Press Release


Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson

26 - 28 Mar, 2010

In partnership with Air d'Island, the Icelandic Cultural Festival, Don't Projects is pleased to announce the screenings of three films by the artist duo Lidia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson.

In Lobbyists, 2009, Castro and Ólafsson portray lobbyists performing under working conditions, exploring the mealstrom surrounding their activity in Brussels and Strasbourg. In preparation for their work, the artists studied historical and contemporary sources constructing the figure of the lobbyist associations and civilian "watchdog" groups, and dug into registration and music videos. They commissioned British reporter Tamasin Cave to write an article about the current situation and worked with British actress Caroline Dalton and the Icelandic reggae group Hjálmar to perform this text as a new song and the soundtrack to their video. The video touches on different genres, juxtaposing imagery with a newspaper article vocalized to dub music, and throughout the work humor is used as a binding agent. These contrasting and sometimes alienating elements trigger the viewer's active involvement and reflection on the subject of the work as well as on the work and the medium itself.

In 2008, intrigued by the dense history of women-labour in the Rovereto area in North of Italy, the artists produced the video work Caregivers for the European Biennale Manifesta 7 related to this macro-topic. The video portrays two migrant caregivers from Ukraine and Romania and their (elderly) clients in their relationship and daily work in the area of Rovereto.

For the video's soundtrack the artists commissioned the Icelandic composer Karólína Eiríksdóttir to write a music score to an article, written by a young journalist Davide Berretta, describing this recent and rapidly growing phenomenon. Karólína wrote the music for soprano, woman choir and an oboe. The video combines footage, edited to the soundtrack, shot in and around two homes in Northern Italy with footage of singers and the musician performing and recording the cantata in Iceland, in all juxtaposing journalism, documentary making and classical contemporary music.

The third film, Patric's Story, 2009, comes from Avant-Garde Citizens, a series of video portraits of clandestine immigrants in Holland. It is a testimony devoid of complacency of the difficulties encountered by the refuges of Western society.

Castro, born 1969 in Madrid, and Ólafsson, born 1973 in Reykjavík - based in Rotterdam and Berlin - met in the Netherlands in 1979 and have been collaborating since. From the outset their work caught attention in the Netherlands and in Iceland, and soon internationally, earning them in 2009 the third prize of the prestigious Dutch art prize Prix de Rome for their video Lobbyists. Building up a strong body of work using a variety of media, they have developed a conceptual approach with a sense of play, transgression and inventiveness, often based on intense research into a given subject area. The duo will represent Iceland at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2011.