Tag Archives: Iceland

Underneath

As Icelandic artist Hrafnkell Sigurðsson knows very well, surfaces can be deceiving.

But it is astonishing to go beyond them.

Disclosure

One can never deny one’s past. No matter how we feel about our personal histories, they are an unforgiving and constant presence in one’s present life.

Even when we feel the need to break with events, memories, feelings and embarrassments from the past, they are nonetheless a part of who we are. In order to reject something, one has to know it first.

Acknowledging something is a very healthy attitude towards accepting oneself.

So why am I talking about this?

After yesterday’s post, I got to thinking about all the things that have influenced my tastes and perceptions of the world. Of course, I think too much and I never know how to stop my brain from making considerations about everything but I’m very inclined to believe that my past experiences shaped my tastes and who I am today.

Thus my admiration for the Nordic countries may come from another source rather than pure appreciation of the undeniable talent fostered in that area. It may come from my heart.

My first encounter with the true pleasures of the flesh (euphemisms are in again) took place in Iceland, with an Icelandic boy. He was my first boyfriend and it was also the first time I could truly feel what love was.

Then, not surprisingly, Icelandic music was there from the beginning (although I already loved Björk when I first went to Iceland). For sentimental reasons, here’s the latest video by Jónsi:

So now you know.

Home is where the art is

A friend of mine who is an artist and is currently taking her master’s degree in the subject once had a quarrel with one of her professors. If my memory is right, she was questioning him about the fact that he was never encouraging towards her or towards one of her friends – also a girl.

Then, to her surprise and to mine ten times more, here’s what the men said: “women can never be true artists“. This my friends, was in Zürich, Switzerland.

I could never forget that sentence and the narrow-mindedness contained in it, but it has served a far more dignifying purpose: I now pay close attention to women artists.

Since I believe clichés possess a certain strength, I can’t help but say here that I do feel women produce a different type or art from that of men. Womanhood seems to come through in various elements in the art of women. One of the very striking aspects of their art production is their choice of materials. I find very often that women choose every-day-life materials in their works of art.

Icelandic artist Hildur Bjarnadóttir is one of the finest examples of this:

Using materials tightly connected to home and homely subjects, she raises questions about origins, family and rural identity.

Weaves, threads, looms and spinning machines are all part of the artist’s universe, which are also linked to most grandmothers I know. I think this is true for most cultures around the globe.

It is a true and beautiful use of women’s cultural heritage to create something for a world to which they didn’t really belong up to very recently.

Uniqueness is my word du jour.

Tvær íslenskar hljómsveitir, þrjú tónlistarmyndabönd

Oh, don’t pull its legs / They’re pulled / Don’t squeeze it too hard up

In the longest of nights
Stir him at your breast
In silence – row him, row him

Það besta sem guð hefur skapað

er nýr dagur

PS: múm‘s new record is on.

Rio-Iceland, nature-art

As said before, Rio is all about nature. Not only because of the temperatures, but also because of the breathtakingly beautiful combination of sea, mountains and forest which is so present everywhere in the city.

In every direction you look, there will be something in the city that reminds us of mother nature, even if humanity tries to hide it by erecting such tall and unnecessary buildings.

Interestingly, this importance (ever so present) of nature and its impact on the Cariocas got me thinking about another place I know where people are truly connected to their surroundings: Iceland.

By looking at a selection of works by Icelandic artists, I couldn’t help but notice the need Icelanders have to express themselves using or showing nature.

Hrafnkell Sigurðsson is one of the Nordic contemporary photographers that really caught my attention:

from the Mirrored Landscapes series

The multitalented Ólafur Elíasson is another great example. His use of landscape and the even more famous studies using light is so inextricably connected to Icelandic nature it is impossible to miss the reference.

Lava Floor, by Elíasson

Going back to Brazil, who can ignore the impact use of color has in Brazil’s most important contemporary painter, the carioquíssima Beatriz Milhazes?

Only when one has been to Rio can one understand the source of such colorful influence.

Nature and art.

Eksotiske landskap

I have been to many, many countries and my willingness to travel around the globe continues to grow quite unexpectedly.

Everyone who knows me well is aware that I have a thing for the Nordic and Arctic countries in general. Being from Brazil and calling wonderful beaches and lush vegetation everyday landscape, cold and ice is what I consider exotic.

Keeping warm in the North with Vík Prjónsdóttir

Keeping warm in the North with Vík Prjónsdóttir

When asked about my favorite destination, I often  say: Iceland. It was the second country I visited in my life, as a teenager (before everybody started going there, I must add) and it had such a huge impact in my life.

It is incredibly rough, cold, full of contrasts and surprisingly pleasant. Icelanders spend a lot of money and time trying to be out-of-this-word hip and modern, despite their rather rural and indoors-loving traditional culture. Add lava instead of ground, no trees, active volcanoes and untouched glaciers with hard liquor and you just might get an idea of what it is.

A lava flower by Guðrún Lilja Gunnlaugsdóttir

A lava flower by Guðrún Lilja Gunnlaugsdóttir

I long to go back there. One day maybe, after I go to Africa.