You’ll find Ásmundarsafn, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, in a unique building near Laugardalslaug swimming pool, just outside of the city centre. Looking like some sort of lunar space station, the large, white domed building was designed and constructed mostly by Sveinsson (1893-1982) himself and was originally used as his home, studio and an exhibition hall. In designing the unusual building, the artist was apparently influenced by the architecture of the Mediterranean, traditional Arab domed houses and the pyramids of Egypt.
Today, the place is an art gallery that features work by Sveinsson, one of the pioneers of sculpture in Iceland, but also exhibits work by other Icelandic artists. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the exhibition area is how bright the whole place is – light pours through the windows in the domed roof, reflecting off of the whitewashed walls and ceiling.
Currently on display until December is The Shape of a Line exhibition, which consists of some of Sveinsson’s abstract sculptures made from iron, copper and bronze pieces and rods. The bizarre shapes are said to be inspired by Egyptian art and history as well as Icelandic nature, literature and people. For some interesting gift ideas, check out the selection of casts of Sveinsson’s work from the museum shop.
Also on display, until the end of the year, is a selection of illustrated traditional Icelandic folk tales passed down through the generations by oral tradition. The best thing about the whole place, though, is the building itself. Take a walk in the surrounding garden and check out the huge outdoor sculptures.
As the gallery is part of the Reykjavík Art Museum, the museum ticket is also valid for the Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir museums.
Sigtún, 105 Reykjavík
Tel.: 553 2155.
Open 10:00 – 16:00 daily.