Iceland

Ásmundarsafn and Yearning for Space

Visiting Iceland earlier in the year, I caught Yearning for Space at Ásmundarsafn in the few days before the exhibition closed. Yearning for Space is the name of an Ásmundur Sveinsson sculpture from 1967, and it indexes the time when the Space Race was at its peak: set off by the successful orbiting of Sputnik 1 in October 1957, after the Soviet Union…

The Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden

Born at Galtafell farm in southern Iceland, Einar Jónsson studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, settling in the Danish capital from 1904 following a couple of years spent mostly in Rome, with visits also to Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Florence. At the time, around the turn of the twentieth century, Iceland possessed little in…

Iceland: Grótta and the Lighthouse

In the township of Seltjarnarnes at the north-westernmost tip of Greater Reykjavik, looking out over the Faxaflói bay, lies Grótta with its rugged beach and lighthouse. The small spit becomes an island at high tide, and it is closed off for around a month while birds nest in the early summer, but otherwise it is one of the most beautiful spots…

Capsule Movie Review: Virgin Mountain (2015)

Virgin Mountain (Fúsi) Dramatic Comedy | 93 Minutes | 2015 | Iceland * * * * Fúsi (Gunnar Jónsson) is forty-three years old and a virgin, still living at home with his mother. He spends his days working as a baggage handler at Keflavik airport, his evenings wargaming with his friend Mörður (Sigurjón Kjartansson), as together they painstakingly recreate the Battle of…

Iceland: Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is the most popular tourist route in Iceland. Looping approximately 300 kilometres from Reykjavik into the Icelandic interior and back, its main sites are always the same: overlooking Þingvellir national park; the geothermal area Haukadalur, home to Geysir, which is so intermittent that tours tend to stop near Strokkur instead, a fountain geyser which erupts every 5-10 minutes…

Daily Visual 03.07.15: Iceland Legalises Blasphemy

Yesterday Iceland abolished its law against blasphemy, following a campaign by the country’s Pirate Party (Píratar) launched in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack. The Althing, Iceland’s parliament, repealed Article 125 of the General Penal Code, which prohibited anyone ‘mocking or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community’. The Pirate Party holds three of sixty-three seats in the…

Daily Visual 05.06.15: Björk’s ‘Stonemilker’ in Panorama

Back in January Vulnicura, Björk’s eighth studio album proper, emerged suddenly after an internet leak dragged forward its release. It had been intended for March: to coincide with the publication at the beginning of the month of the Björk: Archives retrospective, featuring text by critics including Alex Ross, poetry by frequent Björk collaborator Sjón, and photographs from across Björk’s music videos, record…

An International Record of Women’s Suffrage

An International Record of Women’s Suffrage

International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March each year, took place yesterday. To mark its passing, I thought I would look at some of the dates and backgrounds pertaining to when women first attained the right to vote. I have touched briefly on this subject in a couple of previous pieces: depicting a cultural history of Crimea; and viewing a history of…