Articles in Art


Happening This Weekend April 16-20

Due to Easter, Icelanders are gearing up for for a five-day weekend filled with booze, roast and easter eggs.

Icelandic Fashion Grows Up

Reykjavík Fashion Festival is in its fifth year and has been a fantastically worthwhile, if ambitious, project for a country with only 330,000 people and one fashion college (Fashion Academy Reykjavík).

“Ohhh, It's Just Doodlery”

I'm running late. I somehow got lost, and when I finally get to the Dusted gallery, sweating and rain-drenched, Alma is peeping out the back.

Where You Dream More Than You Sleep

Nestled between the east coast of Húnaflói Bay and the ominous three-peaked Spákonufell mountain sits a small fishing village called Skagaströnd. On the edge of town, the tiny Bjarmanes Café rests perched above the sea. The café, which is open only one night each month during the winter, is warm with plush sofas and armchairs.

A False Version Of The Truth

When we meet Einar, a seasoned Reykjavík crime reporter, at the opening of Árni Þórarinsson’s ‘Season of the Witch,’ he—much like the country around him—is in the midst of great change, and he’s not terribly happy about it.

Icelandic Fashion In Five Words

Words on Icelandic fashion design by Bóas Kristjanson, Fabio Del Percio, Anna Fríða Giudice, Guðmundur Jörundsson and more.

There Are No VIPs In Iceland

“There are no VIPs in Iceland,” Þórey Eva Einarsdóttir says in regard to the Reykjavík Fashion Festival (RFF), which she is directing this year for the third time.

A Metallic Maiden

'Málmhaus' (“Metalhead”), written and directed by Ragnar Bragason, is both a coming of age story and a love letter to heavy metal music.

Design March: Don't Miss These!

The signature event of DesignMarch, the day-long seminar, centres this year on the designers’ role as visionaries and strategists. Our world today faces multiple global issues that could use the designers’ innate ability to detect opportunities and to invent and create alternatives.

Reykjavík To Host Iceland’s First High-Profile International Writers Retreat

In early April, a group of professional and aspiring writers from all over the world will convene in Reykjavík for the first-ever Iceland Writers Retreat.

Design March Q&A’s!

In the wake of DesignMarch, we asked local designers their opinion on local designs.

Not Your Usual Cup Of Tea

I pop the translucent lime-coloured candy into my mouth and swish it back and forth from one cheek to the other. It's not sweet, as I had expected from its Jolly Rancher-like appearance; instead, it has an organic, hearty flavour.

Visionary Thinking For Alternative Futures

A designer, curator and teacher at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, Sweden, Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir is active in design education initiatives around the world, and has led workshops in India, China and Iceland on a variety of topics, such as future thinking and experience design, theme-based course design and applying design methodologies to complicated problems in fields such as healthcare.

Does Iceland Need A New Flag?

A graphic designer, an instructor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, and the president of the Icelandic Association of Graphic Designers, Hörður Lárusson has worked on an extensive and diverse range of design projects.

Shrug Away The Stale Winter Torpor…

There is something incredibly alluring about the month of March: sometimes it's the fresh and crispy scent of spring that lingers on the streets on sunny afternoons; other times it's the lack of any sign that summer is approaching.

Being Fat, Gay And A Teenager

Flori’s mother Monika is his anchor in life. She’s the only person in the whole world who understands him and loves him for what he really is: a chubby gay superfan who fancies Schlager star Christian Steiffen.

Black And White Photography, Old School

“There is no such thing as a human that isn’t creative,” says abstract photographer Jeremy Lynch, “but not everybody is aware of her or his abilities.”


Eyrarrós Celebrates Culture Projects From All Around Iceland

At the Skaftfell Arts Centre in Seyðisfjörður, people interested in Icelandic art and culture gathered together recently to find out which regional projects would receive recognition for their efforts from the annual Eyrarrós awards.

When I Want To Feel Good, I Dance Like This

Currently in a limited return run in Reykjavík, the spare, searching, and ultimately joyful two-person show “Dansaðu fyrir mig,” (‘Dance for me’) starts from a basic premise—can an untrained, pot-bellied 49-year-old man realize his dream of dancing on stage?—and uses it as a platform to explore creation and collaboration, artistic vulnerability, aspiration and family-making.

Know Thy Selfie

When Elo Vázquez first began displaying her photography on the internet in 2002, the web was a great meeting place for photographers to share and discuss their art. “There was a really nice community of photographers from all over the world,” she says, “but that's completely over now.”

Tackling Gravity

When it comes to animation, Iceland’s Daði Einarsson is a real veteran. After spending several years working at London-based Framestore, Daði moved back to Iceland in 2008 to open an Icelandic branch of the renowned visual effects house.

What Did I Just Watch?

This film is odd. I can't decide what it's supposed to be. Is it some sort of ad for Life Magazine? Because there's certainly enough unabashed celebration of the already very self-important publication in `The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty,' and ads certainly feel longer and more obnoxious every time I go to a theatre.

Monster or Martyr

Based on the real story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, who in 1830 became the last person to be executed for a crime in Iceland, `Burial Rites,’ the debut novel by Australian author Hannah Kent, is the culmination of ten years’ of writing, research, and obsession—what the 26-year-old winner of the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award describes as her “dark love letter to Iceland.”

The Big, Bad South African Wolf

The first film banned in South Africa since the Apartheid, 'Of Good Report' is enjoying a limited theatrical release at Bíó Paradís with a final screening tonight.

There Are Stars... Exploding

Ragnar Kjartansson's ‘The Visitors’ is perfect. This is art today and it feels amazing. The show, up at Kling and Bang Gallery until February 9th, is a must-see.

The Lovable Drunk

Although his acting in Iceland—with the Vesturport theatre group and in popular films and TV series such as ‘101 Reykjavík,’ ‘Sveitabrúðkaup’ (“Country Wedding”) and ‘Mannaveidar,’ (Man Hunter)—have made Ólafur Darri a household name here, it wasn’t until 2013 that he really broke into Hollywood.

Melting Kittens And Imprecise Clocks

Melting kittens, radiators that blush red when hot, clocks that stop time–welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Icelandic designer Þórunn Árnadóttir.

Lose Yourself To Swants

It takes a keen eye and a bold character to see a sweater as "sassy." It takes scissors, a tapestry needle, some safety pins, waste yarn and eight simple steps to see a sassy sweater as sassy sweater pants.

Nowhere Men

'Prince Avalanche' is the story of two highway road workers–Alvin (starring Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch)–who spend the summer of 1988 working together in rural Texas.

Double Exposures: Iceland vs. Croatia

Jadran ti mater! is a project inspired by sea: double exposure pictures overlapping Croatian and Icelandic coast, Adriatic Sea vs. Atlantic Ocean, rocks vs. sand, sparkling calm sea vs. waves.

Leipzig Hypezig

Leipzig is an unlikely place for an Icelandic art festival, but following three successful years in Iceland, Festisvall is making its second home in Germany.

Giving Life To The Walking Dead

In order to raise the dead, wait until midnight on a Friday or Saturday, preferably on the 18th, 19th, 28th or 29th of a month.

The Friendliest Little Crime Fest In Reykjavík

Going into its first year, Iceland Noir, the first ever Icelandic literary festival dedicated exclusively to crime fiction, has already set a high bar: months prior to the event it attracted over one hundred and twenty registered participants, many of whom will be travelling to Iceland from abroad to attend.

Oh, Lovely Iceland!

By now there are mountains upon mountains of photo books featuring Iceland, its landscapes, its people and its culture.

OMG. Memes From The Saga Museum

The Icelandic Sagas are renowned the world over as epic, dramatic tales from a violent yet valiant past.

Getting To Know Tiernan Douieb

The Icelandic Comedy Festival will take place in Reykjavík and parts of Western and Southern Iceland between November 6 and 23 with a mix of International and Icelandic comedians.

From Reykjavík To Ankara And Back

For his latest project, Icelandic visual artist Ingimar Einarsson has travelled more than 12,000 kilometres by train for over two years, photographing modern architecture in capital cities around Europe.

Tattoo Expo In Photos

The annual Icelandic Tattoo Expo took place in September. Photographer Matthew Eisman was there to document the attendees as well as the artists.

It's Funny Because It's True

Icelandic comedy films from the 1980s are a staple of Iceland’s cultural life.

The Nature Of The Experiment

Imagine if you had to hike across the Alps with a heavily stuffed backpack.

Documenting The Downfall

In making ‘TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay—Away from Keyboard,’ Simon Klose spent several years following Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm—founders of torrent site The Pirate Bay—when they were being put on trial in Sweden at the behest of the entertainment industry for “promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws.”

Critic's Pick

RIFF is back! And there are plenty of movies you should definitely not miss. Here are short reviews for five of them.

RIFF Is Back For The Tenth Time!

The tenth annual festival, which opened on September 26 and continues through to October 6, is comprised of 75 features as well as a number of Icelandic shorts and special events.

A New Icelandic Dream

There are a couple of reasons why a film about Anglo expatriates in Beijing is a perfect choice for the opening night selection of the Reykjavík International Film Festival on September 26.

Save The (Movie) Date

The tenth annual Reykjavík International Film Festival runs from September 26 to October 6.

A Film Festival For All Eyes

The European Film Festival has returned to Bíó Paradís for the second year, once again bringing the very best of European film to Iceland.

The Perfect Landscape

Art is a contested space in ‘The Perfect Landscape.’

Wig Rituals And Dancing Curtains

I have little doubt that Lunch Beat is the best dance party in Reykjavík.

A Brand New Viking Saga Is Out!

His name is Snorri, he’s Icelandic and he writes about Vikings who chop each other up with swords.

Breathing Into Dance

In the cool dimness of KEX’s Gym & Tonic room, we stand in a large circle with eleven people, slowly breathing with our eyes closed.

How To Fake Orgasms

An English fellow, a French woman and an Icelander walk into a bar, and the weather is so good they sit outside.

Too Weird For A Studio

‘Einn’ (“One”) follows the story of Helgi Dagur, an Icelandic filmmaker who struggles to maintain his artistic vision as greedy studio producers try to make him alter his film.

Premiere: The Foghorns - Ain’t I A Man

This might come as a surprise: the Reykjavík Grapevine has always been rather involved in the Reykjavík music scene—and not just in terms of loving on and covering it...

Unraveled By Alda Sigmundsdóttir

‘Unraveled,’ the debut novel of seasoned journalist, translator, author, and blogger Alda Sigmundsdóttir, opens on the brink of calamity—the sort of world-changing upheaval whose warning signs, in retrospect, seem so obvious, but which completely elude those involved until it’s much too late.

Hollywood Dreams Come True

Baltasar Kormákur just could be to Icelandic film what Björk is to Icelandic music.


At the end of the month, our fair city will be inundated by performance. Since 2002, the Reykjavík Dance Festival has been the single most important time of year for Iceland’s independent professional dancers and has contributed to the vast growth and expansion of their work.

The Guy In The Fur Coat Shitting His Pants

Diederik Peeters rejects the notion of being a minor cult celebrity in Iceland.

Why I Wrote ‘Tales Of Iceland’

When I picked up my first copy of the Reykjavik Grapevine while on a tour of Iceland, I had this staggering, overwhelming thought that went something like: "Quit your job, move to Iceland, never look back, and write for this wonderful rag full-time."

Backyard Babies

August is your last chance to see the cavalcade of classic Icelandic films that have been playing at Bíó Paradís this summer.


After several years of trying different steps and shapes, the festival that unites Iceland’s freelance dance professionals has found a new model that could serve to move it even further.

The Writing On The Wall

It's not street art if it's in a gallery. “I definitely don't want to exhibit street art in the white cube,” Sara Riel says, “one of the fundamentals is finding the right spot, it's part of its nature.”

Listen To Your Art

Over the bustle of the LungA lunch buffet one morning, Marteinn Sindri Jónsson sat with stick-like posture, listening to the sounds of the cafeteria "without bias," as he put it, just like a microphone would.

Spontaneous Combustion

"Flott fjörd!" announced our driver as we pull into Stöðvarfjörður. It was the first exchange of words we had the whole trip. He spoke no English, the only thread of communication tying us together was our own crinkled paper sign that read "Stöðvarfjörður," and a matching label on a pack of newspapers sitting in his front seat.

Shake Your Money Maker And Meditate!

In these stressful modern times, it is simply necessary to meditate.

On The Cold Coasts By Vilborg Daviðsdóttir

The book begins with childbirth and a shipwreck. But cutting far deeper than a simple romantic adventure story, ‘On the Cold Coasts’ transports us back to fifteenth century Iceland where blizzards start in the blink of an eye.

Enter The 6th Volume

How is history written? And by who? Is just anyone capable of writing it? Or should the task be left in the hands of specific individuals and entities?

Life In A Northern Town: Dagur Kári's 'Nói Albínói'

Claustrophobia. It’s everywhere in ‘Nói Albínói.’ It’s in the flailing arms of the titular character tossing rocks into the ocean, wishing he could throw himself away.

New Kid On The Iceblock


Best Spiritual Experience: The Sweat Lodge

Even just trying to put the sensation of visiting the sweat lodge in Elliðaárdalur down on paper seems an exercise in futility; I don’t think words could ever quite mediate the scale of physical and mental effects experienced during a session.

Running Off With The Circus

“This is the biggest tent, Eyjafjallajökull,” says Ilmur Dögg Gísladóttir, PR & Project Manager of the Nordic House, as we enter the centrepiece of the circus village under construction in Vatnsmýri.

The Emotion Of Cold, Hard Science

Artist Katrín Sigurðardóttir is in-between three cats, on a square, in Venice.

