Blind Date

+The Collection

Artworks lead a strange life. They come into begin in the artist's lonely struggle, are put up in an exhibition where people come to look at them and they may even get a write ­up in the newspapers. After all this, many of them end up in museums where they are kept, along with all the others, in dark storage rooms. What happens in the storage room?

When we go to look at art that has been kept there for decades we can be in for a surprise. The artworks have matured, we notice subtle changes and see that new connections have been made. Suddenly there is a close relationship between works that had seemed very different before. An ab­stract painting proves to be remarka­bly like one of the old landscapes. The conceptual artworks have made the old portraits think and conceptual pieces, in turn, have grown proud of their aes­thetic qualities.

We do not put artworks in museums in order to hide them away. Museums must constantly tend to their collec­tions, research the works and their context, find connections to contem­porary culture and exhibit the art so that the public can see it. The museum must be a living venue, not only for new art but also for the works in the storage rooms. The Kópavogur Art Museum has recently made a special effort to show visitors the work that goes into tending the collection. The museum holds special collections that require constant research and revaluation, most notably the large collection of works by Gerður Helgadóttir, and a space has now been set up in the museum where visitors can see how these works are brought out for examination and research. The exhibition Blind Date is part of this effort and focuses on the general collections, artwork that has been purchased or donated over the years, since the town of Kópavogur began to collect art in 1965.

The works themselves span a whole century of Icelandic art history and the exhibition seeks to trace their connections and explore how a collection like this is built up gradually over the years. The art­works enter the collection at different times, selected by different genera­tions of museum staff, and little by lit­tle they come to form a complex whole that reflects the purpose and history of the museum and the art world of which it is a part.Some of the art will be familiar while other pieces will surprise but the most interesting aspect of an exhibition like this lies in the connections that emerge slowly in the life of the collection and continue to form and reform on blind dates in the darkened storage rooms.

Curators are Jón Proppé, Kristín Dagmar Jóhannesdóttir and Brynja Sveinsdóttir.