Text work, paper, 2012.
Installation, 2012.


The text work System was presented at the exhibition, (I)ndependent People, curated by Jonatan Habib Engqvist at the Reykjavik Art Festival in 2012. The work consists of seven independent text works, words have been carved out into black paper and pulled back, thereby exposing blue paper beneath. There are two variants of blue color, some words have a darker color beneath them, but most words have a lighter color. When read together, words formed with the darker color beneath them form the sentence Að búandkarlar gerðu sig svo digra að þeir hugðu að skipa lögum í landinu (Icelandic for: That farmers were so bold as to think they would set laws for the country). 

The sentence is a part of Iceland’s history, it’s a response by a Norwegian delegate who in 1280 took part in making Iceland a part of Norway, by presenting a new code of laws to the Icelandic Parliament. The work deals with questions about independence, and the usage of text and history to create a national identity. This identity makes its own system through text, sometimes unresponsive to change.

The work is owned by the Reykjavík Art Museum.

The work was a part of an exhibition, also titled System, where Jona Hlif was cooperating with artist Hlynur Hallsson. A book Blatt Blað (no. 60) was published and a huge platform built, for viewers to sit down, draw or talk together. Weekly lectures on the theme ‘system’ were held during the exhibition, and filmed and shown on screens in the exhibition.