Erla S. Haraldsdóttir_Profile image

Erla S. Haraldsdóttir


Erla S. Haraldsdóttir works with painting, drawing, printmaking and photo-montage as a means to cite cultural symbols and insert them in evocative images, suggestive of narrative form. An academically trained painter, who has versatile experience in performative genres and video art, she currently focuses on figurative painting, where the physicality of paint and color creates and troubles the illusion of space, light and shadow. Her works are drawn from a wide range of art historical materials and motifs, and she recombines these with painterly brilliance and humor. The works often remix or mash up elements of personal iconography and cultural heritage to explore how affect, kinship, memories, and perception interact. Methodology is central and Haraldsdóttir’s process-driven work is often based on a combination of rules and restrictions, places or stories, and tasks assigned to her by other people.

She often extends these methods into her teaching and complex collaborations. These aspects of her work are described in publications like Difficulty of Freedom/Freedom of Difficulty (Reykjavík: Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and Crymogea, 2014) based on workshops at the Living Art Museum (2013) and Verkligheten art space in Umeå (2014), Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest (Reykjavík: Crymogea, 2015), as well as her latest book, Patterns of the Family,  (‘uns publishing, Berlin / Iceland, 2019).

Haraldsdóttir has among other places exhibited at Reykjavík Art museum, (Iceland) Lund Cathedral, The Crypt, (Sweden), Hallgrímskirkja, (Reykjavik, Iceland),  Kalmar Konstmuseum (Sweden), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Akureyri Art Museum (Iceland), Kunstverein Langenhagen (Germany), Bielefelder Kunstverein (Germany), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Berlinische Galerie (Berlin) and the Momentum Biennial of Contemporary Art (Moss, Norway). Her work is represented in public collections in Iceland (National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum, Akureyri Art Museum, ASÍ Art Museum) and in Sweden (National Public Art Council, Moderna Museet). She has completed numerous residencies including Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Cité des Arts (Paris), The Bag Factory (Johannesburg, South Africa), and Ateliers ’89 (Oranjestad, Aruba). Recent exhibitions include Patterns of the Family (Gallery Manière Noire, Berlin and Reykjanes Art Museum, Iceland), Genesis (Lund Cathedral, the Crypt, Lund, Sweden, Galleri Konstepidemin Göteborg, and Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik), Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest (Kalmar Konstmuseum, Sweden), 2016; Just Painted (Reykjavík Art Museum), Project Metropolis (Silesian Museum, Katowice, Poland), 2015; Visual Wandering (ASÍ Art Museum, Reykjavík), 2014;  (In)dependent People, Reykjavík Arts Festival, 2012; and Moment-Ynglingagatan 1 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden), 2011.

Haraldsdóttir studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the San Francisco Arts Institute and has a degree from the Valand Academy of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, 1998. Born in Reykjavík, she currently lives and works in Berlin.


1991–1992    Academy of Design and Crafts, Gothenburg

1992–1993     Houvedskous Målarskola, Gothenburg

1993–1994     Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Art, Painting Department, Stockholm

1994–1998     Valand Academy of Fine Art, MFA, Gothenburg

1997                San Francisco Art Institute, New Genres Department, San Francisco

Upcoming solo exhibitions

2024             Hveragerdi Art museum, Hveragerði, Iceland


Selected solo exhibitions

2023             My Mother’s Dream, Gallery Gudmundsdóttir, Berlin

2023             The Seventh Day, Icelandic ambassador residence in Berlin

2022             When time stopped, Portfolio Galleri, Reykjavik   

2022             My Mother’s Dream, Norrtälje Konsthall, Norrtälje, Sweden   

2021             Övergångar/Transformations, Lund Cathedral, The crypt, Lund, Sweden

2019              Patterns of the Family, Maniere Noir, Berlin

                      Patterns of the Family, Reykjanes Art Museum, Keflavik, Iceland

2018              Memory of Color, Galleri Grotta, Reykjavík

2017               Genesis, Lund Cathedral, The crypt, Lund, Sweden

2016                Genesis, Galleri Konstepidemin, Gothenburg, Sweden

Genesis, Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík


2015                Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest, Kalmar Konstmuseum,