The Return Of Iceland's Bell

Ask Icelanders about the bad old times under Danish rule and they will probably tell you about how the Danes periodically whipped Icelandic farmers if they dared trade with merchants from other countries or how they stole our bell to pay for their incessant warfare on the continent.

When In Roam

Walking up Skólavörðustígur one notices that the path of travellers on the sidewalks is akin to that of a drunken college student wandering home after a long night at the bar.

Halldór And Friends: Reminiscence

I first visited Iceland thirty years ago in my capacity as a travel writer. Why I chose Iceland, of all places, was simple: no one I knew had ever gone there.

Chalk Talk

On June 14, I walk down a misty Austurstræti to get my daily skyr from 10-11. The sky is overcast, there is a couple smoking cigarettes on the front step that I squeeze by, a cat crosses the road. 

Behind Björk's Mutual Core

Past holographic women buzzing in electric mauves and garish greens, past Chinese artists scribbling grey scale not-quite-likenesses of tourists, and just beneath golden arches and beaming advertisements for shamrock shakes...

Blood, Sweat, Tears And Ink

I remember going to the Icelandic Tattoo Convention in 2010, my heart pounding from a mixture of excitement and fear.

Rough Love And Reykjavík

Forty-five minutes north of Reykjavík is the quiet town of Hvalfjörður (“Whale Valley”). It is here that Icelandic filmmaker Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson went to create what he describes as "a moment" of rough, brotherly love.

The Message: No Messages

Marcos Zotes is an architect who recently brought one of his latest projects, “YOUR TEXT HERE,” to Reykjavík. He was caught off guard, however, when the Reykjavík district court building refused to grant him permission to use their façade as a display point.

What Most People Call Hell, We Call Home

Tom Cruise is slowly strangling himself in some post-apocalyptic desert landscape.

Docking In Art’s Harbour

The annual Reykjavík Art Festival begins on May 17 and will feature world-class artists and performances from both local and international ground-breakers

Life Imitates Art

Artist, musician, and author Ingimar Oddsson sits at a window table in a café in downtown Reykjavík, his hands folded calmly on his lap.

Shorts And Docs

It’s a cold world out there. No one knows that better than the documentary filmmaker, whose job it is to portray that world, in all of its gruesome glory, to the public.

‘Freaks Are Revolutionaries, And Revolutionaries Are Freaks’

Terrorists do not usually wear sequined gimp-masks and sparkly leather jackets, nor do they sing in three-part harmonies.

From Plumbing To Poetry To Hard-Hats And Bouncing Back

Rumour has it in Reykjavík that Norðurpóllinn is quitting. They’re not.

Escape From Iceland

At the beginning of The Gerpla Drive, three strangers from different countries meet by accident in the Westfjords.

From Hungarian Revolution To Punk-Rock Canada

Soft Hungarian tones of piano-filled sadness ring throughout the tiny room. On screen, a man shoots himself. Rita Bozi begins to speak.

The Passage Of Time

In a conversation published in this paper in late 2012, curator Markús Þór Andrésson spoke up for art which makes an emotional engagement, challenging the assumption that theory-based, academic critique is necessarily the most relevant art for politically turbulent times.

Reply To A Letter From Helga

A frank and poetic meditation on nature, relationships, and the choices that define us, Bergsveinn Birgisson’s ‘Reply To A Letter From Helga’ paints an unflinching portrait of Bjarni, an elderly man on the verge of “the Great Relocation congenital to all men” who is ready to finally face the defining decision of his life and respond to a letter left unanswered for so many years.

Not The Knee-Jerk Reaction

Raised in Iceland by Lithuanian parents, Agnes is a history student writing her thesis on today's right wing populism and its resemblance to the Nazi's Third Reich.

Here We Go Again: Marteinn Thorsson’s ‘XL’

“How typical,” mumbles Leifur, ‘XL’s protagonist as he attends a performance art exhibition, only to be shushed by his vacuous date.


The Reykjavík Grapevine Design Awards 2013

Now in their third year, The Grapevine Design Awards are bigger than ever. We once again rounded up a small panel of design experts and asked them to determine what was most cutting-edge in 2012. 

“An Ice Evening” At The Europa Restaurant & Bar

This poem about the EuroZone Crisis was written by Hallgrímur Helgason this summer for the International Literature  Festival in Berlin.

Finding Your Muse

Unlike traditional galleries, Muses has no brick and mortar structure, and instead exists completely online at

Ain't No Party Like An OAP Party

Meet ‘new girl’ Gréta, an 80-something-year-old go-getter who, after being dumped rather unceremoniously in a home for the elderly, soon finds fun and friendship in this not-so-unhappy setting.

Growing Old, French Style

The magic is gone, but once upon a time things were better. Perhaps this is a natural conclusion for filmmakers describing an aging society in perpetual economic distress.

Are We Drinking The Kool-Aid, Iceland?

Icelanders breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when EFTA ruled in its favour in the long-disputed Icesave case.


If You Screen It…

Iceland, as you may have gathered, is a small island nation in the middle of the North Atlantic, a fact which as much as any other has determined the course of cinema here for most of its history.

Making Sense Of The Past, Perhaps

“How do I define history? Well, it’s just one fucking thing after another,” says a character in Alan Bennett’s play ‘The History Boys.’

EBooks In Iceland: The Last Frontier

EBækur can thank one book in particular for most of its business. “I think it’s the same all over the world,” says Engilbert Hafsteinsson, the CEO of eBækur’s mother company D3.

EBooks In Iceland: The Last Frontier

EBækur can thank one book in particular for most of its business. “I think it’s the same all over the world,” says Engilbert Hafsteinsson, the CEO of eBækur’s mother company D3.

Fish In The Sky

“To actually cease being a child, that’s probably the greatest experience in life.” So thinks Josh Stephenson, the unusually sensitive and observant teen narrator of Fridrik Erling’s ‘Fish in the Sky.’

Fish In The Sky

“To actually cease being a child, that’s probably the greatest experience in life.” So thinks Josh Stephenson, the unusually sensitive and observant teen narrator of Fridrik Erling’s ‘Fish in the Sky.’

Graphics Follow Music

In person, Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon, professionally known as Goddur, doesn’t strike you as the creator of quirky and colourful posters.

A Very Brief History Of Icelandic Literature

When he was at Leeds University in the 1920s, J.R.R. Tolkien formed a drinking club where he and his fellow students would recite Old Norse poetry and sing Icelandic folk songs. His ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was directly inspired by the William Morris’ translation of Iceland’s ‘Völsungasaga.’

Icelandic Shorts Are Actually Really Good

What is life like in Kazakhstan? Is it really a nation of old, wrinkled ladies with shawls and skinny dudes hoarding goats? I have no idea, but this is how I imagine it via the few Kazakh films I know.

Taxing Issue For Filmmakers In Iceland

“I’m afraid we’ll have to keep this brief,” says Einar Tómasson apologetically, as we meet by the reception of the Borgartún complex where the Film In Iceland agency resides. “It’s a very busy day.”

Just My Type

It only took about 570 years for letterpress printing to be cool. What’s the secret? Well, we’re not talking about Johannes Gutenberg bibles here.

Dance Away Your Lunch Break

DJ Margeir is spinning techno music. The dance floor is full to capacity—the windows are steaming up and with each beat the collective hop of the crowd sends a shudder through the building.

Angeli Novi’s Ticking Time Bomb In The Continuum Of History

There is a photograph by Richard Peter of a statue of an angel overlooking the card-house-like ruins of Dresden. During three days in February 1945, the German city was annihilated by the allied forces using a new firestorm technique of simultaneously dropping bombs and incendiary devices onto the city.

Progress Smells Like One Thousand Dead Birds

A white infant-sized coffin sits atop a mound of sullen black sand guarded by two cardboard heads holding an impasse ribbon in their mouths.

Lampooned Austerity and Mythological Madness

I have long held the view that here, as in many other places, dance is regarded as some niche misunderstood form of artistic expression that the masses have yet to embrace as a common thread in the cultural fabric.

Reality TV That's Actually Real

Ahh, the diary—considered by many to be the holy grail of journals. More than just a place for a love struck 13-year-old to scrawl secret love notes to her crush, it acts as a keeper of many people’s innermost thoughts, feelings, desires and everyday observations.

Proceed With Caution

The cover of Sigur Rós’ ‘Valtari’ album features a photo of a large ship floating over a grass green ocean. There are no landmarks evident in the photo, which was shot off the coast of Grótta, a small island connected to Reykjavík by a narrow isthmus.

Fashion, Music And Moving House

Founded in 1999 by sisters Bára and Hrafnhildur Hólmgeirsdóttir, Aftur is a fashion label made with a strong environmental conscience.

The Less You Know About Iceland, The More Powerful The Experience Is

Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson is one of Iceland’s best photographers, acclaimed for his unique pictures of Iceland and Icelanders.

Surrendering To Time

Unfurled at majestic full length across the middle of the gallery, stained with oily pockmarks and rusty striations, “Cloth Collapsion” looks like some kind of ancient, time-worn scroll—a key document from a not quite lost civilisation, rescued from the ravages of the elements and displayed as an artefact for curious museumgoers.

Good Vibrations

You walk in a dark room, I mean pitch dark, and you are not sure what awaits you in the space.

An Odd Saga, Indeed

"As the others made small talk, I glanced out the window and wondered how I'd explain things to everyone: 'Why am I back?´" So begins EE Ryan’s first novella ‘The Odd Saga Of The American And A Curious Icelandic Flock.

An American Queen

“Goddamn, our house is falling apart,” Dave Siegel says in one of the opening scenes of Lauren Greenfield’s, ‘Queen of Versailles.’

Making 'I Send You This Place'

Two years ago, we moved to Iceland. We left ten months later. Those close to us have said that we had returned to the States as aliens.

Modernist Art Leads To Obvious Entertainment

As the month of October rolls around, the Iceland Dance Company prepares to kick off their annual season with two brand new performances.

Two Shorts About Love You Don’t Want To Miss

After checking out the 20 short films that will be featured at RIFF this year, I can testify that there are many fine films competing.

Talents In The RIFF Laboratory

Global icons like Dario Argento and Marjane Satrapi may be leading the billing at RIFF 2012, but a cohort of up-and-coming filmmakers is on its way to Reykjavík this year to join them.

Talents In The RIFF Laboratory

Global icons like Dario Argento and Marjane Satrapi may be leading the billing at RIFF 2012, but a cohort of up-and-coming filmmakers is on its way to Reykjavík this year to join them.

Pick Five

Mark Asch reviews five RIFF films: '¡Vivan las antipodes!', 'The Ambassador', 'Suspiria', 'The Queen Of Versailles' and 'Starlet'.

An Oldie But Goodie

There is something about the strange and perverse mind of director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson that makes him ideally suited to deal with the strangeness and perversity of bygone times.

The Knitted Worlds Of Sonja Bent

We met with Sonja Bent, a fashion and knitwear designer for LazyTown, a wildly popular children television program in America that’s produced both in Iceland and overseas.

Three Men And Their Penises

Only a minute into ‘The Final Member’ and there’s already a dismembered set of genitalia on the screen.

Lions And Bears And Puffins, Oh My

Ah, autumn in Reykjavík when, as Reykjavík International Film Festival Chair Hrönn Marinósdóttir observes, “it starts to rain, the leaves start to fall, it gets dark again, and it’s very traditional to go to the movies.

Drawing On The Walls

It was 2007 and Dan Perjovschi had just finished drawing on a wall in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art in New York when a security guard approached him.

Toward An Icelandic Product Design

“If I had to say,” Harpa Þórsdóttir says, “the identity of Icelandic product design is in the materials: fish bone, fish skin, knitted wool. And it’s in the handicrafts we do.”

As We Grow

Snoop-Around meets fashion designers Guðrún and María and lawyer Gréta. They are the co-founders of AS WE GROW, a fashion label for children.

Ten Reasons To Go To RIFF

It’s back! The Reykjavík International Film Festival storms into town later this month for its ninth consecutive year, bringing a host of special guests from around the world and a wealth of exciting, compelling brand new films and old favourites for an 10-day feast for movie-lovers.

Poles Apart No Longer

A new book about the landscape and mythology of Iceland—the first to be published in the Polish language in this country—marks a new chapter in the story of a people which remains Iceland’s largest ethnic minority. Islandia jak z bajki (“Iceland as a fairy-tale”) tells the story of a fantastical journey around the country. Written as a guide to Iceland, albeit in fictional form, it introduces a new wave of Polish immigrants and visitors to the heritage of an island that has long welcomed them.

The Bus That Yarn Built

A couple of weeks ago, I got on the bus at Lækjartorg and was greeted by what resembled my grandmother’s handiwork. Pieces of knitting and crocheted decorations adorned every seat, every window and every panel of the bus, down to the driver’s cash box.

Shouting For Poetry

If you’ve passed through downtown Reykjavík some time in the last decade there is a good chance that you’ve heard a big, burly man shout "ljóð" in a rusty, manly voice.

Mothers, Lovers, and CEOs: Modern Icelandic Women

Halla Linker Aguirre and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir may have little in common, other than a shared origin and a similar destination in their journey—both Icelanders who would eventually move to America.

Reykjavík, We Need To Talk...

Oh, hey. Sorry. I didn't see you there, Reykjavík. I mean, I did, but I was ignoring you. You know what I mean. It's not because I don't want to talk to you. (Of course I want to talk to you! For one, we need to discuss Brennivín.

So What Are Icelanders Really Like, Then?

“Dissecting the psyche of a nation is a daunting task. It is also doomed to failure.” So begins Alda Sigmundsdóttir’s study of Icelandic stereotypes. She may be trying to guard against criticism, but one could also submit that since we are a small, heterogeneous nation, Icelanders lend themselves uniquely well to gross generalisations. In fact, the rest of her book bears this out.

