Chromo Sapiens is Shoplifter's monumental, multi-sensory, large-scale installation that debuted at the Icelandic Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2019, to worldwide critical acclaim. The installation consists of three caves made from Shoplifter’s signature material, synthetic hair extensions. The installation surrounds the viewer's horizon with soundscapes from the Icelandic band HAM in each cave. Entering the installation as homo sapiens, you are invited to explore your inner landscape through the stimulation of the senses, where you are the destination of the journey, and when exiting you have transformed into Chromo Sapiens.
Enter as a homo sapiens
exit as a chromo sapiens
Meet the artist
Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir
Shoplifter is one of Iceland's leading contemporary artists. Working with both synthetic and natural hair, her sculptures, wall murals and site-specific installations explore themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty and popular myth. For Shoplifter hair is the ultimate thread that grows from our body. Hair is an original, creative fiber, a way for people to distinguish themselves as individuals, and is often an art form. Humor plays a large role in her life and work, sometimes subtly, but at other times taking over. Shoplifter represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2019 with her installation Chromo Sapiens. She has shown her work in prestigious museums and art centers worldwide including MoMA in New York, ARoS in Denmark, Kulturhuset in Sweden, Kiasma in Finland Qagoma in Austrailia and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Shoplifter is a recipient of The Nordic Award in Textiles and The Prince Eugen Medal for artistic achievement from the King and Royal Crown of Sweden.
Höfuðstöðin opened in January 2022 and is founded by artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir and creative producer Lilja Baldursdóttir. The duo raised over $100.000 from generous supporters around the world via Kickstarter to open the center and install the installation Chromo Sapiens there permanently. Shoplifter is the first female artist in Iceland to open a culture center around her artwork.
Höfuðstöðin is located in old potato barracks in Elliðaárdalur, Reykjavík. The building consists of seven barracks that were originally built in Hvalfjörður and used as bomb shelters during the Second World War. After the war, the barracks were moved to their current location and used as potato nurseries for decades. The furniture and interiors of Höfuðstöðin are designed and made from recycled plastics by the Icelandic company Plastplan.