Grófarsalur 28.01.2017 til 14.05.2017

Jóhanna Ólafsdóttir - Photographs


This exhibition features a selection of works by Jóhanna Ólafsdóttir who is one of only a few Icelandic women photographers of her generation who has worked as a photographer throughout her career. She took part in group exhibitions in 1980-87, and in 2012 and 2014 in retrospectives of Icelandic photography, where her work attracted well-deserved attention. This is her first solo exhibition in Iceland.  

Jóhanna is a sensitive photographer of everyday life. Her series of commonplace scenes – such as the diverse street life in the city centre or people fetching mail from post-office boxes – are clear evidence of this. Transcendent beauty did not appeal to her – she preferred the beauty that appears where it is least expected. The magic of Jóhanna´s photography lies in seizing moments which will otherwise be lost, and providing the eye with the distance and setting that are required in order to discern the beauty in them.

Jóhanna studied with two Icelandic photographers but in 1971 she was employed by the National Theatre as principal photographer where she worked for 14 years. The 70´s was also a time of ferment in Icelandic visual arts, and Jóhanna established bonds with many artists, and photographed them and their work. Without Jóhanna‘s images, documentation of that remarkable time in Icelandic art would be sparse. In 1987 Jóhanna left the National Theatre for the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, where she has worked as a photographer ever since.