Erla S. Haraldsdóttir works with painting, animation, video, and photomontage as a means to appropriate and restructure reality. An academically trained painter, she currently focuses on painting where the physicality of paint and color create space, light, and shadow. Her work combines figurative motifs, abstract color, and patterns with painterly finesse. The works often explore how memories, emotions, and perception interact. Methodology is central and Haraldsdóttir’s process-driven work is often based on a combination of rules and restrictions, places or stories, and tasks assigned to her by other people.
She often extends these methods into her teaching and complex collaborations. These aspects of her work are described in publications like Difficulty of Freedom/Freedom of Difficulty (Reykjavík: Umeå Academy of Fine Arts and Crymogea, 2014) based on workshops at the Living Art Museum (2013) and Verkligheten art space in Umeå (2014), as well as her latest book, Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest (Reykjavík: Crymogea, 2015).
A selection of places where Haraldsdóttir has exhibited includes: Lund Cathedral, The Crypt, (Sweden), Hallgrímskirkja, (Reykjavik, Iceland), Kalmar Konstmuseum (Sweden), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Akureyri Art Museum (Iceland), Kunstverein Langenhagen (Germany), Bielefelder Kunstverein (Germany), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Berlinische Galerie (Berlin) and the Momentum Biennial of Contemporary Art (Moss, Norway). Her work is represented in public collections in Iceland (National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum, Akureyri Art Museum, Así Artmuseum) and in Sweden (National Public Art Council, Moderna Museet). She has completed numerous residencies including Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Cité des Arts (Paris), and Ateliers ’89 (Oranjestad, Aruba). Recent exhibitions include Genesis (Galleri Konstepidemin Göteborg) Genesis (Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik) Make a Painting of Trees Growing in a Forest (Kalmar Konstmuseum), 2016, Just Painted (Reykjavík Art Museum), Project Metropolis (Silesian Museum, Katowice), 2015, Visual Wandering (Listasafn ASÍ, Reykjavík), 2014, (In)dependent People, Reykjavík Arts Festival, 2012, and Moment-Ynglingagatan 1 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm), 2011.
Haraldsdóttir studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the San Francisco Arts Institute with a degree from the Valand Academy of Fine Art in Gothenburg, 1998. Born in Reykjavík, she currently lives and works in Berlin. From 2011 to 2015, she was a guest professor at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Sweden.