Moeller Fine Art Berlin is pleased to present "þurrlendi," (pronounced "frürrländy") a selection of paintings and drawings from the 1980s by Icelandic artist Gunar Örn Gunnarsson (1946–2008). The title of the exhibition comes from the Icelandic word for land or earth, as Gunnarsson's work from this period focuses on the Icelandic folk tradition and its strong relation to nature, filled with dream-like images which recall a distant, mythological past.
A self-taught artist who has become one of Iceland’s leading artistic figures nationally and internationally, Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson was discovered by Guggenheim museum curator Edward F. Fry, who was an early champion of his work. Gunnarsson's paintings of the 1980s contrast with the more abstract style of many of his Icelandic contemporaries, including those of his close friend Olafur Eliasson, whose mentor he was. Initially inspired by the nation’s traditional artistic concern with nature and the human connection, Gunnarsson’s paintings in the 1980s show human and animal figures—and sometimes hybrids of the two—intertwined within the landscape. His expressionistic approach, deft brushwork and strong use of color demonstrate a master of figurative and spiritually charged painting. Eliason writes about his friend, "It was Gunnar’s ability to transform landscape forms, whether symbolic, metaphoric, or naturalistic, that taught me not only to see the world around me but to consider our movement through the landscape as an inseparable part of it." (2009)
Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson lived in Kambur, Iceland, in close contact with the landscape and wildlife that inspired his work so strongly. Gunnarsson represented his country at the Bienal de São Paulo in 1985 and at the Venice Biennale in 1989. His works may be found in public collections worldwide, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, The National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, The Seibu Museum, Tokyo, The Moderna Museet and the National Gallery of Sweden, Stockholm. Gunnar Örn Gunnarsson also had solo exhibitions at Moeller Fine Art, New York in 1985 and 1989 and at Moeller Fine Art, Berlin in 2010.