Charles Bank Gallery is excited to present its first solo show with Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur
Arnardottir aka Shoplifter. Entitled Vanity Disorder, the exhibition is comprised of sculpture and
wall installations fashioned from both synthetic and human hair. Visitors of the exhibition enter an
extraordinary world of hairy comets and braided planets, fuzzy faces, and imaginary friends.
Currently residing in New York, Shoplifter has worked for several years exploring the use and
symbolic nature of hair, and its visual and artistic potential. 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 often an art form.
For a long time, she tied her obsession with hair to a memory of being a teenager working in an
antique shop in Reykjavik and coming across a Victorian memory flower, a keepsake created
from the hair of someone who had died. But the notion of vanity as a disorder may have come
from a much earlier experience. She recently found a braid of her own hair that she had saved
from a haircut given to her at 12-years old, and recalls the hacking of the braid as traumatic to
her then as losing a limb.
In a recent interview, she explains, “We are all obsessed with hair. If you think about it,
everybody has to squeeze out some kind of creativity dealing with your hair. Every individual has
to make a choice, to deal with it, there is no way this can be completely unconscious, you either
brush it or not or have it cut, but you always need to tame it in some way.”
Shoplifter is the most recent recipient of Europe’s biggest textile award, The Nordic Award in
Textiles. She has collaborated with various artist across the creative field including musician
Bjork, Nico Muhly, artist collective a.v.a.f., and the New York fashion label VPL.