The Nordic House’s exhibition hall opened in 1971, three years after the house. The first director of The Nordic House, Ivar Eskeland, realized that there was no exhibition hall in Reykjavík, and he started a process in 1969 to open an exhibition hall in an empty space under the house. The Nordic countries participated in the financing of the work and in 1971 the new exhibition hall opened. It became immediately a central place for visual art in Reykjavik and many interesting Nordic artists have exhibited here over the years, for example, Juhani Linnovaara, Roj Friberg, Ragnheiði Jónsdóttur and Hafsteinn Austmann.
In the winter of 2019, there was water damage in the exhibition hall, and the hall has been closed since March. The renovation work began in the fall 2019 and the exhibition hall is now ready. The flooring material has been replaced, but otherwise everything is original. The stone walls, the wooden doors and the wooden sections of the ceiling give the room its character. The two-part exhibition space is flexible and can be adjusted for each exhibition. With the first exhibition we want to show the actual architectural room and its possibilities.
We call the exhibition hall “Hvelfing” (in English vault). The vault serves as the foundation for the hall and the vault stores its most valuable items. In this exhibition hall we want to let the art take part in a Nordic social discourse. Themes such as equality, sustainability and diversity are important for the Nordic House and this will be reflected in our exhibition program. The exhibitions are produced by the Nordic House or in collaboration with other organizations.
Because the Nordic House has children and young people as its main target group, we will have educational program and guides for families and school classes in the exhibition hall.
In 2020 we will have four exhibitions. The year begins with the group exhibition Land Beyond the Sea with Finnish artists, and it is produced by the Pro Artibus Foundation. In April, we open Icelandic Graphic’s 50th anniversary exhibition and during the summer we show an exhibition in collaboration with Reykjavik Arts Festival and their program Platform Gátt which focuses on young Nordic artists. During the autumn, we show a Nordic group exhibition that addresses the theme of equality and gender in a Nordic context.