Your Free Trip to Iceland
Performance/installation at the exhibition Welcome to the Art World in Baadischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe 1999.
Second part performed in Iceland 2000.
The presentation by the artist of Iceland as a tourist paradise held in itself not just questions about what was going on while such a show was taking place in an acknowledged art exhibition location. It also provided an exhibit guest with the real opportunity to win an 8-day dream trip to Iceland for two. Jürgen Zimmermann from Karlsruhe was the lucky winner and invited his friend Marion Ebel to Iceland June 6 - 12, 2000. The trip they took was thus a virtual realization of the promise given at the exhibition. They entered the picture and were able to feel it with all the senses which the other exhibit guests had to fantasise about with the help of booklets, pictures and videos.
Handing responsibility for the artwork over to the audience is a common element in Thorsteinssons art and one that he employs on many levels.
The present work, Your Free Trip to Iceland, betrays the same mind at work. It is a seemingly familiar situation where you are introduced to the wonders of a foreign country through glossy photographs, brochures and a video, and finally given a chance to enter your name in a lottery and win a holiday. Nothing could be more prosaic in our culture and age where advertising has become as all-encompassing as the landscape and we must every day negotiate our way through a veritable forest of special offers, promotional gifts and unique savings opportunities. At first glance the only odd thing about this promotion is the location; one does not expect to see this sort of thing in an art gallery. To overcome this disorienting anomaly the viewer must undertake some research of his own. As he flips through the brochures and watches the video he sees that they are in fact a detailed description of the holiday he can win if he enters the lottery. The video introduces him to the people he will meet in Iceland a hotel manager, a tour guide, a restaurateur and the spectacular waterfalls and quaint villages he will visit. The whole installation anticipates the future experiences of the lucky winner who in a sense is the real focus of the exhibition. He is the audience and the artist rolled into one, a passive viewer but also an active partner who, by taking a free trip to Iceland, will be responsible for completing the artwork.
From the exhibition catalogue