Culture
Art
“Spaceship Mitschdóttir” Standing Gloriously In The Westfjörds

“Spaceship Mitschdóttir” Standing Gloriously In The Westfjörds

Words by
Photos by
Michael Thomas

Published July 18, 2016

German environmental concept artist Michael Thomas spent ten beautiful days in the Westfjords building installations with flotsam. The three huge sculptures—the largest almost eight metres long—are now standing proudly on West Iceland soil. They are “Earth Valve,” “Ironbird’s Nest,” and “Spaceship Mitschdóttir”—this last, the biggest, which the artist named after himself.

The aim of these installations is to release the pressure humans create on our planet, Michael claims: “The idea of building installations to Iceland was born three weeks ago in Germany. My wife Angela and her friend spent holidays in Iceland and found places in the Westfjörds with lots of driftwood and flotsam. She called me, sent me photos and prompted me to book a flight. So I arrived with an idea and a bicycle. All expectations were exceeded. It was like coming to the place with nothing and leaving the place with nothing, except some temporary manipulations and a photo documentation thereof,” says Michael, who now must travel back home and abandon the sculptures to their fate.

Michael adds that he really terrifically hard on these sculptures, and feels a bit sad to just leave his three babies here. “I woke up early in the mornings and cycled to the place near Kaldrananes where I was building them. Sometimes it was raining and my muscles were tired of hard work, but I proceeded till the late night,” he says. “But,” he adds, “ I took pictures of them and the process and the meaning of that all is the thing that really matters.“

DSC07642

All around the world

Despite the fact that Icelandic waters are among the cleanest in the world and the country is famous for its unspoiled natural beauty, Michael still found materials, both driftwood and plastic, to use in his installations. “Although my movement radius has been limited here in Iceland, I can say that Icelandic environment looks very pretty and healthy,” he explains. “Except some coast regions where plastic waste in all sizes was washed ashore.”

But flotsam isn’t the only material he builds his installations from: “I use lots of materials usually given to me by fortune. For example, my valve with the most parts consists of ten thousand sustainable Danish ice cream sticks, and the heaviest and largest one is made of iron railway sleepers.” Michael adds that Iceland isn’t the only place where he has released his artistic mind. He started off in Germany and then began to conquer the world. “I have built installations in the USA, Kenya, Dubai, Austria and France. Three continents, Australia, South America and Antarctica, are so far without pressure compensation. All invitations of these regions are welcome.”

DSC07609

It all began with a sandcastle

Though Michael loves to work with materials that nature provides, and to travel the world while building installations and raising people’s environmental awareness, he can’t quit his day job. “Installations are only one part of my conceptual work and painting another,” he admits. “Recently a German art critic called me an ‘aesthetic moralist.’ Well, I’m part of the system because I’m making money with commercial paintings, and scrutinize it simultaneously with installations like ‘Earth Valve,’ ‘Spaceship Mitschdóttir’ and ‘Ironbird’s Nest’.”

But how did it all begin? Michael says he built his first installation from flotsam back in 1974, when he was a little boy. “I was on holidays with my parents in Romania and I decorated my sandcastle with driftwood,” Michael recalls. In Iceland, Michael hasn’t had a chance to go to beach, but he says that he still enjoys summer in this cold country: “It surprises me that here in Iceland summer days are neverending because the sun isn’t going down and the people look into your eyes when they talk to you.”


Culture
Art
The Turning Wheel: The Philosophy Of Top Icelandic Gallery Hverfisgallerí

The Turning Wheel: The Philosophy Of Top Icelandic Gallery Hverfisgallerí

by

Sitting in a sleek downtown restaurant in a pink tulle skirt, Sigríður L. Gunnarsdóttir peruses the menu for less than

Culture
Art
The Wild Things: Enter The Surreal World Of Gabríela Friðriksdóttir

The Wild Things: Enter The Surreal World Of Gabríela Friðriksdóttir

by

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir arrives at Hverfisgallerí on a sunny afternoon, bright-eyed and smiling. The sky is clear and blue as the

Culture
Art
Outvert Art Space: The Inside-Out Gallery Of Ísafjörður

Outvert Art Space: The Inside-Out Gallery Of Ísafjörður

by

When you enter the space, it feels a little bit like you were dropped in a shoebox with the intent

Culture
Art
A New Era: Meet Vigdís Jakobsdóttir, Reykjavík Arts Festival’s New Director

A New Era: Meet Vigdís Jakobsdóttir, Reykjavík Arts Festival’s New Director

by

“I truly believe that the arts are the most powerful tool to celebrate humanity and to sustain and create peace

Culture
Art
Icelandic Students Challenge Ideas Of Time & Space In One-Time Exhibit

Icelandic Students Challenge Ideas Of Time & Space In One-Time Exhibit

by

At the top floor of an unassuming building in downtown Reykjavík, five young women are discussing the faltering equilibrium between

Culture
Art
Lost In A Vacuum: Melkorka From Milkywhale Returns With A Space-Age Pop Opera

Lost In A Vacuum: Melkorka From Milkywhale Returns With A Space-Age Pop Opera

by

In a crowded café, Icelandic dance extraordinaire Melkorka Sígríður Magnúsdóttir pours her fizzy drink into a glass, barely managing to contain her equally effervescent

Show Me More!