Kalmar, Sweden

2014               Visual Wandering, Listasafn ASÍ, Reykjavík

2013                The Letter ”I”  in the Landscape, The Corridor, Reykjavík

2009                Langenhagen, Kunstmuseum Mikkeli, project space, Mikkeli, Finland

2008                The Plough, AK28, Stockholm

2007                 Sad with Satie, Röda Sten, Gothenburg

2006                Langenhagen, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Langenhagen, Germany

Sad with Satie, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin

2003                Capital of the North, Akureyri Art Museum, Akureyri, Iceland

2002                What You Actually Saw, Gallerí Hlemmur, Reykjavík

2001                Here, There and Everywhere, Gallerí Hlemmur, Reykjavík

1999                Beautiful Landscape, Ynglingagatan 1, Stockholm

1998                Tittut/Peekaboo, Ynglingagatan 1, Stockholm

1998                See You, Galleri Rotor, Gothenburg

1996                 Porträtt, Galleri Rotor, Gothenburg

Selected group exhibitions and screenings*

2023         Reflections, Bag Factory Artists Studios, Johannesburg

2023        Caleidoscope, Reykjavik Art museum, Iceland

2022        Stuffit, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm


2022        Everything Goes, Galleri Gudmundsdottir, Berlin


                   Summer Salon, Bag Factory Artist Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa

                   The First Day, summer show at Galleri Gudmundsdottir, Berlin

2021            Selected Works, Part II, Akureyri Art Museum, Akureyri, Iceland

2020            Reality on canvas, Reykjavík art museum, Kjarvalsstaðir, Iceland

                    On seeing, Gletta exhibition space, Borgarfjörður Eystri, Iceland

                    Art Attack, 50 contemporary nordic artists, Bohusläns Museum, Sweden

                   Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa


2018          Composing Reality, Hilbertraum, Berlin

2018           Inclusive Nations, Cycle art and music festival, Kopavogur Art Museum, Iceland

2017          Till konsten – tro, hopp, tvivel och kärlek, Galleri Öst, Konstakademien, Stockholm

2016          Gersemar úr safneign Listasafns ASÍ, Reykjavík

2015          Just Painted 2, Kjarvalsstaðir, Listasafn Reykjavíkur, Reykjavík

Project Metropolis, Silesian Museum, Katowice, Poland

2014                Tree/Difficulty of Freedom/Freedom of Difficulty, Verklighten Art Centre,

Umeå, Sweden

Icelandic Contemporary Portrait, Akureyri Art Museum, Akureyri

A Place Where We Could Go, Kronika, Bytom, Poland

2013                Tree/Difficulty of Freedom/Freedom of Difficulty, Living Art Museum, Reykjavík

2012                 Flying, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin

(In)dependent People, Reykjavík Art Festival, Reykjavík

                        Boy and Horse* (with Craniv Boyd), Black Box, Ateliers ’89, Oranjestad, Aruba

2011                Moment-Ynglingagatan 1, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Játtningar, Listasavn Føroya, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

2010                Nordens u-land? Isländsk konst i kristid, Färgfabrik Norr, Östersund, Sweden

Icelandic Art Today, Icelandic embassy, Bejing, China

Walk the Line, Apex pro art e.V., Göttingen, Germany

There Is a Tear in My Beer*, Westberlin, Berlin

La Strada 2010, Museum of Prácheň, Písek, Czech RepublicLa Strada 2010, Galerie

Klatovy/Klenová, Janovice nad Úhlavou, Czech RepublicLa Strada 2010, New Town

Hall, Prague, Czech Republic La Strada 2010, Great Synagogue, Plzeň, Czech Republic

2009                Zeigen, an audiotour, Neue Berliner Kunsthalle, Berlin

In Deep Water/Lífróður, Hafnaborg, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland

2008                Purple of Exteriors, MKgalerie, Rotterdam

Something Must Break, Kronika, BytomLa Strada 2008, Karlovy Vary Art Gallery,

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Gegen den Strich, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld,

Germany, Review of a Position, MKgalerie, Berlin

Cold Hearts Revisited*, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, AustraliaGalleri54 at Hagateatern*, Hagateatern, Gothenburg

2007                Neue Heimat: Berlin Contemporary, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin Gegen den Strich,

Künstlerhaus Bethanien, BerlinCold Hearts Revisited*, Scandinavia House, New York

Fukt*, Contemporary Art Museum of Macedonia, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

