Vanity Disorder, 2012. Human hair, 320 x 160 in.

The Happy Effect: A Conversation with Shoplifter/Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir

Hair is an extension of our identity, persona, and character. It can be added to, colored, and formed. It draws us in to look, to feel. Hair can also be a mechanism for attraction or disgust. The work of Shoplifter/Hrafnhildur Arnardttir propels attraction through various scales of intimacy, up to all-encompassing built environments. Often playful, with vibrant, eye-burning colors that toy with visual perception, her work evokes the human spirit through what she calls “remnants and extensions.” From totemic objects to architectural hairdos, Shoplifter produces experiences that allow us to latch on to her sculptural extensions of body and mind and move toward a personal happy place. Her material choices question the nature of a line, a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, or a garment. In the end, they are all the same thing—extensions of the self. In Shoplifter’s case, that self is rooted in Icelandic tradition, transformed by punk and pop art, and hybridized through a global lens of vanity. When you encounter one of her works, you can’t help but smile.…see the entire article in the print version of May’s Sculpture magazine.