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Shoplifter: The Art of Hrafnhilder Arnardóttir

A photo of an art installation made of hairNervescape VII (installation view at National Gallery of Iceland)

Icelandic artist Hrafnhilder Arnardóttir works under the moniker Shoplifter, creating works in the fascinating medium of hair, borrowing materials, techniques, and aesthetics from the worlds of fashion, fine art, and textile craft.

An artwork made from dyed orange and black hairGloria - Study for An Opera


Shoplifter’s bright, colorful installations and sculptures have a wonderfully playful edge to them -- some of them remind me of textile works by the artist Olek, while others are completely unique. Shoplifter is known for using hair in her work, and something about the texture of this organic material -- even when dyed with neon, radioactive colors -- makes me think of taxidermy, like in the work of Polly Morgan or Jessica Joslin.


Even working with such a specific and unusual medium, Shoplifter is able to manipulate the look and feel of her artworks to an incredible degree. In some, the hair appears matted into a sponge-like texture; in others, it’s synthetic, finely combed and hanging.

A sculpture made with bright red hairUntitled (from series Imaginary Friends)

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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