Propelling Forward

In the last six years, fashion designer Helga Lilja Magnúsdóttir has gone from making street hoodies to founding her own fashion brand, Helicopter. While she is now in the process of closing her store 20BÉ and moving into a new studio, she is far from running out of ideas.

Essentially Powerful

Three students who graduated from the prestigious Performing Arts Research & Training Studio in Belgium this year are the first Icelanders to do so since renowned dancer Erna Ómarsdottir in 1998. They performed at Gaflar Leikhús on August 16, showing two duets that were developed during their tenure in the programme.

Teacher And Student

"My father was a photographer,” Alaskan photographer Patrice Helmar tells me while we look at the photos she took at Mary Ellen Mark's workshop.

Get #Gibberese!

Ever wondered how languages relate to the environments in which they're uttered? Do you tweet? Interested in donating your twitter space and time to an international text performance that explores linguistic ecosystems? Then you’re invited to participate in #gibberese.

Gerður Kristný

It is not only the handballers and the swimmers who are repping RVK in London this year. The British capital also played host to some of the world’s finest poets earlier this summer. Reykjavík’s own Gerður Kristný was selected to stand among writers from 204 Olympic nations and represent Iceland in an international ‘Poetry Parnassus.’

Another Side Of The God Of Thunder

The Norse gods have certainly made their mark on popular culture. Just look at last year’s ‘Thor’ or this year’s ‘Avengers,’ where it takes a whole gang of superheroes to defeat one old god (ok, Hulk eventually does it with one hand, but still).

Iceland's First Gay Lovers?

In April of this year, Dr. Óttar Guðmundsson published a book, ‘Hetjur og hugarvíl’ (“Anxious Heroes”), devoted to psychoanalysing the main characters of some of the more prominent Icelandic Sagas. We sat down with Óttar before this year's Pride to hear more about his queer spin on the medieval canon.

A Breath Of Fresh Art

Rounding out their twelfth year of attracting art enthusiasts and novices alike, LungA still remains an arts festival to be experienced by all.

Six Minds, 59 Countries

It all started in London, where members of the group are pursuing a Masters degree in Advanced Theatre Practice. They were grouped together for a project where they had to go to the National Gallery to look for Degas' work, ‘The Head Of A Woman.’ And that head seemed to fit.

Learning To Photograph Iceland

"People think Iceland is just landscape; they don't think it's exotic. But it's very exotic. And for photographing people, it's fantastic. It's very alive, has great youth culture and great folkloric culture." Mary Ellen Mark is telling me about the joys of shooting in Iceland. But what makes the people so great to photograph? "Eccentricity, individuality," she says.

The Feast After The Famine

Two years ago Reykjavík filmgoers were famished. ‘Inception’ was just about the only half-decent Hollywood blockbuster around and the cinema owners of Reykjavík were becoming less ambitious with each passing week.

Horsing Around

Filmmakers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart are currently completing a documentary film about Icelandic horses that they shot in 2010 and 2011. We looked at their trailer and it looks kind of nice, actually:


In a swanky office at ad agency Jónsson & Le'macks, we sit down with Sigurður Oddsson. We're there to talk to him about Holster, a joint venture between three young men from various creative fields who came together to form a fashion company called Fur Trade, which is actually not a fashion company at all.

Monsters On The Streets Downtown

Passers-by young and old have been marvelling at a "monstrous" new mural painted in Óðinstorg last week, part of one of the city's many projects to revitalize neglected public spaces.

LungA Has Arrived!

Björt Sigfinnsdóttir is a busy woman. Between releasing her first solo album, creating an adult colouring book and managing a unique festival in Iceland, the girl ‘ain’t no slouch’ as my father would say. We met up with her to discuss the upcoming arts festival LungA—a weeklong artistic invasion of the tiny town of Seyðisfjörður.


Spanish artist Santiago Sierra premiered a giant piece of rock called ‘The Black Cone, Monument To Civil Disobedience’ in front Iceland's parliament this January. Sierra cracked the rock with a black cone, which “alludes to black cone-shaped hats that condemned persons were forced to wear for humiliation during the Inquisition in the 12th century,” according to a press release.

The Decisive Moment

Ari Sigvaldason has the relaxed, unhurried sense about him of someone who decides his own working hours. As the owner of Fótógrafí—the only fine photography gallery of its kind in downtown Reykjavík—Ari is in the relatively rare position of making a living, for the most part, off his art.

Fashion Inspired By Art Brut And '60s New Wave Films

Sævar Markús Óskarsson’s first line, a small collection of silk accessories inspired by Romanian folklore, sold out in a fortnight. Now he’s getting ready to debut his men’s and women's wear collections this fall.

Bastard Love

We are not entirely lost to ourselves. Our gaping wounds and ghastly inadequacies do not escape us, though in the untrained eyes of others the possibility of inscrutability remains—at least for a time.

Bastard Love

We are not entirely lost to ourselves. Our gaping wounds and ghastly inadequacies do not escape us, though in the untrained eyes of others the possibility of inscrutability remains—at least for a time.

Unique Sustainable Fashion

When you walk up Skólavörðustígur you might notice a little shop at 17a. It bears the name of its owner, designer Jet Korine, who makes a conscious effort to leave the smallest possible imprint on the world through her design.

Icelandic Comedy Gets Existential

The Icelandic self-image has changed dramatically since the crash. Before October 2008, Icelanders could attribute their keen business acumen to their Viking heritage (or so the President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson liked to say), and anyone who expressed doubts was just jealous.

The Political Becomes Personal

An unspoken rule of the Skjaldborg Documentary Film Festival in Patreksfjörður is: What happens at Skjaldborg stays at Skjaldborg.


The International Conference On Art And Translation, held from the May 24 to 26 at the Nordic House, turned out to contain a fine selection of carefully picked topics and artists from around the world.

From The US Army to Army of Me

The US Naval Air Station in Keflavík, which operated for 55 years before closing in 2006, has cast a long shadow over Icelandic culture. Before the advent of Icelandic media other than state-sponsored radio, American Armed Forces Radio and Television was the country’s main window into the wider world of pop culture.

Dinosaur Skin And Green Hair

Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir is the brain behind the label EYGLO, which she started in 2006 after graduation from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.


Tickle Against the Machine

On an international scale, Erna Ómarsdóttir is undoubtedly Iceland’s best-known contemporary dancer.


Hooray For Boobies!

Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl is surely one of Iceland’s finest authors/experimental poets/literary translators.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Ever had one of those Sundays when you feel wiped out and you’re not sure whether to go to an AA meeting or take in a movie?


Icelandic Outlaws Get The Bollywood Treatment

A story set in eighteenth century Iceland, based on a classic play about a romance between outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur (“Eyvindur of the mountains”) and rich widow Halla, which is based on real-life events, may become the first Icelandic Bollywood movie. That is, it will feature Indian actors and Hindi dialogue, singing and dancing.

Digital Attacks in Reykjavík

Equipped with a computer, Siggeir Magnús Hafsteinsson began his career as a graphic designer fifteen years ago.


Capturing The World

Some works of art take longer to finish than others. And some are perhaps never finished. Hreinn Friðfinnsson's House Project is a case in point.


Skjaldborg VI

“It was deep into the night and silence was descending, but then Huldar Breiðfjörð [Icelandic novelist and filmmaker] says: ‘He has started the show.’ And we all turn around and see that the sun is coming up again.”


Watch Out, Duck!

“Why is she wearing a duck costume?” Who hasn’t heard this question thrown out there at least once in their lifetime?


Interdependent People

In a country where the most treasured work of literature is a novel called ‘Independent People’ and centres on a man obsessed with self-sufficiency, it is pretty daring to present a show called ‘(I)ndependent People,’ and have it be about the opposite of independence.

Icelandic Yoga, Al Fresco Style, With Gooseflesh

‘The Icelandic Naked Yoga Project’ is a simple enough idea. A book of pictures of naked people in yoga poses with the Icelandic landscape as a backdrop.

From Kosovo To Cannes (Via Reykjavík)

In a small country like Iceland even the successful artists are often struggling ones, so there's always a decent chance the person serving you coffee is a part-time musician, a struggling poet or an aspiring filmmaker.

It’s A Bit Like Blood On White Snow

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, who began her writing career in children’s fiction, wrote her first crime fiction novel in 2005. She has since then become one of Iceland’s best-selling contemporary authors and is now working on her eighth crime novel.


It’s A Bit Like Blood On White Snow

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, who began her writing career in children’s fiction, wrote her first crime fiction novel in 2005. She has since then become one of Iceland’s best-selling contemporary authors and is now working on her eighth crime novel.


From Danish Tributes To Icelandic Contemporary Dance Films

Lea Glob’s ‘Meeting My Father Kasper Tophat’ was the first shown in this eclectic mix of shorts and documentaries from the Nordic countries.

What's So Great About Nordic Crime Fiction?

About a dozen years ago, a groundswell of interest in Nordic crime fiction began to gradually grow with appearance of Peter Høeg’s intriguing tale of ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow’.

What's So Great About Nordic Crime Fiction?

About a dozen years ago, a groundswell of interest in Nordic crime fiction began to gradually grow with appearance of Peter Høeg’s intriguing tale of ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow’.

Mudbricks In The Desert

"I worked with eight local men, who understandably were all a little sceptical of the project in the beginning. I speak a little French, and so do they, but we obviously also had to invent another way of communicating."

Down and Out in Paris

Loosely based on an eponymous book by author Douglas Kennedy, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Polish-French production ‘The Woman In The Fifth’ stars Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas. Ethan Hawke, who is famous for roles in movies such as ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Fast Food Nation’, plays troubled American writer Tom Ricks who goes back to Paris to see his family.

Run For Your Life!

Documentaries are certainly not easy to make. They can be overly long, biased or downright boring. ‘Town of Runners,’ a documentary by Jerry Rothwell about Bekoji, a ‘running town’ in Ethiopia, is anything but this.


Is 'Black's Game' A Realistic Depiction?

Set in late ‘90s Reykjavík, blockbuster ‘Black’s Game’ purports to shed a light on a lesser-known side of innocent ol’ Iceland, one where criminals, drug dealers and violent berserkers run amok.

Reykjavík Shorts&Docs Festival: Bigger, Better, More International!

Noted cultural event Reykjavík Shorts&Docs celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

Hello, Kitty!

Sometime in early 2007, a fabulous group of women were gathered in a living room along with their finest costumes and a pile of glow strips for a night of fun in front of the camera.


Designing With Some Heart

With Reykjavík Fashion Festival just behind us, we decided to track down one of the most recent additions to the Icelandic fashion scene: Hilda Gunnarsdóttir.


Go To Bió Paradís

Bíó Paradís is a welcome oasis in that barren wasteland of American teenflicks that is the Icelandic cinema scene.


The Skinny On Reykjavík’s Fashion Fest

Reykjavík’s third annual Fashion Festival was more ambitious than ever. The two-day event, which took place at Harpa, was truly a fashion feast.


You’re Just Too Krútt To Be True

As far as old clichés go, ‘better late than never’ is one of the easiest to doubt.


101 Reykjavík Was Written About A More Innocent Place

Writer/artist Hallgrímur Helgason should be familiar to most of our readers, not the least for his 1996 novel ‘101 Reykjavík’.

101 Reykjavík Was Written About A More Innocent Place

Writer/artist Hallgrímur Helgason should be familiar to most of our readers, not the least for his 1996 novel ‘101 Reykjavík’.

Fashion Is A Growing Trade

With DesignMarch and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival on the calendar, spring is for sure an exciting time for Iceland’s fashion designers and enthusiasts.


A Four-Day Explosion Of Fashion Design And Music

The third Reykjavík Fashion Festival (RFF) takes place March 29 to April 1 at Harpa and Gamla Bíó.

What It Feels Like

What is the condition of being a teenage girl in Iceland today?


An Elegant Twist

Steinunn Sigurðardóttir is a woman who takes care in the details.

Designing An Experience

HAF is displaying The Wheel of Nutrition at DesignMarch.

Where Is Icelandic Design Today?

The Iceland Design Centre was founded in the spring of 2008, just three months before the financial crash.

I’ll Buy You A BMW If You Tell Me I Am Worth It

What does it say about a film festival that puts emphasis on reflecting on the Arab Spring, yet prominently features advertisements from their main sponsors, L’Oreal and BWM, on the V.I.P. red carpet?

Icelandic Shorts: A Very Short Introduction

The big winner at this year's Edda Awards (the Icelandic equivalent to the Oscars) was Rúnar Rúnarsson's film, ‘Volcano.’

How To Manage A Conservation Conversation

In a room—a small room, a bedroom—live three-hundred-thousand people with their pets and plants.

Frontiers of Another Nature

Celina Lunsford came to Iceland last month for the release of the book ‘Frontiers of Another Nature: Pictures from Iceland’ (‘Ný náttúra: Myndir frá Íslandi’).

Work Is Humiliation

Spanish artist Santiago Sierra brings with him a giant NO to Reykjavík.

“Carlos & Brandi 2” In The Editing Room

This past fall Icelander Ragnhildur Magnúsdóttir Thordarson and her brother Peter Gutter launched their debut project “Carlos & Brandi” under their production crew, Icelandic Poniez.

What Do Icelanders Wish For In 2012?

French expatriate Eric Eymard moved to Iceland several years ago and has been diligently blogging about his daily life for a French audience.

Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson Under Deconstruction

Under Deconstruction will be on exhibit at the National Gallery of Iceland until February 19.

