Iceland is a church. The church below in Mosfellsbær is, in the Icelandic context, not a place of worship. Not really. It is a bond with ancestors who declared their faith in directing interhuman relationships through a symbol of death and rebirth: death of individual selves fighting each other as representatives of raw physical power, and rebirth as people coming together to create and then draw from a concentrated form of subtler powers, both human and inhuman. At best, Icelanders used this energy to battle common foes; at worst, they used it to express raw power relationships between each other. For over 1,000 years, it has remained the state. Notice how few other buildings are involved, and how this church is not in the middle of a settlement but in the middle of nature. One comes to it.
Welcome to the wilderness of the mind.When confronted with the absence of words for the mirror that is the world, people often fill the space where they have never had a chance to build a self with their body.It is an expression of rapid, long-distance transportation of the body from its living environment to one only its ancestors had words for, if even them.
It turns the living earth, and her people, into a maze in a desert. Not all are at home in the world. These new sculptures, echoes of tourism, threaten the environment of the cairns the first settlers laid down, to find their way to each other.
The windows of Iceland are for neither looking in nor looking out, but for display of earthly objects in the light of the sun, which makes them sacred: talismans, spells, and prayers. It is an exquisite and complex art form, quite separate from the 1960s New York art that saturates the Harbour Gallery (and which is also beautiful.) In their windows, the people speak; in their galleries, they create a window for the world, based on this style.
Tomorrow, let’s go for a gallery tour.