In summer 2010 in Reykjavík 14 European galleries established an international art district, called VILLA REYKJAVÍK. Solo exhibitions and projects involving a few chosen artists were organised and a review of private European galleries - from Vilnius and Warsaw to London and Reykjavík - were taken place next to each other, creating a place of meeting and confrontation. The apparent distance of Reykjavík from the art centres of Europe ensures conditions which are perfect for a meeting, without the quotidian gallery work routine. But this is not the only advantage – villa project had a chance to get better acquainted with the local art and music scene, to circulate the new ideas and contexts for art creation and presentation.



The idea behind VILLA REYKJAVÍK is a creative meeting located far from the global centers of the art market centers and from the places were most of us work day-to-day. On the one hand, it is an attempt to create a friendly alternative to the extremely centralized and mercantile atmosphere of art fairs, which are the natural meeting place of galleries from the whole world. On the other hand, it is a meeting with a new audience and an attempt to create – for one week – an “ideal” gallery scene, a scene which brings together a constellation of the most creative galleries featuring young art from various places, presents various models of action, but with the belief in artistic values over mercantile ones. Not by chance our project is taking place away from the main trade routes of the modern art industry. Its point is to reveal that which is spontaneous, experimental, and not weighed down by the routine work of a gallery. This is not an art fair. It is a collection of special shows, exhibitions, discussion groups, concerts, screenings, and social meetings prepared by individual galleries. It is especially important to us to create a friendly and open atmosphere, facilitating contact between the audience and the artists, gallery owners, and all the project participants.


We witnessed a significant geographical shift with the focus on this one particular place on the map. All the invited galleries created an international art district. Solo exhibitions or projects involving a few chosen artists were organised. A review of private European galleries - from Vilnius and Warsaw to London and Reykjavík - took place next to each other, creating a place of meeting and confrontation.



We owe an enormous great of gratitude to all the Icelanders, CIA, i8 and Kling&Bang and our coordinators, for their great hospitality and help. But first of all the whole project could not be accomplished without the eager contribution and engagement of the galleries. From the word go we could count on your support and your ingenious ideas. It was a huge pleasure to observe that the tune we had started was taken up by others who added new hues and individual melodies to the whole piece. Finally, nothing great was ever achieved without good atmosphere, and thanks to all of you the friendly spirit of cooperation was in abundance in Reykjavík, and Villa became a multi-faceted art event. We really succeeded to create an international art community, and communication platform for the galleries, artists, musicians, and – last but not least – the audience.

We still receive lots of positive feedback from the public and journalists. Richard Unwin from „Frieze” compared Villa Reykjavík to a „cultural catharsis”. For many our guests, like Dorota Jarecka from „Gazeta Wyborcza” Polish daily, it was unprecedented opportunity to learn more not only about the artists featured by Villa Reykjavík, but also about the vivid Icelandic art scene. Laura McLean-Ferris from „Art Review” asked „Is this a new step for commercial galleries pushing the artworld agenda? Or will they break off to go somewhere else entirely?” Being approached with the question about the future of the Villa project, we see it exactly like this – as creative space for critical self-reflection on a galleries' identity and programme. We hope that we will meet again in the next incarnation of Villa, with new ideas and new contexts for art creation and presentation.




Project organized by Raster


Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.





Concept: Łukasz Gorczyca & Michał Kaczyński
Project Coordinators: Paulina Wrocławska, Karol Sienkiewicz, Kamila Bondar, Kristín Dagmar Jóhannesdóttir, Edda Kristín Sigurjonsdóttir, Lilja Gunnarsdóttir
Visual Identification: Jakub de Barbaro