Helgi Þórsson was born in Egilsstadir in the east of Iceland in 1975.
He studied Sonology at The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, received
his BFA from the Gerrit Rietfeld Academy in 2002 and an MFA from the
Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam in 2004. Helgi was a part of the artist
in Reykjavik and
in Antwerpen. As well as having handled his brush
and chisel for the past decades Helgi is a member of the bands
Dear Helgi, I know your work a little bit - a few years ago I saw a wonderful
bar or maybe it was a lamp or a farmer’s leg- or maybe a combination of all three at Kees van Gelder.
And then I saw many many paintings and sculptures, balding heads
and voluptuous ladies, animal smokers, the undead cats, homeless
ghosts and all was always surrounded by so much magic and so much
fun. At Art Rotterdam I met again a curious bar and all these vessels
and furniture pieces who are also always someone else too. So many
spirits - animal and alcoholic!
From the introduction to your Belissimo Thorsson show I read that
you visited a few mediums, who unraveled some hidden knowledge.
Looking at your work it feels like even your chair or a little tea-
pot knows more than any medium on planet Earth. How did you end
up at a hypnotist this time?
I was in a show with a spiritual artist in Iceland and
there I met a hypnotist, I was curious about it. I found
out that he was in the same building as my accountant,
next time I went with some papers I dropped by the
hypnotist, he was free and gave me a session, not for
free it was rather pricy, but normally he would only
interview people in first session to see if people
are stable or not. I assured him I was totally ok and
stable so he could just get on with it, and it worked,
in a sense: I got in a weird daydream stage and saw
all these bright colors much more intense than if you
just imagine things and colors, it was as watching a
projection in my head.
I did not really go to the mediums for the show, but I
went to them and they told me this stuff - that is the
truth. Why I went is just for curiosity, and when I was
asked to write a text, this came to me and so it came to
be for the exhibition which perhaps is true? I need to
I love this multi-eyed and multi-headed cat, he looks
multi-hypnotized by the calm dog next to him.
And I love the idea of a building which accommodates
an accountant and a hypnotist and who knows what else.
Some of your furniture pieces look like they come
from interiors of similar worlds. Where does the name
“Domti” come from?
Domti was a shop that sold cheap stuff in Smáratorg
shopping center in Iceland, my grandfather had huge
belief in this shop and was always giving members of the
family stuff from there, this was not appreciated.
The shop stopped, I like the name and my grandfather.
Another strange thing about the accountant, he was
great and helped me a lot getting back years of overpaid
tax, but this time I went to the hypnotist, he was not
in and I sent him emails and phoned him but never got
hold of him. One day I went again in that building and
his office was gone, I never heard again from him and I
have had bad luck with my tax.
Maybe you should move your studio to this building where
some mysterious characters appear and disappear. There
must be some portal that the magical accountant and
practical hypnotist keep on exchanging.
And what about the pan flute music?
Yes true, but the accountant is disappearing like that
all the time, I was told.
I must work a bit, then I will have coffee and send
something about the pan flute.
(Helgi disappeared too)
While you take a small break - I was thinking that your
stories and your work follow a dream logic, full of
gaps and past lives and other kind of lives. Maybe it’s
Iceland, so rich in mythic imagination or maybe its just
you lucky to be tapping all the time into some web of
I myself feed heavily on my dreams, for example. Which
often influences my work too. So it’s also like going to
a medium - only instead of going, I am going to sleep.
I rely on this and appreciate the door, which opens in
sleep very much. And sometimes the information that
comes through dreams gets mixed with the reality information and it makes the knowledge so pleasantly elusive and blurry. I like blurry things and especially in art
I love everything blurry and open. This brings me back to
your ceramics inspired by flute music…
Yes I find dreams help and what comes to me in dreams or
in between wake and sleep is what I take most seriously.
One of the most famous medium of our time Edgar Cayce
said we should all listen to our dreams and write them
down and learn to use them in our daily life, and that
we all have psychic powers?
