Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Pair, 2004–2005, shoe, mirror with frame, dimensions variable.

Hreinn Friðfinnsson

Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève

When the reformation came to Iceland, it confronted a Catholicism whose roots were old, but whose day-to-day practice was flexible. Before the last bishop, Jón Arason, was decapitated along with his two sons for leading an armed resistance, a priest attempting to comfort him reminded him that there would be a next life. “That I know, little Sveinn!” he replied. Arason’s last words have entered the Icelandic vernacular, and the latent ambiguity in the condemned bishop’s statement corresponds to the ambivalence in Hreinn Friðfinnsson’s work. Friðfinnsson’s faith in art is the bridge that carried him from the farmstead of his childhood to this retrospective, “To Catch a Fish with a Song: 1964–Today,” curated by Andrea Bellini and Krist Gruijthuijsen, but it is a bridge for which he has sometimes displayed skepticism, as if he wasn’t quite sure it would carry his weight.

As a child, Friðfinnsson

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