Your country doesn’t exist is an ongoing project using often the appearance of a campaign and announcements, represented by a drawing and/or text with this same sentence. The work appears in different formats, mediums, languages, places and countries, infiltrating in different contexts. So far it has appeared on a sculpture at Platform Garanti CAC Istanbul; as an announcement on national and or regional TV and radio (in Iceland, the Netherlands and Austria); on billboards in cities and roads; as large painted wall drawings on houses and museum facades; in polyurethane foam and in clay; as a newspaper advertisement; as a postage stamp prototype in several museum exhibitions; as a flyer; and as a drink automat serving cans of beer, soda, and water bearing the campaign’s slogan in different languages; it has been the cover of a magazine (a medical journal); it has appeared as the coats of arms of two 18th century sandstone lion sculptures guarding the doors of Museum Gouda; it has been on T-shirts, and has appeared as a boomerang and as a wall drawing in the Cafe of Rotor exhibition space in Graz to name a few. The work has lately become a series of paintings exploring a.o colour field relations, to be presented among other at the art fair Artissima in Turin and at the art fair in ARCO with the title Your country doesn’t exist – Homage to the Splash (2010). One iterations of the work Your country doesn’t exist – Do it yourself was made in a collaboration with the Icelandic ambassador in Berlin Gunnar Snorri Gunnarsson and the Icelandic ambassador in Denmark Sturla Sigurjónsson.
For Under Deconstruction – the Icelandic Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial, Castro and Ólafsson presented the project in three iterations. One of them was a neon intervention Il Tuo Paese Non Esiste, a neon text, ca. 150 cm x 650 cm, mounted on facade of the Icelandic pavilion at 54th Venice Biennial, former laundry house at Palazzo Senobio, Collegio Armeno – Moorat Raphael.
The second interation of the work was was a video work and a performance Il Tuo Paese Non Esiste, 2011. The video Il Tuo Paese Non Esiste is a recording of a staged musical public performance in Venice. Appropriating the cliché and reality of the gondolier and the serenade singer, a mezzo-soprano (Ásgerður Júníusdóttir) sings a contemporary serenade floating in a gondola driven by a gondolier (Simone Piovesan) through the canals of the city, accompanied by trumpet (David Boato) and guitar (Alberto Mesirca). The lyrics are composed by the artists, intertwining in several languages the sentence “This is an announcement from Libia and Ólafur: Your country doesn’t exist, your country doesn’t exist” with appropriated phrases from a text by writer and curator Antonia Majaca, reflecting on the ongoing project Your Country Doesn’t Exist. The artists collaborated with the Icelandic composer Karólína Eiríksdóttir who wrote the music score. The video, shot throughout the city in the afternoon and during the golden hour, on two spring days in early May, is an edit from the several performances the performers made throughout their journey, juxtaposed with the city’s local daily life and its omnipresent touristic reality. During the 2nd and 3rd of June, the opening days of the 54th Venice Biennial, the piece was performed again live throughout the city’s canals and the Giardini.
The Icelandic’s pavilion exhibition “Under Desconstruction” was a solo project of the artists curated by Ellen Blumenstein and commissioned by Dorothée Kirch and the Icelandic Art Center.
The work; Your Country doesn’t exist has for example travelled to Turkey, Iceland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy.