Critique

Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir is a ceramic artist whose medium is not limited to clay. As her works show, her background is first and foremost Icelandic, but in addition to her studies at the Icelandic School of Art and Craft, Guðný has also studied and experienced ceramics in Denmark, Finland and Hungary.

Iceland has a great story-telling tradition and the works of Icelandic artists are often characterised by story-telling features. This also applies to Guðný’s work. Motifs of ancient traditional beliefs are reborn in her beautifully formed freedom stones. Such stones were traditionally used to help women during childbirth. Poems sometimes accompany her works, which make them more personal and add a level of sincerity. Heads of characters from the Viking era appear from glass bottles that have been given a new costume, and in similar works, Guðný flies the flag for Icelandic women. Contemporary recycling gets a new role through Guðný’s works.

But the feeling is far from one where the weight of history rests on the works. On the contrary, her newest works are characterised by lightness and gaiety. Guðný often looks to form in everyday life for inspiration for her craft works. So for example, roof gutters and raindrops are the inspiration for her newest line in cups, trays and breadboards. Here one can find both the form of raindrops and the colour of blue skies. Guðný’s work is characterised by imagination, variety, an awareness of the past and a sensitive perception of the present. Together, these qualities create colourful and thought-provoking art.”

Ragna Sigurðardóttir