The herring factory in Hjalteyri north Iceland was built in 1937 and closed in 1966. According to some sources it was the biggest of the kind in Europe at its time. Now the concrete hull is occupied by an artist-run space (Verksmi∂jan) and studios. The artist-run space comprises of three-levels, 2000 square meters all together. The space is quite unique.
Verksmiðjan is an art collective founded in 2008, that runs an active art and culture program in the old herring factory in Hjalteyri. The preparation began in October 2007 and the first exhibition and a official opening of this new venue was 2nd of August 2008. The collective’s aim was to reanimate the old and beautiful, ghost town, factory, work collaboratively with art schools, collectives or other clubs/societies and by doing that hopefully creating a platform for local and international artists and especially young artists to work in a creative environment. The activities have so far not been continuous throughout the year, the main occupation a summer program of exhibitions and events, which runs from early May to the end of September. Winter projects have been few but now there is a construction of a artist residency underway The future plan is that the facility will be used mainly for guest artists during the winter months, as well as smaller events and courses, but vigorous programs of exhibitions and festivals will continue to thrive during the summer months.
The Factory is not neutral but very creative as an art space, mostly for installation art. The house, its story and it’s surroundings bring up a lot of ideas and the works shown there are very often produced especially for the Factory and with the help of the association.