Smári Róbertsson

Born in 1992, lives and works between Amsterdam and Reykjavík.

Icelandic artist based between Amsterdam and Reykjavík, Smári Róbertsson pays attention to different forms of narrative, forming a body of work that is as much about mythology as it is about the closeness of everyday life. The folklore of his native country and its modes of transmission become material that he decontextualizes and mixes with his own actuality. Orality, as it was in the past, occupies an important place for Smári Róbertsson, and acts as a link between his different proposals.
With numerous collaborations and forms that navigate between installation, performance, painting, writing and music, his work traces the furrows of an anachronistic and imaginary stroll. We may encounter wooden clogs, Franck Sinatra, a whale's eardrum or even the artist, who portrays himself as the intermediary in a love triangle with his boss and his landlord. In so doing, he questions notions of role and identity, ephemeral though they may be, and places them at the heart of a mischievous and ultimately resolutely contemporary fable.


15.01.24 – 29.02.24

Reykjavík Cross Residency,
in Clermont-Ferrand
in partnership with Nýlistasafnið (The Living Art Museum), Ambassade de France in Iceland, Alliance Française of Reykjavík, and SÍM residency. Financial support from Ardian.


29.02.24, 18:30

in Artistes en résidence, la Diode, Clermont-Ferrand

Blind spots and tips of the iceberg

Nicola Bizzarri (IT), Wilfried Dsainbayonne (FR), Smári Róbertsson (IS/NL), Anaïs Touchot (FR)

29th of February 2024, 6.30 - 9.00 p.m.
at Artistes en résidence, la Diode
190, bd Gustave Flaubert, Clermont-Ferrand

At Artistes en résidence (A·R), we like to use the metaphor of the iceberg to evoke the art world. Both have an emerging part, exposed to broad daylight, and another one, evolving in the shadows - whose larger size allows the first one to float and to ensure its visibility. In a similar way, art residencies, and artistic research in general, make it possible for exhibitions and other forms of public presentation to happen, while the reality of the artist's work remains largely unknown. Beneath the romantic beliefs and myths of the artist's life often lies a back-breaking work of production, administration and communication, carried out under precarious and competitive conditions. Through its activities, A-R aims to support and remunerate artists for this less visible part of their work: research and experimentation, with no obligation to finalize a production. Guest artists are nonetheless given the opportunity to present their practice to the public, anchoring it in the social ties without which it cannot exist.

On February 29, 2024, four artists currently in residence at A·R present works at various stages of development. All four share a way of questioning myths, whether ancient or contemporary, by attempting to understand their construction, mutations and survival within different societies, cultures and eras. In l'Académie de la croûte, Anaïs Touchot (FR) invites us to unravel the mystery of the figure of the artist, so that we too can adopt the same posture. Nicola Bizzarri (IT) is interested in symbolic representations of power and their discreet injection into our domestic interiors through trinkets and decorative objects. Smári Róbertsson (IS/NL) transmits his taste for local legends, and the divergent versions that oral tradition produces of them without ever dismissing their camouflaged social and political criticism. Wilfried Dsainbayonne (FR) takes an intimate story as the starting point for his research: his father’s return to his native Congo, who through his absence becomes a figure shrouded in mystery and the protagonist of incredible tales.

Through the work spaces that A-R shares with Les Ateliers, the public discovers four ways of shifting the gaze towards blind spots, four ways of scratching the surface of the visible to discover how narratives emerge and circulate. The artists propose new histories (with a lower-case "h"), overturning scales of value, juxtaposing the personal with the collective and raising the highly political question about the very processes of writing History (with a capital "H").