Shoplifter’s “Chromo Sapiens” will soon have a permanent home – SURFACE

The art world made a collective double take when Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, the Icelandic artist also known as Shoplifter, made his debut Chromo Sapiens at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale. “Dr. Seuss on LSD,” she replied in a neutral tone when we asked her to describe the monumental installation, best described as an immersive cave of extensions of neon synthetic hair. “Think of a hypernatural, multisensory environment that is also a colossal, cuddly puppet. Imagine being cuddled by a giant teddy bear,” Shoplifter told us when Chromo Sapiens made its debut. “I like to make art that brings people together.”

After a successful biennial, Chromo Sapiens has been on temporary display at the Reykjavik Art Museum, but will soon be permanently installed in Höfuðstöðin, an arts and cultural destination slated to open in the Icelandic capital in August. According to the Kickstarter, Höfuðstöðin will occupy a building near the lush Elliðaárdalur valley that once housed WWII barracks, but was later used as a potato nursery. Once renovated, the main attraction will likely be Chromo Sapiens, but Shoplifter envisions an arts and culture center complete with multi-purpose spaces that will host events such as workshops, concerts and conferences. Much of its interior design, including a main living room, will be made from locally recycled plastic from Plastplan, a local plastic recycling company.

Höfuðstöðin will become a community bond that will offer rejuvenating experiences for mind, body and soul. Shoplifter describes it as “an oasis, where you can enjoy culture and coffee surrounded by nature. It is a meeting place before or after an outing in the labyrinth of paths through the forest and the banks of the Elliðárdalur valley. To support this venture, none other than Icelandic singer Björk, a longtime collaborator who commissioned Shoplifter to create the distinctive hair sculpture that adorned the cover of her 2004 album Medúlla, as well as styles from her recent Cornucopia tour. . The two are planning a fundraiser at the space later this summer.


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