Problems In The Eurozone

One of the challenges of covering a film festival is finding a unifying theme.

Alliance Francaise’s French Movie Festival

During these more depressing months of the year, the cultural institute Alliance Francaise Islande brightens our existence with this brilliant film festival.

Reflecting Reality

If life gives you oranges, then make orange soda, the first dance work of December says to me

Embrace The Crazy

When we last spoke to artist Ragnar Kjartansson in the spring of 2009, he was on his way to represent Iceland at the 53rd edition of The Venice Biennale

Doubt By Two

 IPA Gallery/Íslensk Grafík
January 7 - January 15 2012

A Tiny Piece Of Freedom

Mazen Maarouf—who has lived all his life as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon—was recently granted sanctuary in Reykjavík through the International Cities of Refuge Network, or ICORN, which offers to relocate persecuted writers to a safe city elsewhere in the world

A Tiny Piece Of Freedom

Mazen Maarouf—who has lived all his life as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon—was recently granted sanctuary in Reykjavík through the International Cities of Refuge Network, or ICORN, which offers to relocate persecuted writers to a safe city elsewhere in the world

Casting A Light On The Artist

Few documents bring a nation’s history and lost beauty more vividly and nostalgically to life than a photograph

New Renaissance

The doors of Austurstræti 3 will open at 17:00 on the dot for art lovers to view the work of Nikhil Kirsh

Voodoo Economics

Most bibliophiles have bookstores that mean a great deal to them, places where they have spent hundreds, thousands of hours.


Media labs have been around for about a quarter-century, the most famous being the original one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have yet to fully enter the mass consciousness, but media labs have sprouted all over the world.

Iceland As It Should Be

“Is he Swiss?” asks a person in the back row. “No, I think he‘s Estonian,” replies another.

Diving Into Metamorphosis

The exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ by fashion designer Hildur Björk Yeoman and photographer Saga Sig has been described as blurring the boundaries of fashion and art.


A Message In The Garden

A garden doesn’t have to be simply a place for planting and collecting potatoes or relaxing on a bench.

DesignMarch 2012 Dates Announced!

Mark your calendars! The annual DesignMarch festival, which showcases Icelandic designers, upcoming talent and internationally lauded veterans in the field of design, has been announced for March 22 – 25, 2012.


You Are In Control is an annual gathering in Reykjavík that brings together key figures from the Icelandic and international creative industries.

The Clay Of The World

Amnesty International has been fighting for human rights for half a century now, and part of the organisation’s birthday celebration is a film festival in Bíó Paradís titled ‘(In)visible.’

A _____ Odyssey

Far, far away from home, Odysseus finds his ship wandering towards a smoky bay in Iceland.

Lots Of Pixels

There's a short film programme in town. It's a good idea: Couch fest films is an initiative that lines up with film festivals around the world in order to screen a selection of recent short films in people's 'cosy residential venues.'

A Twilight Portrait Of This Year´s RIFF

For me, the last two weeks of September were all about RIFF.

A Gathering of Dances

In Iceland, seeing the arts requires going to festivals. It's a mode I'm still getting used to, and I'll admit to a lingering attachment to being able to imbibe slowly, one performance a week.

More At Stake

Rúnar Rúnarsson is a young Icelandic director who became somewhat of a starlet when he was nominated for an Oscar for his short film ‘Síðasti bærinn’ (“The Last Farm”) in 2006, before even entering the Danish Film School whence he has now graduated. 

Lights, Streaming, Action!

Our current digital environment has permanently altered the way most people purchase, rent and view movies, and also how they’re distributed (see: Netflix, Pirate Bay). However, this ‘digital revolution’ has mostly left the Icelandic film industry untouched, with nary a legal option on offer for streaming and downloading enthusiasts.

Pushing A9ainst

‘Ge9n’ (“A9ainst”) surveys many pressing and intertwined social, economic, and environmental concerns needing in-depth and interdisciplinary re-evaluation now. Yes, now.

El Bulli: Cooking In Progress

It starts with a fella chomping on a fluorescent fish in the dark, light pouring out of his mouth. Unfazed, his first words are "what protein is this?"   

Doug Stanhope Is Going To Prison

Doug Stanhope is well-known for his irreverent and socially critical style of comedy. He is also visiting Iceland soon, specifically to perform at the Litla-Hraun prison on September 25. We got in touch with him to learn more about the man and how he got this idea.

The Bounty Hunter Morgan Spurlock

Filmmaker, humorist, television producer, screenwriter, bounty hunter* and journalist Spurlock is best known for the documentary film ‘Super Size Me’ and the reality TV series ‘30 Days.’

An Overcrowded Festival

A couple of weeks ago both Icelandic daily newspapers published a very similar headline about the Reykjavik International Film Festival: “Over a hundred films at RIFF!” the headlines screamed—and you got the feeling everybody felt it was a good thing.

From Venice to Reykjavik

"Social disease and a new energy coming from a new generation is quite visible in the films I've seen, but cinema continues to be have a avant-garde view of the new society we'll have to face..." says Girgio Gosetti when asked about the way films have changed along with a changed world.


‘Transeuropa’ is a young European theatre and performance festival in Hildesheim, Germany. For its seventh edition, transeuropa made Iceland one of its partner countries.

It Is What It Is And It Is It

A veteran Hollywood character actor and established cult figure, Crispin Hellion Glover is an obsession to some and an enigma to all. Having built a career on small roles in big movies, such as his unforgettable part as George McFly in ‘Back To The Future’, Crispin has used his blockbuster earnings to fund a cavalcade of independent projects.

A Film Festival In Strangers' Houses in Reykjavík!

Hey! We are Couch Fest Films. We are an international short film festival that happens in strangers' houses on September 24. For 2011, we are giddy to be here in Iceland collaborating with the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

Famous Authors And Absent Authors

The year 2011 is a big one for Icelandic literature. In October, the country will be the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Reykjavík has just been named UNESCO's fifth official ‘City of Literature.’

Bigger, Better, Still DIY!

Nine years ago, a group of six dancers and choreographers searching for a platform to show their work brought the Reykjavík Dance Festival into being. Since then, the festival has taken on incarnations.

Famous Authors And Absent Authors

The year 2011 is a big one for Icelandic literature. In October, the country will be the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Reykjavík has just been named UNESCO's fifth official ‘City of Literature.’

Reykjavík Is Dancing!

Attention dance aficionados, there are some exciting festivals on the horizon. Not only are “Me and My Friends” doing a special English performance of “Be My Guest” at the LÓKAL Theatre Festival on September 3, but the Reykjavík Dance Festival is also putting on its ninth annual event with a series of exciting short films and video installations from September 5 to 11.

World Wide Friends Free Food Flash Film Festival

Reykjavik’s FREE food and film viewing festival starts today and runs until September 2. The World Wide Friends organization is presenting intriguing, imaginative films that reflect themes such as city life, animation, social documentaries, horror, and Icelandic short films.

Dedicated To Obscurity

Last year, the promotional poster for the Reykjavík Dance Festival featured a late-twenties dancer wearing shorts and a flesh-coloured bra standing with her back against a wall, one-foot and chin up, staring aggressively at the viewer.

How you can take a piece of Iceland home with you?

In my opinion, the pleasure of receiving presents has somewhat diminished by the time you reach your 30th birthday, but this gift was different. It had been chosen with care and thoughtfulness.

Icelandic Checkmate?

In 1831, an ancient set of chess pieces was found in the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland. The most amazing fact about these chessmen—made of walrus ivory and whale teeth—is that they were the oldest figures showing a clear resemblance to modern pieces.



Artist Claus Sterneck from Frankfurt, Germany feels a spiritual connection to the old herring factory in Djúpavík, saying: “It may sound a bit strange, but I feel that maybe I was a herring which was processed in this old herring factory.”

Breaking My Spell

Michelle L. Morby has come all the way from San Francisco to Reykjavík to participate in the Reykjavík half marathon on August 20. Not planning to set any records, Michelle is here to do a performance endurance piece called ‘Breaking My Spell,” involving nine costume changes. It’s based on a fairy tale she wrote about an enchanted horse-turned-walrus going on a transformational journey to find itself.

A Symbol Of Hope

It's not every morning that an artist wakes up and decides, “You know what would be great? Doing portraits of government appointees.” But artist Nikhil Kirsh did exactly that, predominantly for ideological reasons.

Reykjavík Runway

Reykjavík Runway, Iceland’s first fashion consultancy, has provided a fantastic design competition with a twist: where a group of PR and marketing mentors have come together to nurture the nation’s young talents.

Two Hours To See The Unseen

Coinciding with Cultural Night, The Nordic House hosts the amazing artistic experience 'Unseen & Unheard'.

High Streets And Piss Pots

Before the authorities plugged them up in 2006, there used to be underground, public toilets on the corner of Bankastræti and Lækjargata. In his most recent book, Einar Már Guðmundsson recounts how the toilets were once the hub of Reykjavík’s seedy area, where boozers and drug users mingled and where teenagers procured condoms.

Do You Read Me?

Everyday, we face a constant interaction with our internal and external environments that requires of us one hyperawesome skill: LITER-ACY.

The Brain Behind Zombie Iceland

Journalist, writer, and survivalist Nanna Árnadóttir has just published her first book, called ‘Zombie Iceland.’ As you may have gleaned from the title, it’s a book about zombies in Iceland!

The Brain Behind Zombie Iceland

Journalist, writer, and survivalist Nanna Árnadóttir has just published her first book, called ‘Zombie Iceland.’ As you may have gleaned from the title, it’s a book about zombies in Iceland!

Young Hearts

This July 10 to 17 marked the 11-year anniversary of the LungA young artists’ festival in the far-eastern town of Seyðis-fjörður.

When Ireland Met Iceland

Galway City, Ireland. As I make my way through its winding streets on a characteristically dull, damp day, I find the stubborn voice of my former university lecturer ringing in my ears.

Can We Capture Iceland?

Reverend John, who will not leave his land and becomes the prisoner of his own loneliness and depression, is he Iceland? Old men, reminiscing about an old sports field, are they Iceland? The Reykjavík 9, accused of attacking the powers that be, are they Iceland?


Future Shorts ONE has come to Reykjavík and wants to kick up a storm in the world of performance, art, cinema and nights out with the people of this city. It aims to be a monthly film event with a difference. Read on to learn more.

Art Project On The Road To Mongolia

The art collaborative Mud Lab, consisting of the three Icelandic artists, Egill Karlsson, Gunnar Pétursson and Thor Sigurthorsson, will be embarking on a fantastical journey to Mongolia in the end of July… and yes it is a journey via car, not plane!

An Offer You Shouldn’t Refuse

Located on the outskirts of Iceland, the Westfjords’ lighthouse Galtarviti has inspired Icelandic musicians, artists and writers for years.

All Is Not As It Seems With Elías Knörr

When you stumble across someone creating fresh stirrings in a literary culture that’s already on a constant creative simmer, they must be doing something worth noticing.

Moving Mountains: Iceland’s Landscape Travelling Through Time

First-time filmmaker Svavar Jónatansson rode his motorcycle around Iceland in 2004. Awe-inspired by the landscape, he began photographing the scenery on his lone journey.

Æringur Art Festival

Æringur, the international art festival will take place in Bolungarvík this year.

Windows Of Opportunity

The long and winding road of Hverfisgata’s cultural reformation got another boost recently with the opening of the studio and exhibition space Black Window.

Skjaldborg: A Very Short Introduction

Grapevine pays a visit to the infamous Skjaldborg documentary film festival in Patreksfjörður. Fun times ensue! 

Dance At The Arts Festival

Last fall, Alexander Roberts described the Reykjavík dance scene and its potential in glowing terms in these pages. Pointing to talented Icelandic dance makers, an expanded number of dance events in the coming months, and plans for a city-funded theatre devoted solely to dance…well, the future shone.

Building Momentum In Moss

The sixth-annual Nordic Biennial is coming up on June 18 in Moss, Norway. But don’t worry if you can’t be there. The theme, ‘Imagine Being Here Now’, stretches time as far as it will go.

Enter The Monsters Club...

Modern society and culture often promote the idea that human monsters are twinkle-eyed, almost supernatural geniuses, affably quoting Wilde and Nietzsche while disembowelling people in the most convoluted way imaginable.

Venice Biennale

At this very moment, celebrated Spanish-Icelandic artist duo Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson are representing Iceland at the 54th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia 2011.

Making an alternative art fair in Iceland

MESSA Teaser is a small-scale ‘teaser event’ in preparation for the first international visual art fair to be held in Iceland. 

Taming The Animal

Reykjavík to New York transplant Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, or Shoplifter as she’s known outside of Iceland, has been making quite a dent in recent years with her designs, including a huge window display in New York’s Museum Of Modern Art.

The Koddu Controversy

Sicily 212 BCE. General Marcellus sends a soldier to find the mathematician Archimedes and bring him to his court, out of sheer curiosity.

Give A Hand For The Klapp Collective

A new grassroots start-up is giving the Icelandic film stars of tomorrow a place to shine.

Iceland Academy of the Arts Graduation Exhibition

Students from the art, design and architecture departments of the Iceland Academy of the Arts will display the culmination of their work of three years this weekend in the exhibition at the Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhús.


The local literary scene is now in the throes of the Nordic crime novel. Admittedly the ancient Icelandic sagas tell tales of murder, blood and revenge, but it was long thought that it was impossible to write crime fiction set in such a small, peaceful society.

A Censored Exhibit Opens Afresh

Last November, a trio of Icelandic artists were going to put on an exhibition about Iceland’s economic crash.

Mapping Out ‘Overkill’

Mundi (Guðmundur Hallgrímsson) and Morri (Friðrik Sigurðarson) started working together in 2006, when they met at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.


