From Iceland — The Multidisciplinary Art Piece "Shadow Nymphs" Explores The Dualism Of Light And Shadow

The Multidisciplinary Art Piece “Shadow Nymphs” Explores The Dualism Of Light And Shadow

Published August 22, 2018

The Multidisciplinary Art Piece “Shadow Nymphs” Explores The Dualism Of Light And Shadow
Phil Uwe Widiger
Photo by
Art Bicnick

It’s just another grey morning in Reykjavik and one cannot help feeling a little low, maybe even anxious. It is an emotion that, along with the feeling of sadness or pain, we humans often try to reject. Feeling happy is seen as being the norm. But how can light exist without creating shadow?

Just as the cycle of day and night, humans have a full spectrum of emotions that ranges from darkness to light. “We all have both sides,” explains Laura Durban, one of the creators of “Shadow Nymphs.” “If we can embrace both of them, then we can work with them.” “Shadow Nymphs” is an attempt to reconnect to this dualism, and to nature in general.

Caressing the senses of sight and hearing

Laura Durban is a multidisciplinary visual artist that recently performed her piece “Persephone” at LungA Art Festival. Her collaborator, Sunna Friðjónsdóttir, who recently graduated from the Iceland Academy of the Arts, is a multi instrumentalist and composer. Together, they created “Shadow Nymphs,” an art piece that merges several art disciplines and themes, which will be performed at Mengi on August 24th.


For those not familiar with Greek mythology, nymphs are beings that have a human form but can transform their bodies into aspects of nature, like birch trees. “Those are my favourites,” Laura smiles. “This type of nymph stands as birch trees on rivers, but during full moon, they transform into beautiful girls and start dancing around.”

Laura was inspired by the writings of Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, who puts forth the thesis that legends and folklores are a reflection of issues or shortcomings dealt with in the current society. For example, elves are living in wild, even dangerous parts of nature — while we remain in the safe space of our smartphones screens. “So nymphs are what I am longing for,” Laura explains. “They connect to nature not only with their minds, but also with their bodies.”

We are nature

According to the visual artist, seeing nature as something separate from human society is a huge problem. The more we disconnect, the less we are able to change it. Thus, we need to reconnect to the natural aspects outside of us, but also inside of us — both the dark sides, and the bright ones. This dualism is part of human nature. “I want to make clear that positivity only comes from facing darkness as well,” Laura says.

Honesty wins

“If you go to a concert or an art show, what really gets you is an authentic piece where you see the artist reflected in it,” Laura explains. “Sunna and I are not the provocative, cool, smoking kind of artists. We have to be ourselves and be completely honest. And I think that’s what creates change in others — and hopefully motivates them to be honest with themselves.”

Prepare for an evening with both visual and musical performances that guide the audience through the deepest depths of human emotions, and back into the light.

“Shadow Nymphs” will be performed at Mengi on August 24th. Check out the Facebook event here.

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