Artist: Anton Benois (Australia, USA, Russia) | visual artist
Photo and text by Jeanne Morrison (Atlanta, USA) | visual art & writing
Anton Benois is technically Australian, but calls a new country home practically every year. A soft-spoken and unflappable artist, Anton sat with me for his last day at Listhus and spoke at some length about art, the residency, and his experience of Iceland.
Anton’s first art residency was here at Listhus, and he’s attended four others since then, but came back to Listhus to serve as host-artist for three months during the spring. His experience here was quiet, untroubled; the artists were all pleasant and self-directed; he made several friends in the area, and was able to organize a few dinners and trips for the residents. And, once his time as guest director was over, he became the first artist to live in the gallery, a new option that will soon be available to other artists.
Being in a quiet, isolated village was different from the hustle and bustle of city residencies, and Anton had the chance to concentrate on his running, going up the valleys even during snowy weather, putting in 25 km at a time, and finding that he has more stamina than he had when he was younger.
It was Anton’s plan to spend the whole summer here in Olafsjordur, but he was also applying to several universities for a master’s program in contemporary art. When the offers started pouring in, he realized he would have to leave sooner than he had hoped. So he took the opportunity to take a bunch of video footage before he left, and went on several car trips to scenic places in North Iceland to see Godafoss and other sights, discovering in the process that if you travel during the endless summer nights, there are no tourist to block your view.
Anton plans to return to Akureyri next year to participate in a performance art festival. He has an idea of combining his running with the scenery he has been running through, and it should be very interesting to see. Perhaps he will stop in at Listhus and say hello when he returns. The artists, friends, and townspeople will miss him.