The Art Of Death

Death. It is something we must all face someday, and yet we seldom want to think about. Magnús Pálsson’s exhibit, ‘Dialogues on Death’ is meant to encourage viewers to face mortality with an open mind.

German Film Days Are Here!

Iceland’s first ever German movie festival, ‘German Film Days’, commenced at Bíó Paradís last Thursday, and will go on until March 27. To get the skinny on what to expect, we called up Annika Große—DAAD Lecturer in German at the University of Iceland—who organised the event along with Bíó Paradís and the Goethe Institute.

Ich Bin Der Püppenmeister

At the end of this fabulous month, Borgarnes, the capital of vast, sprawling Gunnars donut empire, will be host to the first annual Borgarnes International Puppet Festival.

On The Urgent Necessity Of Banning Poets

Plato, in The Republic, wished to ban all poets. He felt their work was neither ethical, philosophical nor pragmatic—that poetry kindled undesired emotions, wreaked havoc upon true knowledge and was furthermore useless.

Sequences Art Festival Is Back

Sequences 2011 will present a wide array of performances, events, discussions and lectures throughout Reykjavík and Seyðisfjöður, east Iceland.

‘Future of Hope’ Returns To Iceland

 When filmmaker Henry Bateman set out to create a film about Iceland’s economy, he had little knowledge of Iceland at all.

The Merchandise Of Venice

. For the three months leading up to this year’s International Art Exhibition in Venice, the Reykjavík Art Museum will be offering a unique retrospective on Iceland’s contributions to the Venice Biennale throughout the years.

Constitution, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma

Iceland’s constitution has, of late, become something of an apple of discord.

The Art Of Any Impact

The most important thing to keep in mind during a fistfight (or while writing a poem) isn't what to do with your arms and knuckles, but where to place your feet.

Where To, Folks?

Our desire to travel and the nature of our relationship with the places that we go to see is the topic of an international art exhibition, conference and publication entitled ‘Without Destination’ at Reykjavík Art Museum’s Hafnarhús.

The Long & Short Of It

For the tenth year running, Reykjavík Shorts & Docs will, in the last four days of January, bring you a wide variety of Scandinavian grassroots filmmaking.

The Long & Short Of It

For the tenth year running, Reykjavík Shorts & Docs will, in the last four days of January, bring you a wide variety of Scandinavian grassroots filmmaking.

The Good, The Bad, And The Disqualified

The decade has ended and it was a great one for Icelandic filmmaking. More people are making movies and becoming better at making them. Choosing the five best films of 2001-2011 was everything but easy.

Kitty Von Sometime Plans To Strike Again!

Kitty Von Sometime, the concept artist behind The Weird Girls Project, has ambitious plans for the coming year.

Je Suis Un Cerf Cardiaque French Film Festival

Háskólabíó’s annual winter tradition of showing us the latest of France and (French-speaking) Canada’s worthy contributions to cinema continues this month...

Future Perfect Tense

We contacted a bunch of our most beloved local authors and asked them to write short short stories for us with, on the 'Iceland and the next decade'. Their mission, should they accept it, was to consider: "what's in store for our island?"

The Gates

– Clubs and bars in Iceland have always been run by members of the Progressive party.
– Dad!
– Listen, this is important. Your mother thinks you're too young, but it is important that I tell you about these things early enough. About management. You will not learn this at school.


The perfect gift was a personal one, Aldís believed, but not too personal. A gift that showed the giver knew something about the receiver’s tastes while at the same time providing an unexpected addition; something that would expand his world. A luxury item, but in a price range that would not betray any ulterior motive.

The Falling Man

William, a small man of great inner proportions, fell through the thin air. He had stopped screaming. He had stopped trying to avoid the inevitable. The green ground beneath him grew ever bigger as window after window passed him with rapid speed. Soon he would crash and die. Soon his life would be over.

MoMS at Gallery Kling & Bang

‘Penetration/Innsetning/Installation’ is the latest realization by MoMS, a group of four young male artists who have been working together since 2007 and have been incredibly prolific despite their young age.

Ten Short New Year’s Speeches Into The Future:

00.00 01.01. 2011
I’ll probably be in the taxi once The New Year arrives, it never comes as was planned for. From the edge of the city you can hear the noise from fireworks, but you just see them vanish up into reddish clouds.

Winds in Garður

What a coincidence! Last month, the Grapevine gave a few tips on how to catch sight of the Northern lights, and this month the nearby town of Garður is hosting an international art festival dedicated to the elusive green glow.

May Oral Gnarr Annualise?

Municipal decree stardate 01012021-001 -- January 1st, 2021. State anarchosurreo- separatist municipality of central Laugavegur and the united TGIFs of the greater eurafrican kingdom.

The Decade Of Fine Arts

I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to write for Reykjavík Grapevine. Not only because I am a great fan of rock and roll (and pop) music, but also because I value foreigners.

Visible Darkness

 Art Exhibition at Hugmyndahúsið worth a walk in the cold.

The Icelandic Yule

This Sunday, Terry Gunnell will hold an illustrated lecture in English about the ghosts of Christmas past.

Time Travelling in Iceland

The Reykjavík Museum of Photography has recently launched a new website that allows you to view some of its specimens without having to forsake the comfort of your home.

Kinoklúbbur Film Club Presents

The films of Leighton Pierce and Tom Palazzolo

This Is Your Brain On Crack Cocaine

Each year, for about eight weeks, Icelandic book culture loses its cool and turns into a crazed media circus.

A Novel, A Translation and Unapologetic Plagiarisms

Who’s not afraid of the big bad wolf of plagiarism? The poet and central character in Bragi Ólafsson’s second novel to come out in English, ‘The Ambassador’, that’s who.

A Meeting of Iceland's hottest bands

Árni Sveinsson's film 'Backyard' makes Iceland's music scene feel like a big happy family.

So Is The Wasteland

Oh, alright, I’ll admit it: I don’t understand most poetry. It baffles me.

More Than Meets the Eye

The current exhibition at Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús, ‘Power has a Fragrance’, is by the New York and Tokyo based Norwegian-born artist, Gardar Eide Einarsson.

Transaquania: A Breath of Fresh Air

Breath. What is not seen? What is taken for granted? What is repressed? What, through years of neglect, vanishes as its protest?

Suit and Tie


2011 Sequences Art Festival: Call for Submissions!

SEQUENCES Art Festival is an annual independently run festival, established in Reykjavík in 2006 by four artist-run galleries.

Turning Wool Into Gold

A decade ago Icelandic knits were dismissed by Icelanders, who deemed anything connected to traditional sheep wool as something only their grandmothers were interested in.

antennae scratch sky by Þórunn Erla Valdimarsdóttir

Divided into sections (‘Intro’, ‘Death and Life’, ‘Cosmic Dreams’, ‘Day to Day’) with colour-coded titles, ‘antennae scratch sky’ touches on life cycles, animal instincts, sexuality, cosmos, fruit and the meaning of the word “motherfucker”.

'The Four Times'

It is in every film critic's unwritten code of honour not to give away the entire movie in their review. I unfortunately have to break this golden rule to explain why the jury made the right decision.

This Was The Real Iceland

It is a little difficult to decide which of two ways to describe Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon's new book ‘Wasteland With Words’.

We Are Never Ready

 We caught up with Erna Ómarsdóttir, Gabríela Friðrikdóttir and Damien Jalet as they were rehearsing their new piece ‘Transaquania – Into Thin Air’ and asked them all about it.

RIFF 2010 For Dummies

So you missed the Reykjavík International Film Festival this year but you want to pretend you were there to impress your friends?

Future Perfect Poetry

When this text is eventually published the world will know who received the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.


Conceptual artist, performer, musician, experimental filmmaker, peace activist, businesswoman and philanthropist,Yoko Ono is still overshadowed by the role she is most known for: being the widow of musician John Lennon and the accompanying hard-to-shake-off clichés about ‘splitting up the Beatles’.

Fake Orgasms

One night at RIFF I went to a Fake Orgasm Contest, an off-venue event, where girls (and a couple of guys) moaned at their best.

Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s first work in English translation, ‘Heaven and Hell’ (‘Himnaríki og helvíti’, Bjartur, October 2007), was released on September 2 by MacLehose Press (an imprint of Quercus).

Reykjavík Is Dancing

For several years now, Iceland has been building an international reputation for producing a rich and diverse range of independent dance makers.

Jim Jarmusch on...

“I'm not an analytical person and I don't really analyse what my films mean or what their intention is. I'm intuitive,” says Jim Jarmusch, icon of independent filmmaking.

It's My Responsibility To Focus on Unknown Bands

Parisian filmmaker Mathieu Saura, better known as Vincent Moon, catapulted to fame after shooting The Arcade Fire playing in an elevator, resulting in collaborations with artists such REM, Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Rós.

Cinema Paradiso

A few left over champagne glasses on the counter are the sole evidence of the previous night’s big opening party for Bíó Paradís.

Porn Is Film Also

When I think about cinema, movies and film festivals, porn isn't the first thought that comes to mind.

Some Like It Cold

It sounded like so much fun: watching a classic movie while splashing about in Sundhöllin, Reykjavík’s oldest swimming pool.

New Visions

Twelve up-and-coming directors will present their first or second films in the ‘New Visions’ category at The Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), one of which will go home with the festival’s Golden Puffin Award.

The Seven-Year Itch?

This year, from September 23rd to October 3rd, the Reykjavík International Film Festival will be held for the seventh time.

Making Perfect Sense

Poetry is the art of the illogical, or even anti-intellectual, performed with the tools of logic and intellectual zealotry: language.

Cinephiles Rejoice

Summer is nice and all, with all its sunshine and what not. But there is something missing. Films in particular.

When Is Enough Enough?

That’s the burning question in The Future of Hope, a new film about life in post-crash Iceland produced and directed by British filmmakers, Heather Millard and Henry Bateman.

Grand Theft Literature

As the Icelandic lit scene gears up to shine as the guests of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 12–16, 2011, Ingi Björn Guðnason, a writer who spends his days working at the Western fjords University, is co-editing, a new literary site to get the alternative literary scene noticed.

Experimentalism is a Humanism

A few days ago (the rather awful) writer’s magazine Writer’s Digest tweeted the following: “Free short story competition to raise awareness for those suffering from depression”.

Book Review: 25 Beautiful Walks Walking Trails of the Greater Reykjavik Area

With author Reynir Ingibjartsson’s interest in his subject and sense of humour coming through every entry, 25 Beautiful Walks is a nature-walk-lover’s ode to Reykjavík.


Georg Bjarnfreðarson is a fucked up, middle aged lunatic. And he’s in prison for murdering a woman.

Beyond The Boom-And-Bust

Finding the silver lining around the  collapse of Iceland’s economy can seem like a daunting task.


Alarm clock rings. Press the snooze button (but accidentally turn off alarm). Alarm clock doesn’t ring. Wake up twenty minutes late.

There´s A New Screen In Town

So far poetry has proved far more adaptable to a higher-and-higher high-tech world than prose fiction, which clings to the book as if the only thing justifying its existence were the bar-code and ISBN-number (not to mention the price-tag).

Artists At Work // The Icelandic Love Corporation

“How life evolves, how human life is created and how children are born. Where we come from, and where we are going.

Reading The Eddas (With Google Translate)

Living abroad I regularly get asked about this miraculous language I speak—Icelandic—and if it’s true that we make new words for everything under the sun and can read the 13th century Eddas as easily as if we were drinking ice-cold mead in the midnight sun.

Vikings in America

By now we all know that Scandinavian settlers reached Greenland in the late 900s and built settlements there that endured for more than four hundred years.

fArt Is In the Air...

Reykjavík’s one and only performance art festival, artFart, is happening again this summer!

Empty Pockets, Full Imagination

Every summer for the past six years, Reykjavík’s local youth centre, Hitt Húsið, has offered support and assistance for art groups around the city.

Hrafnkell Sigurðsson

“I have always been extremely interested in the surface of things,” artist Hrafnkell Sigurðsson tells us.

Gung Ho

Hot-shot Chinese businessman, millionaire poet and patron-of-the-arts, Huang Nubo, recently decided to start a fund to promote the cultural relations between Iceland and China, inventively named “The China Iceland Cultural Fund.”

Living Inside The Meltdown

Here is a short book, available only in electronic format, which presents eight interviews with ten people who tell their story of Iceland's economic collapse.

Used Books Are The Best Books

Bókin, or Bókabúð Braga as it is often called by locals, is quite easy to spot when walking down Hverfisgata.


Mystery Art In Nowhereland

We are sitting in a pile of hay in Vogar, near Keflavík, drinking wine and watching hipsters lying about in the evening sun.

artFart Farts On

We know that something brilliant is about to happen in this city: artFart.

Cotery Poelumn: Pwoermds

It’s a poetic mouthful—a hard-to-perform sound poem in its own right—“pwoermd”.

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir

This is how Gabríela Friðriksdóttir responds when we ask her what she’s thinking about and investigating in her art these days.

Can You Read This?

English is the world’s lingua franca (although isn’t it ironic we use a foreign term to describe it?).

Inscribed Round The Rectum Of A Hollywood Superstar

The Kindle, the iPad, the Nook, the Cybook Opus, the Sony Reader, the iLiad—and now: Megan Fox’s right flank.

24-Hour Arty People

“Our original idea was that we needed one platform for different kinds of art. In Iceland we have a lot of festivals for film, art and music but nothing that has everything under one roof,” explains Hildur Maral Hamíðsdóttir, one of the organisers of the brand new Jónsvaka festival.

