Sara Riel

Iceland 1980

Street Art

Sara Riel
Sara Riel
October 7, 2014
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Sara Riel  is an Icelandic artist born 1980 in Reykjavík who crafts a visual language that is public but at the same time very private, addressing various social and nature concerns. Influenced by the environment she examines the unusual with an open mind, elaborating a unique personal style, one painstakingly detailed image at a time. Sara makes artwork in all kind of sizes and shapes and every material and mediums are accepted. She uses the methods that the world has to offer, to their full extent, to lift certain events and experiences, stories and moments up into reality. The pieces tell stories but are at the same time ambiguous and open. They are meant to activate the imagination of the viewer and induce thoughts about the passing moment.

Acclaimed for her installations in galleries and museums around the world, Sara Riel is also known for her work as a Street artist, displayed in various cities and unusual places as she is a member of the international street art gang Big Geezers. While Sara has successfully worked with street art, she is first and foremost an visual artist, educated at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and the Academy of Art Berlin (Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee), and served in that capacity since graduation 2006. In addition she has worked on album covers, book covers and illustrations.

Sara has been working in the streets since the early 2000s when she moved from her hometown Reykjavík to study art in Berlin. “When I went there you could not escape the scene—Berlin was bombed with graffiti,” she says.

In Sara’s works she puzzles together her picture; uses simultaneously the latest and the most archaic technology; samples all species without omitting any; selects her subject from the domain of fauna, flora and mineralogy; or ponders how we can possibly return what we have stolen from this sole mother of all things – while other questions are more philosophical, such as the ones, which address in an unpleasant way art itself, not only her own but art in its entirety. Perhaps her importunate and marvellous – yet painful and clamorous – soliloquy with nature‘s wonders – de rerum natura – reflects a critical, pushy and adamant disclosure of art as a sphere of truth and sincerety.

Sara’s exhibition at the National Gallery of Iceland, ‘Memento Mori,’ is a tribute to the “just go for it” attitude that she picked up after years of exhibiting in the streets. After three years of brainstorming, researching, and creating, ‘Memento Mori’ brings together two of Sara’s loves: nature and art. “Nature themes in art are like love songs in music, a classic. That was part of the challenge that I enjoyed.” The pieces themselves steer far clear of clichés. Her exhibit serves as a prototype of her vision, gracefully playing with the visual presentation of scientific information. Beautifully layered collages of scientifically illustrated moths and butterflies are pressed up in huge frames. At the doorway to the exhibit, a familiar friend greets visitors—a framed drawing of the same mega-mushroom that reigns over Hverfisgata.

Sara Riel lives and works in Reykjavík, Iceland.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Champ-AmpLunga art Festival, Seyðisfjörður, IcelandSolo
2014Feather - Mural, Asparfell, BreiðholtThe Art Museum of ReykjavíkSolo
2013Memento mori: NátturugripasafnThe National Gallery of Iceland, ReykjavikSolo
2013Slang (-y)Art Museum Árnesinga, Hveragerði, Iceland Solo
2013Listin að vera fleygurGerðuberg, Reykjavik, Iceland Group
2013Fálmar, op, bönd og barist um ljósiðHeiðmörk Forrest, Reykjavik, IcelandGroup
2012Kingdoms Series Murals in Reykjavík, IcelandSolo
2012MHR40ÁRAKling and Bang Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland. Group
2012Endemi Offors, Reykjavik Art festivalIceland Phopophopia, Bio Paradis, Reykjavík, IcelandGroup
2011Úlfur, ÚlfurArt museum Mosfellsbær, Iceland. Group
2011Trolley presents TJ Boulting Presenting Kling and BangLondon, England.Group
2011Neo geo comeback, Sundhöll ReykjavÍkur, Iceland. Countries in DialogueThe Embassy of Iceland in China, Beijin, China Group
2011Eco of the northGaltarviti lighthouse, Súgandafjörður, Iceland. Group
2010ParrotsHavarííí Gallery, Reykjavík, IcelandSolo
2010RímArt museum Akureyri, IcelandGroup
2010Núna/NowWinnipeg, Canada. Group
2010ColorsynthesisThe Reykjavík Art museum, Iceland Group
2009Return ticketKling & Bang Gallery, Reykjavik, IcelandSolo
2009AmmaSafnasafnið, Svalbarðaströnd, IcelandGroup
2009No souls for saleXinitative Projects, NYC, USAGroup
2009LaugarvegurLaugavegur, Reykjavík, IcelandGroup
2009ListenÁsmundasafn, Reykjavík, IcelandGroup
2009VídéoSÍM, Reykjavík, IcelandGroup
2008Made in ChinaChinese European Art Center (CEAC), XiamenSolo
2008Big geezers in LAScion gallery, L.A, USAGroup
2008SEQUENCES 09Reykjavík, IcelandGroup
2008Made in ChinaChinese European Art Center (CEAC), Xiamen, ChinaGroup
2007Machinery101 Gallery, Reykjavík, IcelandSolo
2007On the edgeThe Film Archive, Aukcland, New ZelandGroup
2007Tha og thegarKron Kron, Reykjavík, Iceland. Group
2007I am longing but I don´t know for whatArtist House, Teheran, IranGroup
2006TischgesellschaftenGallery Raab, Berlin, GermanySolo
2006MeisterSenats Reservespeicher, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2006The inconceivableSt Paul Galley, Auckland, New ZelandGroup
2006Ding dong Art FestivalHamburg, GermanyGroup
2005Backjumps-LiveTokyo Wondersite, Tokyo, Japan. Group
2005Backjumps Live issue no. 2Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2005Das unfassbare2YK Galleri, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2005Herzschuss erfundenKHB Diplom, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2005No new enemiesMr. Ego, Brusseles, Belgium.Group
2005Big GeezersMontana Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup Bethanien, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2004Berlin NorthHamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2004Road to nowhereLovelite, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2004MonsterkapinettPictoplasma. Neurotitan, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2003HaushaltenGallery Pankow, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2003Backjumps live issue #1Kunsthaus Bethanien, BerlinGroup
2002PottþéttlistGallery NemaHvad!, Reykjavik, IcelandGroup
2002Óður til líkamansJL Husid, Reykjavik, IcelandGroup
2001KLEIST-FesttageFrankfurt Oder, GermanyGroup
2001RemixThe Yellow House, Reykjavik, IcelandGroup
2001Kitchen MotorsClub Paradiso, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2001BitchThe Yellow House, Reykavik, IcelandGroup