Erró: Iceland’s Cold War Artist

erro_portrett_2The artist formerly known as Guðmundur Guðmundsson, who goes by the more pronounceable alias Erró, has been inspired by the Cold War throughout a long and varied career. Erró’s riotous canvases reflect his eclectic personal history, from his birth in 1932 in Iceland, to his travels across Europe and his current residency in Paris, Thailand and on the island of Formentera.

50-Erro-Ice-Cream-for-MaoDeveloping his artistic practice in the heady atmosphere of 1960s’ Paris, Erró experimented with media including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, film and performance art. He found his niche in painting, and in particular using collage to create what has been described as ‘a kaleidoscope of cartoon characters, art historical icons, and government leaders to comment on urgent social and political issues’.

Erró’s output is distinctly and proudly political in content. His satirical mashups of Cold War iconography fuse imagery from western fine art, communist propaganda, stylised urban backgrounds and commercial advertising images to develop a distinctive anarchic form of pop art.

pop history

Images: Top – Erró, Ice Cream for Mao, 2004; Bottom – Erró, Pop’s History, 1967. Courtesy Reykjavik Art Museum


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