The Cult of 101

Now translated into over 14 languages, Hallgrímur Helgason’s novel ‘101 Reykjavík’ literally transformed the traditionally held view of Iceland as an untouched Eden into one of party excess.

The Year of the Ox

The Lord had his heart set on destroying first Iceland, then the world, in punishment for man’s ignorance and greed. The four guardian spirits of Iceland had but a moment to convince the mad Creator that both were worth saving.

Get Ready For Horrible Cuteness!

Are you excited about Loops 2010 yet? You should be! It’s only the most exciting thing to happen to Reykjavík all summer long.

Haraldur Jónsson

“I have been exploring the space between the senses,” artist Haraldur Jónsson says when asked what his current work is focused on. He is without doubt one of Grapevine’s favourite local artists; elusive, divisive, thoughtful and interrogative, Haraldur’s body of work of exemplifies a certain type of playful curiosity mixed with immense ambition and skill.

The Essence Of Iceland

There is certainly no lack for photographic coffee table books in the spectrum of Icelandic publications. Generally aimed at tourists and Icelandophile types, these books tend to show the usual suspects: majestic shots of glaciers, aurora borealis, Jökulsárlón and waterfalls.

The Icelandic Poetry Community

A reader recently asked, by way of my editor, that I share a few words on the Icelandic poetry community. My first response was a long-winded, athletic “boooooooring” while I rolled my eyes and pretended to gag. 

Breaking Into The Mainstream

Outside of the Sagas and Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness there is little known about Icelandic literature in the English-language literary world.

Melting Iceland Since 2005

To celebrate the five-year anniversary of me up and moving my ceramics workshop to Iceland from Ireland, I am curating a retrospective of some of my favourite pieces

Four Spirits

The Lord thought of Pompeii, and wondered why he had let it go at that. In no longer a time than it took to imagine it, he was transported to Italy. He walked around in the shadow of Vesuvius, among the ruins of the ancient city. Its inhabitants were long gone, but their thoughts could still be heard, scribbled here and there among the remnants of their world.

Art Love-In

In July, the art world will come to Reykjavík, and some musicians too. Commercial galleries from all over Europe are uprooting their shows and transplanting them around the city. The event, Villa Reykjavík, will be free to the public from July 9 to 31.

Ghosts Of Pompeii

The Lord thought about Pompeii and wondered why he did not do this more often.

Mad Skills

Recently I read on the news that a man, one Kenny Strasser, had successively duped the producers of numerous TV-programmes into putting him on the air on the premise that he was a master in the art of the yo-yo. When put on the air, however, Kenny got found out: He had no yo-yo skills.

Art In Translation

From May 27 to 29th, around sixty people from twenty-one countries (eruptions permitting) will gather at the Nordic House and the University of Iceland to talk about art, language, globalisation, and…Jerry Seinfeld. What should he sound like dubbed in Norwegian?

Let the Farting Commence!

The good people behind the artFart festival will be writing us occasionally this summer, giving a sneak preview this year’s programme and some insight into the inner-workings of producing an independent arts festival in Iceland.

Barbara Ehrenreich Is Coming!

American New York Times columnist and best-selling author, essayist, feminist, and activist Barbara Ehrenreich will be the keynote speaker at the Icelandic Networking Conference, which will be held May 27-29 at Bifröst University.

Left, Right And Centre

One of the greatest conservative projects in poetry is called New Formalism. In short, it supports the return to rhymed metrical verse and classical themes.

Let There Be Art!

Although it may at times seem as though this city is a constant carnival of arts and entertainment, Reykjavík still finds the time to specially designate a full month of the year to creative endeavours.

God Returns To Iceland

The Lord looked at the world he had created and saw it was—largely—good.

Different Hearts

The Good Heart is Dagur Kári’s third feature film after Dark Horse (Voksne Mennesker, 2005) and Noi The Albino (Nói Albínói, 2003).

Daycare, Discourse and Drama

If you were in Reykjavík last summer, you may remember a massive wall of kids grinning at you from a downtown corner.

High and Low

Reykjavík is a city that keeps it secrets. All the best things about it are hidden away off the beaten path. The best food here is not in the fine restaurants, it is in the carts and little shacks. The best book deals are in the flea market and small bookstores, not in the obvious bookshops.

Cannon Fodder

I regularly read poetry to Aram, my infant son. He doesn’t “get it,” of course—no matter how I try to explain that he’s really not supposed to understand it but rather “sense it.” But he seems to like the rhythms of it anyways (and/or his father’s theatrical performance), so I keep at it.


This month Rafskinna offers on its webpage a quite unique collaboration between artist Birgir Andrésson and the punk band Rass, performing a classic Eurovision song with a brass band.
The collaboration was an initiative of Kitchen Motors, a think-tank/art collective that has had a special talent for creating a fruitful collaboration...

The Barbaric Arts

The philosopher Theodor Adorno famously stated in 1949 that writing a poem after Auschwitz was barbaric. He proceeded: “And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today”.


Whether an art form in its own right or just a too costly commercial, the music video has today lost its pivotal status as a major marketing tool in the music business. The 80s heydays initiated by MTV, the world’s first music video channel launched in 1981, are far behind...

Outmooring Michael: Maybe I Should have

After the disaster that was Guð blessi Ísland, one could be forgiven for approaching the latest disaster movie with some reprehension.

So What, You Gonna Cry Now?

Most poetry’s pretty fucked up. It tries hard to be hard. Not only hard to understand, but also hard to touch—hard to feel. Sentiment isn’t really welcome in poetry anymore, it’s been outlawed. Sentiment is bad for poetry.

Making Little Guys Accessible In A Small Country

Icelanders like to brag about per capita records. Most published books in the world, most coffee consumed, highest suicide rates, rah rah rah...

2009 In Pictures

These images are from a series titled "Home". They summon up feelings about a distant idea of home and one that is deteriorating. They are all taken this past summer in Rhode Island, USA, one of the places that was home to me in my adolescence.

A Year Of Waiting, Undercurrent, Countdown, Festivals And No Revolution

The Grapevine somehow managed to convince two of its favourite people from the local artworld – prominent artist Haraldur Jónsson and fellow prominent artist-slash-Living Art Museum director Birta Guðjónsdóttir – to engage in discussion about Icelandic arts in the year 2009. The following is a very abridged account of their discussion.


The Death Of A Poem

Poetry is a culture heavily impregnated with the idolisation of poets. Popular knowledge of poetry stops where the anecdotes about poets end and the poetry begins.

Knitting for Christmas

December is pretty much universally recognised as the most difficult month of the year, what with the cold, the dark and the inescapable, mind-numbing ever-present Christmas music. However, what few realise is that this bleak month is especially harrowing for those who knit.

Beauty Swift: Generation Revolution

 “This book is meant for enlightened individuals in any age group and in various states of maturity. You can read explanations of the ways of life and how they have manifested themselves to the author, all instructed by the Universal Awareness”.

The Jólabókaflóð

You might not have heard of it, but Iceland has a yearly flood. It’s not like the monsoon where the streets are overrun with water and mud. No, this is a different kind of flood, namely the so-called Christmas-Book Flood.

Two New Guidebooks To Iceland

Need to buy a guidebook to Iceland? You can choose from Lonely Planet, the Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Insight Guides, and the Bradt Guides.


Artist Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir interviews Artist Yoshimoto Nara. With some questions by Haukur SM thrown in for good measure. Prepared for print by Haukur SM and Michael Zelenko. Thanks to all our mothers – we couldn’t have done this without being born and stuff.

Artist Vs. Artist

Egill Sæbjörnsson and Davíð Örn Halldórsson are both prominent young artists that have been raising eyebrows all over for a while now.


A medieval man has just gotten his first book and can’t seem to get it to work, so he has to ask for help.

Absolutely Fable-ous!

Twelve volumes and counting, with no end in sight, Fables by Bill Willingham is probably Vertigo’s finest on-going series.

Technical Difficulties

The Sequences festival was formally launched a week ago, on Friday October 30th. I had heard that major sponsors had been backing out throughout last year due to the financial crisis. I don’t know if this is true, but it would certainly explain some things.

I’ll Have What He’s Having

Are you tired of writing your own damn poems? Does it feel like you’d rather plunge through the fiery gates of hell rather than come up with one more metaphor/ simile/ aphorism to explain the human condition?

Art In Sequence, Real-time!

The Sequences arts festival has been pretty awesome these past few years. It is a unique offspring of the big happy Icelandic arts family, and it takes place every October.

Dungeon (The Series)

French humour has sometimes been described as “not funny” or “weird”. Lewis Trondheim is both French and funny.

Speaking Like A God

They say human beings use language to make sense of their surroundings.

Speaking Like A God

They say human beings use language to make sense of their surroundings. We frame, categorise and systematise the objects around us with the help of nouns and verbs and adjectives. The sky is blue. The horse gallops swiftly. The sentence is a ridiculous rhetorical filler.

Oh No! It's the Radiophonic Paramilitaries

Regardless of whether cinema used to be truth 24 times per second or lies at the same rate, it is now becoming something else entirely.

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

The title and blurb of this book leads you to think it’s about Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, the wife of Þorfinnur Karlsefni and mother of Snorri Þorfinnsson, the first European child to be born on the North American continent.

Dead Girls in the Snow

Every film festival has one semi-pornographic film to generate debate.

Frank Castle, The Punisher: Six Hours to Kill

Like so many readers and writers of this beloved mag, you're probably a bleeding heart liberal. You're against whale hunting and capital punishment. That's okay, this reviewer is too. Kinda.

Funny, Colourful Filth

The comic strips in “The Trial of Colonel Sweeto” are hilarious and multicoloured and filthy like uhm.... like rainbow poop.

The Blue Fox (Skuggabaldur)

In his 2003 novel, writer/poet Sjón takes the reader on to a journey to provincial Iceland of the 19th century and the life of two men, Pastor Baldur and the farmer Friðrik Friðriksson.

A Traveler's Guide to Icelandic Folk Tales

While traveling around Iceland, tourists will often hear stories of Icelandic folk legends.

Your Post-Collapse Guide to the Movies

It is a sad fact of life that outside the glorious ten days of the Reykjavík International Film Festival, almost everything being served in the cinemas here is standard Hollywood fare. So, being forced to choose between shit and dirt, let us rummage through the droppings in search of nutrition.

Babe, come onto me

Lo, the oogly woogly wiggly toes of my puffinous pinkster!
Lo, the perpetual whirlpool of his gung ho rainbows!

Metaphors To Save You At Sea

When the unpredictability and trepidation of the sea becomes symbolic for a nation’s political saga, it’s not bewildering that several contemporary Icelandic artists feel perturbed.

The Longest Poem in the World

Three hundred and fifty thousand, seven hundred and fourteen verses. Twenty lines per verse, and every line rhymes with the following one.
That’s how long Andrei Gheorghe’s poem is.

Troll's Cathedral

Trolls´Cathedral (original Icelandic title Tröllakirkja) is the first part of an acclaimed trilogy by author Ólafur Gunnarsson

Children's Reykjavík

By the time adults have children, they’re often out of touch with kid culture and need help figuring out what to do all day with their three-foot wonders. Even once things get going reasonably well, it’s easy to get into a rut


Iceland’s first and only professional theatre festival, Lókal, will take place in Reykjavík for the second time at the start of September (note: the Act Alone festival in Ísafjörður, while being an international theatre fest, only caters to monologues).

Must Love Zombies

There is something very addictive in this ongoing, apparently non-stop series. What can it be?

Dance Party!

Iceland is well known for boasting an impressive art community of every sort and for every walk of life, and dance is no exception. Although the size of the dance community is directly proportional to the size of the country,

The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson

On a summer day in 1627, pirates landed on Heimaey, the largest of the Westmann Islands. They swarmed over the island’s farms and houses, killed thirty-four of its residents and forced 242 men, women, and children onto their ships.

Killing Yourself with Poetry

‘Twas the eve of Nýhils 2nd international poetry festival, late autumn 2006. I was the manager for the second year in a row. For some reason I can’t remember we didn’t have any microphones.

100 Crazy Things (Apparently)

A far cry from Icelandair’s notorious ‘Dirty Weekend in Reykjavík’ ad campaign a few years back and the Bangkok of the North label Iceland has received in the past, this book is sweet and romantic rather than sex-oriented.

100 Crazy Things (Apparently)

50 Crazy Things to Taste in Iceland lists, well, fifty crazy things to taste in Iceland. It is obviously aimed at tourists, and with me being an Icelandic native myself, I didn’t expect to find the foods listed here so crazy.

Two Collections Of Comics By Fletcher

Recently rediscovered and dubbed "the Ed Wood of comics", the late Fletcher Hanks was a cartoonist from the golden age of comic books (late 1930s – late 40s).

European Champions

The only negative thing to say about this book and these series of Tove Janssons's comic strips is that they make you jealous.

A Lost Horse Found In Reykjadam

The Lost Horse Gallery has moved from the old converted stable at Skólastræti 1 and found a new home on Vitastígur 9a. Reykjadam/Amstervík is the first exhibition on the new premises.

The New Rafskinna Is Out!

The good people behind Rafskinna have been hard at work over the past year aggregating stuff for the third issue of everyone’s favourite DVD magazine.

The Word is a Virus

Imagine a poem so robust and resourceful that it could survive humanity.

Angels of the Universe

This is the story of Paul. He was born in 1949, on the day that Iceland joined the NATO alliance. And he believes that being welcomed into this world by protests and tear gas must mean something.

Stumble, an Icelandic Troll Story

Brian Pilkington, a Liverpool native living in Iceland since 1977, is one of the country's most beloved children books' illustrators.

The Windows of Brimnes

In 1998, Minnesotan writer and teacher Bill Holm bought himself a house called Brimnes in Hofsós, a small village a half-hour's drive from the town of Sauðárkrókur in northern Iceland.

