Eyjólfur Einarsson's artistic career began in the early 1960s and has spanned more than half a century. In that time the artist explored many different approaches before creating the dreamy visual world for which he is now known. Eyjólfur first made his mark as an Expressionist abstract painter. Later his works evolved toward organic compositions in a surrealist vein. Eyjólfur's abstract surrealism gradually evolved towards an enigmatic but reality-based world at the boundary of dream and reality. The same motifs – marionettes, ships, carousels, towers – recur again and again, in different contexts, in a dreamlike light. The human figures of these paintings often merge together into faceless crowds which are either puppets of higher powers or victims of circumstance.
In recent years Eyjólfur's “dream paintings” have grown considerably and their form has become increasingly simple. Flying Carpet (1990) is characteristic of Eyjólfur's more recent paintings. The piece is large, simple and structured around a simple analogy of apparently easily recognizable objects – a carpet and the hull of a ship. But the dark, enigmatic space and the idiosyncratic colour palette of the painting, together with the absence of any obvious connection between the two objects, raises questions, doubts – and fears – which create lasting visual tension.
The lower object could be the hull of a ship in sand (in ancient Greek mythology the ferryman Charon transports people to the world of the dead on his boat), but it could also be a sarcophagus; what does it contain? And the “flying carpet” of childhood fairy tales, hovering over the coffin/ship, looks like a dark-red (bloody?) blanket, or perhaps a kind of shroud or cover. With a little creativity one can see this piece as Eyjólfur's personal reflection on the resurrection of Christ or the Virgin Mary.