Hreinn Fridfinnsson’s work has often been described as “Romantic Conceptualism.” The term “Romantic” indicates his distance—including his geopolitical, “Icelandic” distance—from the presumed conceptualist norm. This lecture, recorded on April 7, 2022, proposes another term, “Magic Conceptualism,” to argue that, for Fridfinnsson, art is the very medium of distance, a medium that points to what is not immediately present and graspable, or as he himself put it, that which is “elsewhere.” It also contends that while magic and concept seem to mark two opposite ends of a linear narrative of the story of art, from cave paintings to conceptualism, their relation is, in fact, not a line, but a circle.
Ivana Bago is an independent scholar, writer, and curator based in Zagreb. She holds a PhD in Art History and Visual Culture from Duke University and is the co-founder (with Antonia Majaca) of Delve/Institute for Duration, Location and Variables (delve.hr). She has published extensively on contemporary art, including Conceptual Art, the history of exhibitions and curating, performance, feminism, post-Yugoslav art, and post-1989 art historiographies. She is on the editorial board of the journal ARTMargins and is the recipient of the Igor Zabel Award Grant for 2020. She is currently working on her book Yugoslav Aesthetics: Monuments to History’s Bare Bones and developing Meeting Points: Documents in the Making, a research and publishing project on Sanja Iveković’s work and personal archive.