In used bookstores they have been touched by other hands, and that touch remains and reaches out to you. Do you dare touch back? Dare
Is it goofing around with a culvert at Grandatorg?
Or goofing around with shop windows on Laugavegur?
Or the painting amusing themselves at Kjarvalstaðir, because everyone has come to lunch with old friends, and the paintings are certainly old friends.
Or some weird kind of planting flowers to give children hope in front of some everybody-comes-to-Iceland-with-spray-cans-now-that-the-building-sites-have-been-abandoned-after-the-financial-meltdown, because what else?
It’s the cigarette tin, right?
No, wait! It’s spilled paint and a stick on a parking lot!
It never ends. Icelanders are a pretty serious looking bunch, even Björk, and they write about gruesome murders and stuff, and their novelists kill off all their heroes and heroines just because, but don’t believe it, because they’re always goofing off, with a straight face. Do you think the horses taught them about this, in those centuries of isolation?
Well, maybe not the straight face part.
It is a wonderful thing that Ásmundar Sveinsson worked with in Reykjavik: to make thoughts for the eye to consider, in the parts of thought independent of the cognitive mind.
Sveinsson’s Troll Woman in Reykjavik
When viewing, remember that a troll is not a creature from fairy tale but any person deeply connected with a place. “Trolls”, in other words, are themselves the body thinking, in the parts of thought independent of the cognitive mind. Sveinsson was so independent that he remains, still, ahead of his time.
The jolt of excitement it gives (essentially the breaking of your self-imposed exile from self in the act of waiting) especially if viewed in a crowd against which you can measure your response, is then called the power of the natural world. It is the age of advertising, psychology and science.
Half a century ago, nature was much closer. You lived in it.
It was an age of art. As a result, nature was conceived as a painting, which would then influence its observers in both spiritual and practical ways.
Well, it has grown now, as these tree plantations show. This shaping can still continue and is one of the reasons why art must be defended and continually reinvented in conversation with the earth. It is always waiting. Sometimes you just have to turn around.