A woollen raincoat cased in transparent plastic, ice cubes in the shape of Iceland, (Klakinn, as they call it), a sphere of lava as a mobile dwelling for hidden people. Each piece with one foot in heritage, the other gazing bravely towards its Internet-assisted future, whether figuratively or literally, and frequently with a healthy dose of dry, Nordic humour.
The curators see it as an experiment in presenting the Icelandic people, the culture they come from and where they are heading; a pride and passion frequently mixed with a certain amount of discomfort, which the designers have harnessed and turned to their advantage. Drying fish is not a sight that evokes the most pleasant of emotions in the average islander, (Valur, I spelled it that way intentionally… how witty, huh?) [Very –ed], but when re-interpreted as a lighting device, the outcome is remarkably beautiful.
And while you’re there, the museum’s permanent collection is worth a look. After decades of being shifted around various attics in Reykjavík, it has been housed since September in its recently refurbished location, documenting the entire history of the island’s settlement in various media and a vast array of impeccably preserved artefacts.
‘Ómur’ is showing until May 1st in Þjóðminjasafn Íslands, Suðurgata 4. Entrance is ISK 600, or free on Wednesdays and for those under 18.
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