Þorlákur Einarsson Director, i8 Gallery, Reykjavik – Guest of Accelerator Today Podcast

April 26, 2023
  • Presently, i8 gallery in Reykjavik breaks the insular borders, applicable to Romania as well, embarking, ever since its establishment on an international journey, by proposing a mixed program which includes both national and international artists.
  • “(…) I always find the most important part to get your works out there. I am talking about selling your artworks relatively cheaply, getting them out there however you can. I mentioned it several times – this is a common mistake made by artists, as they say: My work is so great and I spent so many hours doing it, therefore it should be priced quite high. I am always very much against this.” – Einarsson advises upon the start of an emerging artist career
  • Episode 4 can be accessed on the project website and on spotify.


After the first quarter of Accelerator second year of implementation, marked by 2 key milestones: Back to Where It All Began group exhibition and the artist talk & screening by superstar Ragnar Kjartansson, we stay for a while in the Icelandic art arena by releasing a new conversation of podcast Accelerator Today.

Episode 4 spotlights an encounter between project manager Andrei Breahnă and Þorlákur Einarsson, director of i8 gallery in Reykjavik, the international partner of Accelerator. Mentoring and Production for Emerging Artists program.

Einarsson has over a decade of experience running a commercial fine art gallery, working closely with international artists such as Ólafur Elíasson, Lawrence Weiner, Roni Horn and Ragnar Kjartansson. Prior to joining i8 Gallery, he was the keeper of Iceland’s pavilion at 53rd Venice Biennale.

He had been involved in Accelerator program from the very beginning, during the design stage, then later in the selection of the artists. After that, he become mentor in the program and held the “System of contemporary art” workshop. At the same time, he engaged directly in one-on-one talks with the 10 emerging artists, proving them with guidelines on multiple layers of an artistic career.

The main topics of the podcast were: contemporary art system in Iceland – starting point, catalysts during evolution; strategic recommendations for emerging artists; how i8 gallery went international promoting Icelandic artists worldwide, thus becoming an important gallery at international level. Last, but not least, Einarsson shared his experience with Accelerator.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, in Reykjavik, you could do pretty much everything with regards to arts, because you will be doing it for the first time – Einarsson explains. The cultural heritage of Iceland stems from literature, because historically, our country is known for its medieval literature. This is where the pride laid, in sagas and manuscripts. It is an oral culture brought to paper.”

Presently, Iceland has a cohesive contemporary art scene, but none of this existed if there weren’t a strong Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik dedicated to educating the artists to be, but also given a solid infrastructure of museums and art spaces spread throughout the country, rural areas included.

Currently, i8 gallery in Reykjavik breaks its insular borders, applicable to Romania as well, embarking, ever since its establishment on an international journey by proposing a mixed program which includes both national and international artists.

“Ever since the i8 gallery was founded, in 1997, it had the purpose of promoting / “selling” Icelandic arts to an international audience. Where we stand today, the split is now 60% Icelandic artists, 40% international. The logic behind this is quite simple. Whether you are an Icelandic or Romanian artist, you can never expect the world to be interested in you, if you are not interested in the word.”

In addition, a strong part is played by the Centre for Icelandic Art, a bureau in Reykjavik in charge with the international promotion of Icelandic art. Music and literature have similar offices with the same purpose. The main project of the Centre is organizing Iceland’s participation in the Venice Biennale, and to organize visits to Iceland by art professionals, curators, museum professionals, to set up studio visits etc., thus facilitating the international participation of Icelandic artists.

Regarding the transition and evolution of emerging artists to the established stage, Einarsson states: “Should I be talking with a student, I would say make a good use of the years that you get to study, not only practicing in the studio, but also exploring the world around you as much as you can. But be mindful of that networking you can do in school, with your peers and teachers. That will take you to the next level which is immediately after graduation. Having done the networking means you have made friends you could share a studio with, you join a collective endeavour, or you could be a participant in an artist run space. You feel less lost immediately after graduation.

And from that point on, I always find the most important part to get your works out there, selling your artworks relatively cheaply, getting them out there however you can.

I mentioned this several times – this is common mistake made by artists – My work is so great, and I sent so many hours doing this and that work – and it should be priced quite high. I am always very much against this.”

We invite you to also listen to our previous podcasts: here you there is the dialogue with Tevž Logar, curator of Back to Where It All Began exhibition, here the talk with artist Pavel Brăila and here the first episode which presents an overview of Accelerator program.

The following podcasts will spotlight conversations with Accelerator emerging artists.

The aim of Accelerator Today is to share inspiring talks about contemporary art and connect audiences with artists (those in the program and guests as well), curators, cultural managers and project partners.

The following stage of Accelerator. Mentoring and Production for Emerging Artists programme is public art, estimated to start in summer.


Accelerator began on October 1, 2021, and will be rolled-out for 24 months, until September 30, 2023. The programme budget is 1,069,301.00 LEI (216,707.74 EUR) for its entire duration. The non-refundable value of the financing (85% EEA Grants and 15% national budget) is 962,370.90 de lei (195,036.97 euro).

Accelerator is financed with the support of EEA Grants 2014-2021 within the RO CULTURA Programme and is implemented by Asociația Culturală Eastwards Prospectus.

e production process. They will have the opportunity to show their work in the group exhibition that will be organised by Gaep Gallery. The exhibition will take place at the beginning of 2023.


The EEA Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards the reduction of economic and social disparities in Europe and towards strengthening the bilateral relations between the donor countries and the 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. The three donor countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The donors have provided €3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014. For the period 2014-2021, the EEA Grants amount to €1.55 billion. More information is available on www.eeagrants.org and www.eeagrants.ro.

RO-CULTURE Programme is implemented in Romania by the Ministry of Culture through the Project Management Unit. The Programme aims at strengthening social and economic development through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management. The total budget amounts to almost 34 million EUR. For more details access: www.ro-cultura.ro.

About ACEP
Asociația Culturală Eastwards Prospectus promotes contemporary art at national and international level through exhibitions, cultural and educational projects conducted in partnership with key cultural institutions. Since it was launched, 7 years ago, ACEP received financing for the production of artworks; organised over 30 online and offline shows;
supported an artistic intervention in public space of artist Tania Mouraud, held simultaneously in 9 cities; supported the participation of artists in national and international art fairs and developed projects for children and for the employees in corporations, interested in contemporary art.