For the whole of the month of August in 2015, I was one of the artists-in-residence at Listhús, an international art centre in Ólafsfjörður, a small fishing village in the north of Iceland (for more info go to www.listhus.com/).
This was my second visit to this location. I have travelled to many countries but I loved my experience of Iceland – especially the landscape; like others before me, I found the environment unique, fascinating and inspiring. It has been said that it is impossible to take a bad photograph in Iceland; some images are presented here which may (or may not?) give testament to that.
I found it intriguing that a landscape with a very few constituent parts (i.e. snow, rock, water and sky) was able to create such a pure environment. I was particularly fascinated by the way that, on bright days, everything was in equal focus; the distant views seemed as sharp as the hand in front of my face – as if I had suddenly been blessed with atomic vision. On a number of hikes into the mountains, I was lucky enough to experience ‘sun on snow’. August was an unusually wet month but, generally, the weather varied from day to day and sometimes from minute to minute! On some days the cloud would descend to create a ‘white out’ making it virtually impossible to discern a horizon.
As well as the landscape, I was impressed by the cultural richness of this relatively small country. Iceland has a special relationship with its history, language and humour. This is evident in the country’s literature, its poetry, in its music and, more recently, in its film. For me, these aspects presented additional levels of interest as well as, of course, the residency sitiuation itself, which enabled me to meet, live with and work with other artists from all over the world.
- On with the Butter (Áfram með smjörið) – This was a group exhibition that concluded the residency at Listhús, an art centre in the north of Iceland.
As is noted above – Iceland’s landscape is stunning. BUT it is so pure and beautiful that, as an artist, I didn’t quite know what to do with it! During my residency I produced a number of sketches and drawings, three of which were exhibited.
The concluding work was an installation that included a video performance piece. This was created in collaboration with Kalun Leung, a media artist from Hong Kong: see Taking a landscape for a walk(2015).
My work continues: go to POST (and pre) ICELAND.