Pan flute music was kind of joke but I got into it and
I have been playing pan flute music for my ceramics and
I believe that with the right technique of the future I
can play it back through the vases, they are very much
So that’s how the ceramics got influenced by the pan
flute, also there is a big mystery surrounding the
Atlantis and ancient civilizations and perhaps its music
from that time?
That is a wonderful way to converse with your vases, -
that you play music for them and then they become the
instrument too. In shamanic cultures it’s also common to
create pottery to the sound of music or a song.
I have been very interested in how sound influences
shapes. Usually it is the form of an instrument that
shapes the sound, but with your approach it seems to
go both ways.
Oh and Im sure your vases are alive!
What I like about your work so much is that it is full
of story. It does not tell a story, but the story tells
it. I think our world is full of facts, but the story is
often disappearing. By “a story” I don’t mean a narrative or an explanation, but rather a myth, personal magic, something mad and ancient but unpredictable and unexplainable, because it’s much older than facts. It can
be traced back through some echoes of dreams, a child’s
imagination and language - or art - like yours. And with
you it is not an occasional discovery, but such a rich
source of this savage and pure otherworldliness.
Can’t wait to see Belissimo Thorsson!
And I wish you to
find Echo in your vases and of course for the account-
ant to find back the right portal!
*in relation to the exhibition Bellissimo Thorsson at 1646, 2016
Að apa og skapa, RÚV, 20.08.2012
1998 Koninklijk Conservatorium, afd. Sonologie, Den Haag 1999-2002 Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, B.F.A. 2002-2003 Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, MA Fine Arts
2019 Groot of Klein, ABC Klubhuis, Antwerpen, Belgium 2018 Smásögur úr kjallaranum, Gallery Geysir, Reykjavik, Iceland 2018 Ik ben Helgi, Souterrain, Antwerpen, Belgium 2017 Back to School, Listamenn, Reykjavik, Iceland 2016 Bellissimo Thorsson, 1646, Den Haag, Holland 2015 Villa Bergström, Candyland, Stockholm, Sweden 2015 Benelux Werkstatte, Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland 2013 Helgi Þórsson, Arion banki, Reykjavik, Iceland 2013 Die Katsen Musikale, Kunstschlager, Reykjavik, Iceland 2011 Litli Föstudagur, The Living Arts Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2009 Helgi Þórsson, Safnarsafnið, Svalbarðsströnd, Iceland 2009 Numeri Fortunati, Momentum Nordic Biennal of Contemporary Art, Moss, Norway 2008 Het mannelijk model, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland 2006 Helgi Þórsson, Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland 2004 Disco musical stories, Buro Leeuwarden - Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, Holland 2004 Wurst Egenhaut Special nr.1-3, Gallerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland 2003 Portable train in a minibar, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland
2019 OpenArt Biennal for outdoor sculptures, Örebro, Sweden 2018 ABC Dixi Night, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, Holland 2018 Fruits and Tutts, The Hague Contemporary Weekend, Den Haag, Holland 2018 Eftir kúnstarinnar reglum, Arion Banki, Reykjavik, Iceland 2018 Bob's Your Uncle, Showhouse Jay Jay, Antwerpen, Belgium 2018 Umhverfing nr. 2, Egilsstaðir, Iceland 2018 Weekend met ABC, De Studio, Antwerpen, Belgium 2018 ABC Lounge Klub, ABC Klubhuis, Antwerpen, Belgium 2017 ABC Honkeytonk, ABC Klubhuis, Antwerpen, Belgium 2017 Plan B, Plan B Festival, Borgarnes, Iceland 2017 Rúllandi snjóbolti #11, Djúpavogur, Iceland 2017 Times no space, Lateral Artspace, Cluj-Napoca, Romania 2017 Opnun, Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland 2016 The Benelux Flute, Lateral Artspace, Cluj-Napoca, Romania 2015 Culturescapes, Kunstschlager, Basel, Swiss 2015 The Kunstschlager Chamber, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2015 Valin 1, Safn, Reykjavik, Iceland 