Visual artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir, a.k.a. Shoplifter, has lived in New York for the last 17 years during which time she has become known for her unique installations as well as for her collaborative works with stylists, fashion designers and artists such as Björk. Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and appeared on the pages of The New York Times, Another Magazine and Dazed and Confused just to name a few. Hrafnhildur mostly works with human hair and admits being fascinated by it, not least for its strong symbolic meaning and links to our identity, our vanity and what constitutes attractiveness.
"Vanity is to a different extent on the surface of my work and sometimes it appears only vaguely or in an abstract way, but it plays a role whether it is visible in the work or only in the air when I make it. I really respect the human need to decorate oneself and one´s environment, be it driven by vanity and obsession or sincere love for beauty, which in and of itself is vanity at its best".
In the Gray Area is an exhibition of Hrafnhildur´s works, which opened today at the Museum of Design and Applied Arts and runs until the 29th of May. In the Gray Area is a very fitted name indeed since according to Hrafnhildur herself, the art world has had quite a problem placing her work. You´ll find much more info on Hrafnhildur and her work at her excellent website.
P.S. I just found out that Shoplifter is to receive the Nordic Awards in Textiles this year;)The cover of Medúlla, the Grammy nominating album by singer/songwriter Björk.
For years, Hrafnhildur has worked with New York-based Icelandic stylist, Edda Gudmundsdottir. For fashion designer Victoria Bartlett and her label VPL, they teamed up to make bustiers, necklaces, capes and bags out of braided hair for the label´s Fall/Winter collection, in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
White Wedding, a sculpture, installed at the top floor of 7 World Trade Center in 2007.
All images from Shoplifter website