2006                Sequences, I-8 Gallery, Reykjavík Icelandic Contemporary Video Art, KW Institut for

Contemporary Art, Berlin Acquisitions 2002–2005, Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík

2005                 The Peninsula*, Singapore History Museum, Singapore

2004                 Momentum 04, Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art, Moss, Norway

Monday Stories, Klink og Bank, Reykjavík

2003                 Sverige Komplett, Bohusläns Konsthall, Uddevalla, Sweden

L’artiste portatif, Centre Culturel du Mexique, Paris

Stockholm Art Fair, Galleri Hlemmur, Stockholm

Beautiful Landscape, Galleri Hlemmur, Reykjavík

2002                Galleri Hlemmur, Kopavogur Art Museum, Kopavogur, IcelandHvalreki,

Ljósafossvirkjun, þingvellir, Iceland

Second Flash, Kozelites, Pécs, HungaryMy Body Is Over the Ocean, Alma Löv Museum, Östra Ämtervik, Sweden

2000                   The Skoghall Konsthall, Skoghall, Sweden, Riksutställningar touring exhibition,

Stockholm Art Fair,, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala, Sweden, Sandvikens Konsthall, Sandviken, Sweden, Jönköpings läns Museum, Jönköping, Sweden

1999                First European Seminar for Artist-Run Spaces (FESARS), Konstakuten, Stockholm

Trolleys Having Fun, Artspace, Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Stockholm Lightshow, Signal Gallery, Malmö, Sweden

Selected awards, grants and residencies

2020             Travel grant, Myndstef, Icelandic Visual Art Copyright Association, Iceland

2020             Three months residency at the Bag Factory artists studio, Johannesburg, South Africa 2019             Three months residency at the Bag Factory artists studio, Johannesburg, South Africa

2019             Six-month artist salary, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

2018            Six-month artist salary, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

2016                Three-month artist salary, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

2015                Grant, Stiftelsen Längmanska Kulturfond, Stockholm

2014                Project grant, Myndlistarsjóður – Icelandic Cultural Fund, Reykjavík

2013                Artistic research grant as part of Difficulty of Freedom/ Freedom of Difficulty, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Sweden

Two-year artist salary, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

2012                Artist residency, Ateliers ’89, Oranjestad, Aruba

2011                 Artist residency, Cité des Arts, ParisMobility grant, Kulturkontakt Nord, Helsinki

2010               Artist residency, Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts, Seyðisfjörður, Iceland

Nes Artist, Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland

Mobility grant, Kulturkontakt Nord, Helsinki

2009                Nes Artist Residency, Skagaströnd

2008                One-year artist salary, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

2007                IASPIS project grant, Havana, Cuba

2005                Artist residency, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin Residency grant, Center for Icelandic

Art, Iceland

Six-month work grant, Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

Project grant, Myndstef, Icelandic Visual Art Copyright Association, Iceland

2004                Project grant, Myndstef, Icelandic Visual Art Copyright Association, Iceland

2003                First Prize, Listasjódur Dungal Art Prize, Reykjavík

2002                Gothenburg Art Prize, Gothenburg City Council, Gothenburg

Public acquisitions


2023           National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik

2022           Norrtälje Konsthall, Norrtälje, Sweden

2020            Norrtälje Konsthall, Norrtälje, Sweden

2019            Reykjanes Art Museum, Keflavík, Iceland

2017            SAK, Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening, Stockholm

2016             Göteborgs kulturnämnd, Gothenburg, Sweden

2016             National Gallery of Iceland

2014                Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík

Listasafn ASÍ, Reykjavík

2012                Moderna Museet, Stockholm

2004                Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík

2003                 Akureyri Art Museum, Akureyri

1996                National Public Art Council, Sweden Gothenburg City Council, Gothenburg


Other activities

2021                Guest teacher, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå, Sweden

2020                Guest teacher, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå, Sweden

2018               Guest teacher, Reykjavik art academy, Reykjavík

2011–2015     Guest professor (20%), Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå, Sweden

2014               Guest professor, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Fine Art Department, Reykjavík

2012                Guest professor (with Craniv Boyd) on invitation by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Ateliers ’89, Oranjestad, Aruba