Poetics anonymous

became a poet for more or less the same reason everybody else did: I’m lazy and I wanted to sleep late.

Speechless By The Mountain

This short philosophical essay evokes the question of the existence of the human being and his relations to the outside world. Standing at the foot of the Askja, in awe of its raw and majestic appearance, Páll Skúlason – Icelandic philosopher and writer – searches for his place in the world as an entity.

A (Slightly Outdated) History of Iceland

As the title clearly states, this book is a very brief account of the history of our small nation and country. And the first thing I noticed is that it is in fact very small, making it quite handy for travellers.

Kling & Bang: Intriguing

What happens when ten artists come together with a common goal of bringing contemporary Icelandic and international artists to Reykjavík? Kling og Bang.

Award This!

A few years ago the Icelandic poetry world was rocked by a tectonic scandal that nobody noticed for weeks (and by now, everyone’s forgotten about).

The Kids Are Doing It For Themselves...

A revival has occurred in artist run spaces after the closing of many exciting galleries such as the Dwarf Gallery, Bananananas and 101 Gallery. Many independent artist-led galleries seemed to have faded and disappeared. It seemed like no one dared to resurrect the old or had the gumption to create something new.

Art Mania in the East fjords

The Annual LungA Fête (abbreviation for the Youth Art Festival in the East) takes place between the 13th and 19th of July this summer and the celebration sure will be grand ‘cause they’re throwing it for the tenth time!

Best Place To Look At Statues

In 1909, Iceland’s first sculptor, Einar Jónsson, offered his works as a gift to the nation in exchange for a building to house them (and him). Fast forward five years when the government came to its senses and accepted the gift, and you’ve got the Listasafn Einars Jónssonar, a wicked building designed by the sculptor himself in collaboration with architect Guðjón Samúelsson.


Teach Us How to Roar Like a Monster

Bad hair day, spin the bottle, beat on a pregnant woman and forge an unbreakable connection. 

To The Death!

As I may have mentioned before, poetry was (in Iceland) once considered a gift from God, the misuse of which could result in the loss of said gift.

101 Tokyo: A Crash Course

When you reach the ultimate peak of your creativity and come up with an idea so absurd and original that you’re certain it’s unprecedented, hold on before you run out to obtain a patent; it’s inevitable that someone in Tokyo already signed up for it.

Playing Around in the Bed of Roses

“Life isn’t just a game- it’s also a bed of roses...” is an odd title for an exhibition, although when you think of the 1960s it begins to explain the blissful bed of roses imagery. It does appear in one’s mind as a much more dreamier time, fond of its simple aspirations and lethargic dreams. 

“Xenophobe’s guide to the Icelanders”

Here’s a book about the Icelander and his or her true self – told from the foreigner’s point of view. The author, Richard Sale from the UK, mocks Icelanders in every respect. Nothing that foreigners consider odd, special or different about Icelanders remains untouched.

Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness

A terrifying secret.


’m not entirely sure what I just witnessed, but I am sure that it was incredible, beautiful, powerful. Set against a backdrop of miscellaneous articles of clothing, arranged along the colour spectrum – blue, green, yellow, cream, beige, brown, purple – six masses of lycra, cotton and knit wool began to move.

Comic Strip


We Want You

Diligent readers of the Reykjavik Grapevine, as well as Reykjavík art enthusiasts, must have witnessed the get-up-and-go attitude at the Lost Horse Gallery over the last two years. Its operator, Alex Zaklynsky, has been hard-hitting in establishing lively collaborations as well as hosting unorthodox exhibitions, installments, etc. But what is it that’s so charming about these old stables morphed into art haven?

Two Thousand Krónur´s Worth Of Freedom

Your language is somebody else’s property. Not only does it get dealt with in grammar books, by officials making official rules for how things can and cannot be – but everytime anybody gets a good idea for a phrasing, a metaphor, a pun or a pickup line sooner than later someone is going to use that piece of (your?) language to sell you something – deodorant, cars, bras, müsli, politics, sneakers.

Five Guys to Turn a Straight Man Gay

Women, whether sitting on panels of beauty contests or destroying each others’ fashion sense around the water cooler, have always been able to appreciate feminine beauty. This, of course, gives them a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to bending us to their wills.
It’s high time we turned the tables and that grown men started discussing each other’s looks in other than derogatory fashion.
So here, in the interests of gender equality, are five men who would make even the most militant heterosexual question his beliefs.

Comic Strip


A Very Brief History of Icelandic Film Making

The history of film making in Iceland only has an unbroken history going back to 1977, and the somewhat underrated Morðsaga. The subsequent period is often referred to as the “spring of Icelandic film making,” and in the early 80’s a slew of directors such as Ágúst Guðmundsson, Hrafn Gunnlaugsson and Þráinn Bertelsson emerged who were to map out an Icelandic approach to movie making.

Comic Strip


Magic Lore

Legends and Lanscape [Ed. Terry Gunnell, 2009]
A full moon glimmers across snow-laden fields.  Somewhere in the distance a wolf howls.  Noiselessly, through a strange mist, a shadow emerges.  The last thing you see is the flash of two swollen, white canines.  Sound familiar?  Stories of vampires, like all legends, tell us something innate about ourselves: where we have been and where we might go from here.

We’re Number 1!

Icelandic conceptual artist, Kristján Guðmundsson, has been selected to receive the Carnegie Art Award in recognition of his sound-absorbing paintings. Guðmundsson is considered one of Iceland’s most accomplished contemporary artists and his works often examines the tension that exists between nothing and something. His outstanding contribution to Nordic contemporary art was acknowledged by a 6-person jury, which unanimously selected Guðmundsson for the 1,000,000 SEK first prize.


Fiction Conflicting With Reality

I spent the day at the Kópavogur Museum of Natural History with artist Sigurrós Svava Ólafsdóttir as she explained the ideas and concepts behind the recent Artifacts exhibition, curated by Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir and Þórdís Jóhannesdóttir. 

Warning: You don´t need poetry

Anyone that gets a rudimentary education in the Western world, or at least in the places I know anything about, is taught that poetry is like vitamins – it’s good for you. It’ll enlighten your mind, make you more aware of your emotions, your sensibilities, the entire scope of your inner life. It is the “highest of art forms” – so sublime that it can hardly be viewed with human eyes, read with human brains. It’s extremely difficult to understand and just to grasp the littlest bits of it requires a life-long commitment.


Focus on Iceland

This travel book from 2008 is built around 600 photographs by Rafn Hafnfjörð, a well-established Icelandic photographer known for his photographs of Icelandic landscape and sceneries. The text is supplied by Ari Trausti, a poet and geophysicist, whose works concern geology and volcanology, as well as environmental science. Therefore, he is certainly an eligible co-author for a travel book about Iceland.

The City is Alive

Engaging exhibitions are gracing the Reykjavík galleries and museums. Coinciding with the Reykjavík Arts Festival, a few spaces have opened up new shows that stimulate the senses. And the best part, there is still more to come.

Nazi Zombies at the Movies

Like crossing garlic with blue cheese, it’s hard to see how you can go wrong with two such strong ingredients as Nazis AND zombies, all rolled into one mouth-watering package. And yet, more often than not, you end up feeling unfulfilled with stink in your mouth. So far, the 21st Century has given us three films featuring Nazi undead. No sign yet of a Churchill/Van Helsing team-up, so we have to make due with:

Iceland’s ties to Recluse Anti-Semitic Chess Grandmaster

The April 16th premiere of “Me & Bobby Fischer” kicked off Green Light Films’ Bíódagar film festival, which showcases 17 films in as many days. The offering of director Friðrik Guðmundsson, “Me & Bobby Fischer,” follows carpenter, retired policeman and unlikely Fischer companion Sæmi Pálsson as he ventures to Japan and back to deliver the late chess grandmaster to exile in Iceland.

"A promise was made somewhere"

Promising Genomics -  Iceland and deCODE Genetics in a World of Speculation
"Hereby we formally request an answer from the Independence Party and the Centrist Party regarding the truth of the claim that these parties have accepted a large sum of money, a contribution worth as much as half a million US dollars, from deCODE Genetics, the parent company of Íslensk erfðagreining, or from related parties.

Otherworldly Creatures

Choreographers Erna Ómarsdóttir and Damien Jalet and visual artist Gabríella Friðriksdóttir created an emerging world, rising up from the milky waters of the lagoon, in celebration of the final day of winter.

What Will We Remember?

The annual Iceland Academy of The Arts show at Kjarvalsstaðir was another diverse range of innovative designs and artwork, divided into five sections: Fine Art, Fashion, Graphic Design, Product Design and Architecture. But what will be remembered?

It's Not Easy to Make a Mark

Painting is undoubtedly one of the most challenging media to be working in today, due to its massive baggage of history and competition. After all, it has been declared dead numerous times by noted artists and philosophers. Painting requires skill, innovation and, as in any art form, historical awareness.

Saving Iceland

Most of the major disputes of the past ten years have now been settled. The War in Iraq was a terrible idea. Neo-liberalism was a terrible idea. Privatizing the banks was a terrible idea. However, the jury is still out on Kárahjúkavirkjun, the colossal dam in the highlands. From a conservationist point of view, the dam is an unmitigated environmental disaster. That much is clear. The question now is, what did we get in return?

Hay-grinder of the greenpeace-kitten earth-channels of the desert-asphalt sugar-free beach-found transparent salt-Coke

When modernism in poetry shocked its way through Europe in the beginning of the last century, people’s main concern was how the hell to understand it. The modernists would often build image upon image in ways that many readers found antagonizing – like oh so much posturing – and it was made new rather than simple, the emphasis being on visual (mostly metaphorical) complexity as the number one tool of the trade. “The tower like a one-eyed great goose / cranes up out of the olive grove,” to quote Pound (Canto II). 

Svalbard – A Woman in the Polar Night

By Christiane Ritter (1938)


Ireland – The Island of the White Cow

By Deborah Tall (1986)


Inside Reykjavík: The Grapevine Guide

By Bart Cameron (2006)

Iceland – Ripples from Iceland

By Amalia Líndal (1962)


Faroe Islands - Far Afield

By Susanna Kaysen (1990)

An African in Greenland

By Tété-Michel Kpomassie (1981)


A Design For Life

During the last few weeks, it has undoubtedly been hard to ignore the various (and often minimal) design instalments scattered around town. Don’t get me wrong though, to the untrained eye it might just seem that Icelanders are a colourful and artsy pack.

101 Projects: Silenced

A critical part of Iceland’s society, the arts, is feeling the impact of the economic crisis, as businesses are losing sponsors and funding. One art space that has sadly fallen victim to this crisis is 101 Projects.

Ipseity - Abeyance

As part of the Northern Lights Festival, the Nordic House has been hosting the group exhibition “Ipseity- Abeyance”.

God Makes Poets Go Bonkers

Not much is known about 17th century poet Þorbjörn Þórðarsson or his life, even his identity and name are up for debate.

The English Dane

The English Dane By Sarah Bakewell

Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend

Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend By Sally Magnusson.

The Killer’s Guide to Iceland

The Killer’s Guide to Iceland By Bane Radcliffe

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule By Joanna Kavenna

What Does "Welcome Home" Signify?

The Icelandic Dance Company premieres its February production, "Welcome Home"

2008 Arts In 25 Minutes

The Grapevine's arts panel discussed 2008 arts Iceland over coffee at the Grapevine office, right before New Year's. The following is an transcript of their discourse.

The Christmas Cat

“We’ve got this database of monsters and creatures in our past. These stories are fascinating, it’s a shame that they’re not used more in modern culture,” remarked comic artist Hugleikur Dagsson in an interview this summer.

Candy from Trolls

The play "Let's talk Christmas" teaches foreigners about Icelandic Christmas customs. The Grapevine attended it and learned much from Grýla.

Turning Things Around

By Yesterday, artist-slash-Left Green alternate MP Hlynur Hallsson opened an exhibition pretty much all over 101 Reykjavík. Even though the show, entitled ÚT/INN (“OUT/IN”) has its official headquarters in the main hall of the Reykjavík Art Museum, it’s concept and execution rely on the goodwill and co-operation of several downtown businesses and institutions, all of whom Hallsson says were extremely helpful throughout the twelve months it took to plan and prepare the venture.

Yoko Ono's tower of peace

Just in Time, Like a white dove, Yoko Ono brings peace to a devastated nation.

Yoko Ono has the people of Iceland in her heart, so she said at the Imagine Peace press conference she attended October 9 in Reykjavik. This is the second conference of its kind and was the prelude to the lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower, which she dedicates to world peace and the honour of her late husband John Lennon, on his birthday.

 “There’s so many beautiful things that are going on in Iceland,” Yoko said when asked why she choose to come here. “Iceland is almost the strongest influence to the world, not just that, when you come here you feel everything is clean and full of very resilient people.”


The world can be changed through fiction

At 32-years of age, Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir is already the author of six novels in addition to volumes of short stories and other works. Her latest novel, Skaparinn (e. The Maker), is a tale of two persons who share their misery for a few days in a series of complicated events. A Grapevine journalist met with Guðrún Eva at her home in Reykjavík to discuss her new book, her work ethics and the author’s role in society.

That Ignorance is restraining

When David Foster Wallace committed suicide on September 12, 2008, the news hit literate America like kick to the gut. We tend to point at the last seven years as particularly rough, and September as a month to get through anyway, but to throw this on, to lose our greatest living writer, was hard to take. Then, with the obits of this writer having just left the American book reviews and magazines, we got a casual aside from Swede Horace Engdahl, speaking as permanent secretary of the Nobel prize jury.