2015 Pa ratten, Studio44, Stockholm, Sweden 2015 Ný málað, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2014 Varalitir, Hafnarborg, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland 2014 Snuggle nacht hesten, Galleria Huuto, Helsinki, Finnland 2014 Kunstschlager á rottunni 2, Verksmiðjan á Hjalteyri, Iceland 2014 Lostastundin, Kunstschlager, Reykjavik, Iceland 2013 Tilraun til að beisla ljósið, Hafnarborg, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland 2013 Fuglar, Gerðuberg, Reykjavík, Iceland 2013 List án landamæra, Reykjavik City Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland 2013 Flæði, National Gallery of Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland 2012 Kjerringen & Rúsi Sæng, w. Steingrímur Eyfjörð, Tidens Krav, Oslo, Norway 2012 Opening, Kunstschlager, Reykjavik, Iceland 2012 Feðgar/mæðgin, Sláturhúsið, Egilstaðir, Iceland 2012 Endemis Offors, Myndhöggvarafélagið, Reykjavik, Iceland 2012 Kosmískir fletir andanna, w. Sigtryggur Berg, Gallerí Ágúst, Reykjavik, Iceland 2011 Frá vöggu til grafar, Rocksbox Fine Art, Portland, USA 2011 Stilluppsteypa, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland 2011 Kjarvalsdeildin, The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2011 Hljómur norðursins, Galtarviti, Iceland 2010 Ljóslitlífun, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2010 Kyrrðarstund: Draumaráðningar, Innblástur og Nýaldartransheilun, Gallery Gangur, Reykjavik, Iceland 2010 Iceland Hits Donau, w. Franz Graf, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria 2010 FLY BY’S, Gallery Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 Numeri fortunati, Favoured Nations, Momentum Biennial, Moss, Norway 2009 Þvottalaugavegur, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland 2009 Iceland meets Berlin, Emerson Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2008 Time machine for Simon and Garfunkel, w. Morgan Betz, KAAP/de Kleine Biennale, Utrecht, Holland 2008 An Artificial intergalactic alien presentation presented by a fantastic wave of
other beings, w. Sigtryggur Berg, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland 2007 Jónas Hallgrímsson, Ketilshúsið, Akureyri, Iceland 2007 Óli Gunnar Seyðisfirði, w. Sigrtyggur Berg, Skaftfell, Seyðisfjörður, Iceland 2007 Bermuda Love Triangle, w. Morgan Betz, 101 Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland 2006 Pakkhús postulanna, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2006 Fields for propositions, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland 2006 Fultjacks blot, Raid Projects, Los Angeles, USA 2006 Tölvuprentið tekið út, Hoffmannsgallerí, Reykjavik, Iceland 2006 Denkt allen, 85 Gallery, Antwerpen, Belgium 2006 Prójekt Patterson, Suðsuðvestur, Reykjanesbær, Iceland 2006 Urban Explorers, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Dordrecht, Holland 2005 Grús, The Nordic House, Reykjavik, Iceland 2005 Winterkou, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland 2005 Takkar, The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2005 Dieter Roth Academy, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland 2005 Tívólí, Listasafn Árnesinga, Hveragerði, Iceland 2004 Sons and Dottirs, TENT, Rotterdam, Holland 2004 Dieter Roth Academy, St.Petri, Lubeck, Germany 2004 Jonge kunstenaars, Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, Holland 2004 Kunst Vlaai 5, Amsterdam, Holland 2003 Art Primeur, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Dordrecht, Holland
2018 Mural at Beursschouwburg, Brussel, Belgium 2015 Sequences Baby Doll Bar, Sequences real-time art festival, Reykjavik, Iceland
2018 Collectible/ABC Klubhuis, Brussel, Belgium 2006 Art Rotterdam/1646, Rotterdam, Holland 2014 Supermarket/Kunstschlager, Stockholm, Sweden 2006 Berliner Art Forum/Galerie van Gelder, Berlin, Germany 2005 Berlin Liste/Kling & Bang Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2004 Kunst RAI/Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam, Holland
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