Huldufólk / Hidden People

Hobusepea Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
Solo exhibition

The highlight of the installation “Huldufólk”, located on both floors of the gallery, lies in the silent tragicomical piece composed by photographs, a tragicomedy with derived words, a silent film and a comic strip. The tragicomic strip is set in winter, in the surroundings of the back door of a 24-hour food store in Reykjavik. The geographical location does not really matter here much more than perhaps recognizing larger fish crates, longer lasting nights, rapid change of weather and temperatures; depicted activities and related attributes can be found anywhere in the world. One can see single or several store workers smoking in front of the open back door either during the day or in the evenings while now and then re-organizing the towering heaps of crates in their limited territory. At the end of the month, the scene will be changed by the crowd consisting people from Eastern European countries and other non-local individuals entering the “stage”, performing various cleaning work. Just like the store is open 24 hours a day, so the backyard of the store is never empty while those interested in the contents of the garbage bins keep coming and going. Everyone in this crowd seems to have his or her own role in the exchange and movement of the goods. “Huldufolk” means “hidden people” in Icelandic – these are supernatural beings who look and behave like normal people but have their own activities in their own parallel world. They can make themselves visible for humans who can see them through a colourful glass.

The photographic and film material has been collected in 2018 when the artist worked in the residency at The Steina and Woody Vasulka Archive at the National Gallery of Iceland.

Photos: Liina Siib, Anna Mari Liivrand