Jon Laxdal was born in Akureyri, Iceland, in 1950. Despite the fact that he has spent most of his life in the town of his birth some distance from Iceland’s main cultural centre Reykjavik, he is recognised as one of Icelandic art’s major contemporary figures. Laxdal’s chosen medium is paper. Harvesting his raw material from old newspapers and other printed matter, he has spent decades producing meticulously constructed collages. Light, ephemeral and fleeting, the paper is given a delicate permanence by his slow, considered process. Issues of typography, paper quality, and colour all play essential parts in the choices he makes. He also sets strict parameters for the frames, proportions and scale of each series of works, then systematically varies each individual construction within those tight limits. However, he doesn’t just make his collages based on aesthetic and formal decisions: content also plays its part. Each piece of paper is chosen for a specific reason after a long engagement with the original text and the ideas it communicated. As a result, each work becomes a kind of abstraction that nonetheless still has a vital, necessary relationship with the original reality operated within. Laxdal therefore creates new layers of meaning and beauty out of material we’d otherwise throw away. His work shows a quiet, intelligent restraint that leaves nothing to chance.
Laxdal’s work has been shown at several major institutions in Iceland and Scandinavia. He studied philosophy at the University of Iceland before becoming an artist. As well as making his own work, he has contributed greatly to the development of the cultural scene in Iceland’s second city, Akureyri. He now lives and works in Freyjulundur, Iceland.