Guest professor, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå

2010                Guest professor, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå

Guest professor, Iceland University of the Arts, Reykjavík

2008               Guest professor, Valand Academy, Gothenburg

2007                Panelist, “Neue Heimat: Berlin Contemporary,” Berlin

Panelist “Art Forum Berlin Art Talks/Art Cities in Dialogue,” Berlin

Guest professor, Cátedra Arte de Conducta, Havana, Cuba

Guest professor, Valand Academy, Gothenburg

2004–2005     Guest professor, Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå

2002–2003     Board member and curator, Galleri Hlemmur, Reykjavík

1998–2000     Member of artist collective, Ynglingagatan 1, Stockholm


Selected bibliography



My Mother’s Dream, edited and written by Erla S. Haraldsdóttir, Exh. cat. Norrtälje Konsthall. Norrtälje. Stockholm, Arvinius Orfeus Publishing.

Övergångar / Transformations with contributions by Lena Sjöstrand and Craniv Boyd, Exh. cat. Lunds Cathderal, Lund. Stockholm, Arvinius Orfeus Publishing.

Craniv A Boyd, The Recent Paintings of Erla S. Haraldsdóttir, Guðrún Erla Geirsdóttir,  “Who were your foremothers” , In Fjölskyldumynstur / Patterns of the Family Exh. cat. Reykjanes Art Museum, Iceland, 2019

Craniv A Boyd, The Hidden Paintings of Erla S. Haraldsdóttir, In Memory of Color, Exh. cat. Gallerí Grótta, Iceland, 2018

Dan Backman, “Absurd poetisk.” In Tro, hopp, tvivel och kärlek  Exh. cat. Konstakademien. Sveriges allmänna konstförening, (SAK). Bokförlaget Arena. 2017.

Lena Sjöstrand. “Genesis” In Genesis, exh. folder. Lund: Lunds domkyrka, 2017.

Jonatan Habib Enqvist. “In the Beginning, Again.” In Genesis, exh. folder. Lund: Lunds domkyrka, 2017.

Jonatan Habib Enqvist. “Seventh Day.” In Geneis, exh. folder. Reykjavík: Hallgrímskirkja, 2016.

Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest: Selected Works by Erla S. Haraldsdóttir. Exh. cat. Kalmar Konstmuseum. With contributions by Jonathan Habib Enqvist, Christoph Tannert and Kyllikki Zacharias. Reykjavík: Crymogea, 2015.

Difficulty of Freedom/Freedom of Difficulty (with Carin Ellberg). With contributions by Craniv Boyd, Birta Guðjónsdóttir, Jonatan Habib Enqvist and Roland Spolander. Reykjavík: Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and Crymogea,  2014.

Christoph Tannert. “Über Erla S. Haraldsdóttirs Methodenreflexion.” In A Place Where We Would Go, exh. cat. Bytom: Kronika, 2014.

Jonatan Habib Enqvist. “Visual Wandering.” In Visual Wandering, exh. poster. Reykjavík: Listasafn ASÍ, 2014.

Christian Schoen and Halldór Björn Runólfsson, eds. Icelandic Art Today. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2009.

Katharina Raab. “Here, There and Everywhere.” In Neue Heimat: Berlin Contemporary, exh. cat.

Berlin: Berlinische Galerie, 2007.

Björn Hegardt, ed. Fukt #5, “The Animation Issue.” Berlin: Fukt, 2006.

Halldor Björn Runolfsson. Short presentation text. In Yearly Programme Booklet. Berlin: Künstlerhaus Bethanien, 2005 .

Ika Kaminka. “Here, There and Everywhere.” In Momentum 04: Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, exh. cat. Moss, 2004.

Halldor Bjorn Runolfsson. “Art to Fight Over.” In exh. booklet. Akureyri Art Museum, Akureyri 2003.

Enrique Vila-Matas, ed. L’artiste portatif, exh. cat. Paris: Centre Culturel du Mexique, 2003. Halldor Bjorn Runolfsson, ed. My Body Is Over the Ocean, exh. cat. Östra Ämtervik: Alma Löv Museum, 2002.

Karl Holmqvist, ed. Here, There and Everywhere. Reykjavík: Galleri Hlemmur, 2001. Swe.De, Stockholm: Swe.De, 2000.

