine Kirkjubladid.is and serves as its editor. His interests include arts, forestry, and cultural issues. Additionally, Hreinn crafts nature sculptures from wooden logs in his spare time. He is married, has four children, and nine grandchildren.