At the very top of the organ case of the world-famous Vater-Müller organ, the Icelandic artist Smári Rúnar Róbertsson (Vestmannaeyjabær, 1992) winds back the hands of the clock. For two and a half months they will rewind some 300 years, beyond the time when the clock was created by sculptor Jurriaan Westerman: the year 1724. The artist literally relaxes the clock as a way of transforming it to reflect on time, space and your physical presence.


blog / live essay
As the clock rewinds, Smári Rúnar Róbertsson will be writing about his intervention. You can find his texts online in a form that stands between a blog, a report and a live essay. In his first text, the artist connects the clock with an Icelandic saga about a legendary hero from the 13th century, Örvar Oddur. It is a fictional saga written by an anonymous Icelander and made popular by Dutch linguist Richard Constant Boer (1863-1929).

Together with H401, Museum van Loon and the Reinwardt Academy, the Oude Kerk forms a coalition that invites an artist annually to make work for one of the institutions. In 2018, the coalition invited Smári Rúnar Róbertsson. The coalition praises the way in which coincidence and time play an important role in the work of Smári. “The limits that give us the idea of defined time are not interesting to him. He prefers to stretch it.”

smári rúnar róbertsson
Smári Rúnar Róbertsson (Iceland, 1992) obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2015 at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. In 2017 he graduated from the Masters course at the Sandberg Institute. Smári is a versatile artist; he makes installations, written work and music. It often includes a location-specific phenomenon or fundamental architectural features that are emphasized by audio, video, text or objects. Characteristic is his investigative way of working that deals with time, identity and the hermeneutics of experience.
The questions that Smári asks about how we explain ourselves, our situation and our environment were one of the reasons to invite him to develop new work for the Oude Kerk. His play with time and coincidence relates to the credo of the church in which heritage and contemporary art go hand in hand.