'Chromo Zone'

Working in sculpture, murals, and immersive installations, Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, aka Shoplifter, transforms spaces with the unique medium of hair. Previously, the artist has used real human hair, but she has recently focused on synthetic hair for its range of intense chromatic values, which allows her to create fanciful environments that immerse viewers in plush neon.

Signature image for Shoplifter exhibition at SCAD Museum of Art
Shoplifter/Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, "Chromo Sapiens," detail, synthetic hair, 2019. Image by John Berens.

As a medium, hair represents both the viewer’s identity and what Shoplifter calls the “remnant of the beast in us.” In its primal function, hair is a fiber meant to insulate and cool the body. Culturally, it is an agent to express individuality and social values. Worldwide, and throughout the history of humanity, cultures have used hairstyle, hair color, or the removal of hair as a means to express social position, gender, age, and other signifiers of social standing. Shoplifter situates her work between primal and cultural signifiers: primal, in that viewers are bombarded with a mass of biological vestiges; cultural, in her choice of synthetic hair, which is tied specifically to market demand as Shoplifter uses only colors available for purchase rather than dyeing the hair herself. In this way, the work functions as found-object installation.

In this solo presentation in the André Leon Talley Gallery, Shoplifter presents a new site-specific installation that continues her investigation into the power of material to transform spaces. Creating an intimate, welcoming environment, Shoplifter invites visitors of all ages to experience joy, energy, optimism, and playfulness.

The exhibition is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2020, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances held Feb. 18–20 at locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

About the artist

Arnardóttir represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2019. Recent exhibitions include Nervescape VIII at Kiasma, the Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki; the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik; and the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Australia. She has collaborated with the art collective assume vivid astro focus for a window installation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2008, and was granted the Nordic Award in Textiles and became a recipient of The Prince Eugen Medal for artistic achievement from the King and Royal Crown of Sweden in 2011.

Install Views


Chromo Zone is curated by Ben Tollefson, assistant curator of SCAD exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card, and open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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