Iceland

Memories of a Stateless State Pavilion

For decades the Icelandic Pavilion in Venice was artist-run. The government would pay the rent of the pavilion (which was actually the Finnish Pavilion, designed by Alvar Aalto, and originally built as temporary project for the Architecture Biennale in 1956), flight tickets, stay and maybe an exhibition leaflet. It was the artists who would take care of, and even finance, the rest – in-cluding production and transport of the piece and the building up and installing of it, most often with other artist friends. The maintenance of the pavilion during the Biennale would then be in-formally run by the staff of the Scandinavian Pavilion or of the Biennale itself (opening, closing, and cleaning).

In 2003 an Icelandic political representative was present at the opening of the Icelandic Pavilion for the first time. This means that – though the Ministry of Culture has radically increased its commitment to the participation of Icelandic artists at Venice Biennial since 2003, and the private sector has started contributed a bit too – throughout history, artists from Iceland, rather than the cultural, or political, authorities or institutions, have been the force maintaining and organizing the country’s participation in this huge international art event.

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Icelandic Art Center
Artist:
Katrín Sigurðardóttir
Curators:
Mary Ceruti; Ilaria Bonacossa
Selection procedure:
Jury selection of the artist.

Curator

Name:
Mary Ceruti
Gender:
Female
Born:
The United States of America, 1965
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Curator

Name:
Ilaria Bonacossa
Gender:
Female
Born:
Italy, 1973
Lives and works in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Katrín Sigurðardóttir
Gender:
Female
Born:
Iceland, 1967
Lives and works in:
Iceland and the United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Politics & Economics

State System:
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-left eurosceptic coalition of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Green-Left Movement
Population (World Bank, 2011):
319,014
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$43,967
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
7.1% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$25,990,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$17,400,000

Alliances


Coalition of the Willing
International Criminal Court recognized
NATO
OECD
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1944 (from Denmark)
Last Major Border Revision:
1972 (expansion of the Exclusive Economic Zone)
Colonial History:
Former Danish colony
International Court of Justice cases:
2
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
No ranking
Nuclear Force?
No
Participation in Multinational Missons:
Iceland joined the NATO on the condition that they would not be expected to establish an army. Iceland has contributed Crisis Response Units and Coastal Guards to missions in Kosovo, Libya and Afghanistan. These troops were trained in Norway.