Category Archives: Art

Art and Nature in a Quarry: It’s an Icelandic Thing

Eldborg, the Tephra Cone that translates as Fire Mountain, in Krysuvik…is a beautiful place, rarely visited….

… is a beautiful place…

You can get close to life there.

The road’s not even busy.

Two generations ago, when it looked out over an active quarry, …
… it was a major site for native Icelandic tourism. One of Iceland Air’s original jets is named after it.

Does this look like a jet to you? No? If you’re Icelandic, it might.

It was part of a network of walking paths, where Icelanders could celebrate all things Icelandic, including the beauty of Kjarval’s paintings, which a few aging Icelandic hikers still do by lunching in Kjarvalstaðir, his gallery in Reykjavik…

… but that’s about it. Icelandic artists are too worldly now to make much of his trolls and elves and such like.

Eldborg

They’re into environmental protection and other more modern mythologies, which they have embraced with great verve, but it’s good to remember that in Icelandic culture the capacity remains to see art, nature and a gravel quarry together, as one thing. The same can be said of rivers: quarries, all.

Bessastaðaá

Yes, a quarry.

 

Where is the Heart of Iceland?

A simple farm in the East, far from everything?

No, at the centre. This was the heart of some of Icelands greatest modern poems. Reykjavik is the wasteland here. What caught my eye was the oddness of this sewing machine and this bone, honoured on this picnic table.

What  held me was this poem by Krystján Einarsson. Just say it out loud. The sound is enough.

Know that when you drive away, you are leaving the heart for the hands, and you’ll have to come back.

Big Things Come from an Elvish Cat

In elf country, off in Borgarfjörður Eystri, you can never be sure. Is it a cat? A mouse? A cat and a mouse? Elves playing at both? Or a whole elvish family, complete with cat and mouse, all sharing a long tail?

It was in these dells that the boy Johannes Kjarval herded sheep and slowly became a painter.

Kjarval at Work and Play

No wonder.

It’s Complicated

Icelanders dress quite practically. So do tourists. There’s one on the right, in Akureyri.

But 66 Degrees North knows that we all like brightness. It brings us in the door. Then we buy the dull stuff.  This is complicated marketing! For example, this is what I came for in December:

And a couple times, this is what I got:

I was drawn into 66 North by the bright lights, but bought nothing. It’s a mysterious thing. Is it because Akureyri is only 65.8 degrees north? As for Reykjavik?

Well, that’s a mere 64 degrees north. What more needs to be said.