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)

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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