Sequences Festival 2008

The Site-Specific Revolution

A Journey Without a Determined Destination

Bringing art out of the galleries

The Cinematic Laboratory

Filmmakers experiment with time


Designers meet manufacturers in Halnarfjörður

A Visit to the National Museum of Iceland

For those who are interested in learning more about Iceland’s storied past, the National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands) offers a unique treasure-trove of historic exhibits.

The Traditional Form does not Appeal to me

Jón Kalman Stefánsson  is a picture perfect novelist yet a sympathetic scientist

The Birth of the New Icelandic Product

Designers make their mark on food.

Alone With a Drone

If you have ever had the pleasure of hearing the drone of a langspil, then you can count yourself very lucky, but it looks like a Jenga box

The Xenophobes Guide To The Icelanders

It’s a must read, and a good bit of fun if you are new to the country or otherwise, and it’s at least worth putting in your bathroom.


Waking Up In Iceland

From the picture to the page, this is a more traditional sort of guide.

Reykjavik 64...

Reykjavik 64°08N 21°54W

Fish and Ships

Grapevine visits the Reykjavik Maritime Museum

This Nordic Life

A Closer look at the Nordic House in Reykjavik

Without this, I would have died

Contemporary dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir comes from Kópavogur, and is a lauded artist in her field.
     The Grapevine caught celebrated contemporary dancer Erna Ómarsdóttir on the phone from Zurich, where she is staging a show in collaboration with artist Gabríela Friðriksdóttir.

Dick Cheney is the Dark Knight

After a slew of thought provoking and intelligent films that helped turn public perceptions against the war in Iraq (remember that one?), we are now back to business as usual. Valur Gunnarsson takes a loot at this summer’s blockbusters.

Pride and Prejudice

The gay rights campaign in Iceland has been running since 1978.  From an invisible group and an oppressed minority to a strong organisation and community

Fabulously Dragged to Rehab

The theme for this year’s Icelandic Drag Competition was “Opera Horror” and the Drag Queens of Reykjavík delivered.

The Future of Rock and Roll

With the world shrinking at a continuously faster pace, far away places are being exposed to western popular music and rock.

WANTED: Corpses or soon-to-be Corpses

Snorri Ásmundsson has the reputation of being Iceland’s most infamous artist. If one’s in doubt, his provoking pieces must authenticate his fame.

Welcome to the Tropical Island of Iceland

Following an unusually squelching heat wave, temperatures topped out a blistering 26.2°C in Reykjavík on July 30th, breaking the all-time hottest record for the capital city.

The Foreigner's Guide to Icelandic Colleges

Many consider the choice of studying in Iceland as somewhat of an oddity, but the main attraction must lie in the modest tuition fees and the rather lenient admission qualifications.

Yet Naother Icelandic Monster: Marbendill

Last issue, we learned about fatal underwater horse Nykur, who likes to lure folks to a watery grave using a combination of charm and adhesive skin.

The List

Bryndís was born in Reykjavík in 1987, and lived in Vesturbær, Akureyri and London until she was 12. Her interest in music awoke at a young age and she now studies at The Icelandic Musicians Union (FÍH).

Fairground in the Family

Taylors Funfairs are run by the sixth generation of British Fairground folk. Now in their 18th year in Iceland, their Tivoli in Hafnarfjörður is currently in full swing. David Taylor has been running the fair for 33 years and it has been passed down from generation to generation for over a century.

Grand Design for a Grand Institution

Hjálmar Ragnarsson, Director of The Icelandic Academy of the Arts (LHÍ), has been in the news a lot lately. He recently introduced a proposal for the academy’s new headquarters to be built by Reykjavík’s main shopping-street, Laugavegur, by 2011.

Janus & Tinna

Janus Bragi Jakobsson and Tinna Ottesen are an Icelandic couple who have gained attention recently for the experimental underwater concerts they held during the four day warm-up proceeding the Roskilde Music Festival.

Lost in Iceland?

Google has mapped the moon, Mars and the sky, yet amazingly cannot provide a roadmap for Iceland.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Cafe D’Haïti on Tryggvagata 16 was established last April and has been steadily gaining fans ever since.

Another Icelandic Monster: Nykur

The creature we feature this month, for all your learning pleasures, is the horse-like amphibian Nykur. Try saying that slowly: Nykur. Ny-kur.

Great Moments in Icelandic History: Iceland get the beer back

Imagining Reykjavík without beer is like imagining Amsterdam without hash brownies. However, only nineteen years ago (!) it was against the law to sell and buy beer in Iceland.

The List

Lucas is currently working as a chef at La Primavera and trying to finish up a four piece series for a young man who saw his work at Cafe Hljómalind. His friends at Noland and The Reykjavík Skate Shop just got their screen printing studio up and running, so he's looking forward to doing some cool stuff with them.

A Necessary Evil

To a foreigner, the concept of a ‘Sveitaball’ can be confusing. The word “sveit” can be defined as “country” or “countryside”, and the word can literally be translated “country dance”. Which sounds innocuous enough (square dancing with neighbours and relatives to the tune of fiddles, perhaps?), were it not for the dense lore that surrounds it



A Real Horrorshow

Well, where to begin? While I'm sitting here in my bed at 4AM on a Sunday night, still smelling of beer and other odorous liquids, I still remember the moment when we entered the 9-hour-from-Reykjavík town, Neskaupstaður, which had already begun transforming from this lovely and peaceful sailor village into a raving limbo. The allegedly sweatiest summer festival in Iceland, Flight of the Testicles, had begun. 

Introducing: Hugleikur and the Monsters

We interviewed master comic Hugleikur Dagsson a couple of issues back, focusing on his growing international success as the go-to guy for pitch black humour and his latest published work, Garðarshólmi, which appears on the margins of Iceland’s 2008 phonebook. Our interview lamented the fact that Garðarshólmi had yet to be translated into English, as it features some of Iceland’s best-loved mythological creatures of yore in full action, and is thus quite educational.

Fear and Loathing in Reykjavík

Visiting every pub in Reykjavík over the course of three weeks is both grossly unhealthy as well as downright stupid. Drinking heavily can result in vomiting, bankruptcy and the danger of doing things and/or people you’ll regret. Of course that didn’t stop this intrepid reporter from going where many, many people have gone before.

Lamenting a Dying Model

Ultimately, Kjötborg is a portrait of a nation that has undergone some severe changes in a short amount of time and what those changes mean; a reflection on Icelanders’ shifting values and aspirations, where they may be leading us and what we may be losing in the process

French Fries and Religious Symbols

The stories become new fragmented concepts, which really represents my identity, fragmented sort of tapestry of these different deeply religious things

Loads of Visual Fun!

The second issue of Rafskinna DVD Magazine was released on July 3, stuffed with all kinds of visual entertainment

The Artists Have Come Home to Roost

On July 4, three visual artists will open an exhibition in Kling&Bang Gallery on Laugarvegur 23. This exhibition is in fact a reunion, for the exact combo of artists opened another installation ten years ago

Painting the National Pride

Artists Davíð Örn Halldórsson and Alexander Zaklynsky bring together a group of 12 artists in a diverse and highly stimulating exhibition at the Lost Horse Gallery.

Documenting Icelandic Culture

“Iceland has so much new talent these days, I think it deserves it… I came here and I was so amazed. It just begged to be made.”

June 17

The skyline swelled with inflatable castles and slides, and lines twisted out of hot dog and waffle booths.

Buy Icelandic Design Online

To make Icelandic design more accessible to worldwide shoppers, two local pioneers with an eye for quality products, Kjartan Sturluson and Ingvi Þór Guðmundsson, recently opened a new design store on the Internet.

Organ Theme-market

Every Friday and Saturday this summer, a lively outdoor market will fill the port in front of bar/concert venue Organ in Hafnarstræti. The market is open from 14:00 to 19:00 and the concept is to emphasise on different themes every weekend.

Shit, Piss, Vomit and Blood. And Cum

“I often recycle old jokes. You could even say I only have twenty or thirty jokes that I keep re-telling in different ways. But that’s what all cartoonists do.”

The Most Expensive Icelandic Film

 Director Dagur Kári has earned his spot as one of Iceland’s leading directors, although he was born in Paris and educated in Denmark. After the success of his debut film, Nói Albínói, Dagur Kári shot his second feature film, Voksne Mennesker, in Denmark. Although he once described the Icelandic movie industry as a playground, compared to Denmark, Dagur Kári has returned to Iceland to film his next and biggest film so far, The Good Heart.

The Politics of Archaeology

As if to complete the role reversal, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones falls asleep just as Marion is kissing him. In The Mummy, Evelyn falls asleep just as she is about to be kissed by Rick. In both cases, it is a sign of strength to need love less than the other party.


Interpreting the Icelandic Psyche

“My pictures are silent descriptions, staging melancholy, fragility and nobleness of the ordinary life,” says French photographer Thomas Humery



Art n’ Roll


The MOMS Parade

The audience squirted ketchup on us, threw oatmeal and dog food at us and screamed in anger.

Singing Painting at Nylo

Artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson opens a solo exhibition at the Living Art Museum (Nylo) this Saturday, October 6. Ragnar, known both as the singer of electro pop group Trabant and as an inventive performance artist, collaborated with composer and Flís pianist Davíð Þór Jónsson to create his newest piece, entitled ”God”. Accompanied by the experimental jazz-trio Flís and a mini symphony orchestra, he has filmed a 30-minute long musical video, which will be displayed for the first time at Nylo. Grapevine sat down with Ragnar and Davíð Þór to find out more about it.

Reykjavík 871±2

Aðalstræti 16
101 Reykjavík
Tel.: 411 6370

The Saga Museum


Reykjavík International Film Festival Preview

The fourth annual Reykjavík International Film Festival will take place September 27 – October 7. Founded in 2004 by a group of film enthusiasts and professionals with the goal of creating an annual international film festival in Reykjavik, RIFF has become the one of the main cultural events in Iceland, with last year’s guests exceeding 15,000 people.

Icelandic Art


Gallery Crush




Seabear: A Fully-fledged Team

The lo-fi country pop group Seabear will be among the many acts performing at the annual Innipúkinn music festival, taking place in Reykjavík on August 4 and 5.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The next big thing to casually walk all over the Reykjavík music scene is undoubtedly brighteyed Retro Stefson. Fresh from middle school and already two years into their game, the eight-piece is being nursed to stardom by some of the Reykjavík music scene’s biggest names. Grapevine sat down with Unnsteinn, Þórður, and Þorbjörg after their gig at Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar to discuss their climb up the under-aged ladder to success.

On The Lot: Iceland

It is hard to pinpoint with any accuracy when an Icelandic film industry emerged. I

Fotografí Fine Photography

Ari Sigvaldason knew he was interested in photography, but it wasn’t until February when he quit his job of 15 years as a reporter with national broadcaster RUV that he was able to fully realise his passion.

A Cross Between Power and Vulnerability

New York artist Spencer Tunick is an internationally acclaimed photographer and performance artist, renowned for his abstract creations featuring groups of nudes posing in public spaces around the world. Since early in the 90s, he’s been documenting massive nude installations where he gathers volunteers to lie among thousands of other naked people to create different shapes and forms, all in the name of art. Grapevine met Tunick at Gallery i8 where he is currently exhibiting some of his most recent works, including photographs he shot in Iceland a year ago.

The Advanced Way to Experience Art

Grapevine meets Rafskinna, Iceland’s First DVD Magazine.

Recent Books about Iceland

These five intriguing books are all either wholly or partly about Iceland and all have come out over the past year or so. All are available on loan from Reykjavík’s libraries, or can be ordered online or from Bóksala stúdenta.



Nýhil Poetry in the Grapevine:

Author/poet Steinar Bragi (b. 1975) is regarded as one of Iceland’s promising young writers, although it could be argued that his four novels and five books of poetry have far surpassed the claim. His latest book of poetry, Litli Kall Strikes Again was released by Nýhil this summer as part of its Nordic Literature series – many claim it is his best so far.



Nýhil Poetry in the Grapevine:

Þórdís Björnsdóttir (b. 1978) has been affiliated with the Nýhil group ever since releasing her first book in 2004, Ást og Appelsínur, which received much hype (for a poetry book, anyway). Since then, she has released the prose book Vera and Linus in cahoots with Jesse Ball, as well as the book of poetry this week’s Nýhil selection is culled from: …og svo kom nóttin (…And Then Came the Night).



Movie Reviews


RIFF Brings Darkness to Urban Youth

The annual Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) is approaching, and along with it a series of seminars, symposia, celebrities and special events – not to mention a veritable bevy of cinema.

Movie Madness


Matt Freakin’ Dillon! Doing Bukowski!

Matt Dillon’s and Marissa Tomei’s presence at the opening ceremony of the Iceland International Film Festival this year will be a highlight for film in Iceland, but it is only part of what cinephiles can look forward to in the three weeks of IIFF.

Nýhil Poetry in the Grapevine:

Haukur Már Helgason is no stranger to the Grapevine – he was the first Icelandic writer I hired after taking over as editor, and he wrote a scathing critique of the arts scene in Iceland called Screaming Masterpiece for my second issue. When he isn’t shaping debate on the arts in local magazines, he teaches around the country, and he publishes poetry with the group he helped found, Nýhil. Instead of submitting a translation of his poetry, Helgason has instead constructed… something else entirely. All in keeping with a man who once served as the Grapevine’s Existentialist Restaurant Reviewer. BC

ICE-land Takes Puns to New Low Fronts

There are 56 words in the Icelandic language for “snow & ice”. In English, we have “snow” and “ice”.

Flexible, Greased Up Comedy

“Where are my dirty, horny women!?!”