Reviews, coverages and interviews

Margaretha Levin Blekastad, ”Erla skapar konst av dagbokens hemliga drömmar”. Coverage. Norrtelje tidning, 13/12/2021

Carolina Söderholm. “Här är konsten du inte ska missa”. Review. Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 18/04/2021

Halla Þórlaug óskarsdóttir. “Mynstur”. Interview. Tengivagninn | RÚV Icelandic National Radio, Culture. 7/8/2019

Ragnheiður Birgisdóttir. “Sjálfsvitund og Samkennd”. Interview. Morgunblaðið, 30/05/2019

Gunnþóra Gunnarsdóttir. Interview. Fréttablaðið, 30/05/2019

Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir. “Afbygging Dyrðarljómans” Artzine. 16/10/2018

Jonatan Habib Engqvist. “In the Beginning. Again.” Artzine. 05/09/2017

Joakim Stierna. “”Isländsk konst med bilder av skapelsen lyser upp Kryptan”” Essay. Sydsskånskan.


John Palm. “Från abstrakt spegling till gudomlig vila i isländsk version av skapelseberättelsen.”

Article. Sydsvenska Dagbladet. 14/07/2017

Sara Arvidsson. “Sjunde Dagen” Art review. Göteborgs Posten, 16/12/2016

Halla Þórlaug óskarsdóttir. “Sköpunarsagan er full af tilvísunum.” Interview. Viðsjá | RÚV Radio, Culture

Kristína Aðalsteinsdóttir, “Studio visit, Erla S. Haraldsdóttir” Interview. Icelandic Art Center.

Einar Falur Ingólfsson. “Málverkið mannlegt og djúpt.” Morgunblaðið, 12/1/2015.

Gunnþóra Gunnarsdóttir. “Titli bókarinnar var hvíslað í eyra mitt.” Fréttablaðið, 11/28/2015.

Thomas Löwemo. “Konst sprungen ur friheten i det låsta.” Östra Småland Tidningen, 10/3/2015.

Mikael Hagner. “Med färgen och ljuset i sin hand.” Barometern, 10/3/2015.

Kristín H. Kristínsdóttir. “Að mála er að vera ástfangin.” Interview. Morgunblaðið, 10/22/2014. Elísabet Indra Ragnarsdóttir. “The Slow Process of Painting.” Interview. Viðsjá | RÚV Radio, Culture programme, 10/21/2014.

Martina John. “Ein Traum vom Fliegen” Die Gruppenausstellung Flying im Künstlerhaus Bethanien.”, 11/18/2012.

Markús Þór Andrésson. “Reynisdrangar.” Læknablaðið, 7/2009.

Guðni Tómasson. Interview. Viðsjá | RÚV Radio, Culture programme, 10/7/2008. Kirsty Bell. “Neue Heimat.” Frieze Magazine, 11/2007.Kolja Reichert. “Renaissance des Ratzefummels.” Der Tagesspiegel, 7/5/2007.

Katrin Bettina Müller. “Ein Echoraum für das Jetzt.” Die Tageszeitung, 7/4/2007.

Dominic Eichler. “Where Am I?,” Interview. List – Icelandic Art News, 2007. Dominic Eichler. “Where Am I?.” Interview. Be-Magazin, 2006.

Dieter Brookman. Review. Art Observer, 2006.

Thora Thorisdottir. Review. Morgunbladid, 7/10/2004. John Peter Nilsson. Review. Aftonbladet, 6/6/2004. Review. Morgenbladet, 5/28/2004.

Thoroddur Bjarnason. “Íslensk myndlist.” Morgunbladid, 9/6/2003.

Ragna Sigurdardottir. “Vindlareykjandi álfastúlkur á Hlemmi.” Morgunbladid, 11/9/2003.

Brynhildur Thorarinsdóttir. “Íslendingar í Adalhlutverki.” TMM, 3/2002.

Joanna Sandell. “Urbana ingenmansland.” Svenska Dagbladet, Friday supplement, 1/2002.

Review. Presens, 11/2001.

Halldor Bjorn Runolfsson. “Here, There and Everywhere.” Morgunbladid, 4/19/2001.

Anna Brodow. “Ynglingatan floppar i Uppsala.” Svenska Dagbladet, 4/2000. ”Vagnar i vild dans på Arlanda.” Metro Stockholm, 5/1999. Crispin Ahlström. “The Observer Becomes Both Co-Actor and Walker-On.” Gothenburgsposten, 4/1998.

Cecilia Gelin. “Personliga Porträtt.” GT Kultur, 10/1996


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