Last week Villa Reykjavik, the second incarnation of an international art festival that first took place in Warsaw in 2006, held its opening ceremonies in the downtown harbor district of the Icelandic capital. Festival organizers invited 14 European galleries to install exhibits in various available spaces, and staged screenings and live performances in both public and private venues across town. The idea? To bring an international art community to a place outside of the traditionally established art districts of Europe, and in doing so, create a more fluid and stimulating dialogue between artists and the viewing public.
Though the festival was run by a small group of people — who could often be seen scrambling to pack up after one event, in order to make it across town in time to set up for the next — there was a stimulating variety of art media and events. And despite unnecessarily obtuse publicity, which may have decreased attendance, there were a number of good events to be seen every day of the week.