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 initiative Kunstschlager in Reykjavik and ABC Klubhuis in Antwerpen. As well as having handled his brush and chisel for the past decades Helgi is a member of the bands Stilluppsteypa and Evil Madness.







OV: 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?

HT: 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 go again.

OV: 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?

HT: 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.

OV: 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?

HT: 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)

OV: 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 wild intelligence.

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…

HT: 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 alive.

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?

OV: 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





Seyðisfjörður, 2007




Solo Exhibitions

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

Group Exhibitions

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


Projects

2018 Mural at Beursschouwburg, Brussel, Belgium
2015 Sequences Baby Doll Bar, Sequences real-time art festival, Reykjavik, Iceland


Fairs

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