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Reykjavík Street Art

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Street Art Reykjavik

One of our favorite parts of moving to a new place is checking out the street art scene. We’ve come to learn that aspects of a city’s personality will often be reflected in its graffiti and public art, so the work we saw in Reykjavík wasn’t a total surprise. Extremely artistic, modern, intelligent and well-coordinated, Reykjavík’s street art is clearly done with the property owner’s permission. Perhaps a bit too nice for such an anarchic art form, but very Icelandic.

Framed Iceland Photos

Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
Street Art Reykjavik
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November 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm Comments (2)

The Eastfjords

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We had a wonderful time in Seyðisfjörður and the next day continued our clockwise loop around Iceland. The meandering road south took us around the magnificent natural vistas of the Eastfjords and into a few tranquil coastal villages.

Egg Sculptures Djúpivógur

Not many people spend a lot of time in the Eastfjords, a region which boasts none of Iceland’s most famous sights. No geysers, geothermal parks or volcanoes. But the fjords, carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers retreating into the interior, are lovely. The land here is older, more stable and greener, and the quiet roads which wind around along the ocean offer up some extraordinary scenery.

After leaving Seyðisfjörður, our first stop was in the minuscule hamlet of Stöðvarfjörður. We hadn’t planned on pausing here, but were attracted by the bizarre murals decorating the fishing plant near the harbor. This factory had employed a large percentage of the town’s inhabitants and its closing in 2005 devastated the local economy. But a group of artists endeavored to turn the old factory into a Creative Center, hoping to lure tourists to the remote town.

Further south, we took a break in Djúpivógur, where we saw an art installation of giant eggs set on pedestals near the harbor. After the collapse of fishing, many towns in the Eastfjords seem to be placing their chips on art. An uncertain bet, to say the least, but it worked on us. After being attracted into the town by the stone eggs, we went straight to the nearest restaurant for lunch.

This gorgeous corner of the country doesn’t get nearly enough attention, and we feel awful for spending so little time here. 91 days in Iceland, and only two of them in the Eastfjords! We probably could have planned that better. There’s some great hiking which we didn’t get to experience at all and we completely missed the towns of Borgarfjörður Eystri, Eskifjörður and Mjóifjörður, along with many others. But one day, we’ll be back. And we’ll know better.

Locations on our Map: Stöðvarfjörður | Djúpivógur

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October 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm Comments (2)

Seyðisfjörður

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One of the larger towns in the Eastfjords, Seyðisfjörður is best known as the port for ferries arriving once a week from Denmark. We didn’t know much else about it when we decided to spend the night here, but were pleasantly surprised. Seyðisfjörður was one of the more charming villages we visited during our entire journey around the country.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see Seyðisfjörður at its best, because of the inclement weather that plagued so much of our trip around Iceland. Heavy fog, intermittent rain and low-hanging clouds obscured most of the landscape from view, including the mountains which surround the town. But what we did see, we liked. Much of Seyðisfjörður was built in the 19th century by fishermen from Norway and many of the wooden, Norwegian-style houses have survived into the present day.

After taking a short stroll around the harbor, we followed a rough track up into the hills to discover a strange art installation. Here, in a spot that looks out over Seyðisfjörður, German artist Lukas Kühne constructed an echo chamber called Tvísöngur. With domes of various sizes, the piece most resembles a miniature Turkish hamam, and inside you can produce weird echo effects. I imagine this being especially fun for kids.

We stayed the night at the Hótel Aldan, which occupies three historical buildings in the heart of the town. Our room was in the “Old Bank”, built by herring entrepreneurs in 1898 as a hotel before being converted into Seyðisfjörður’s bank. Today it’s a hotel again, and one of the nicest we stayed in during our three months in Iceland.

Seyðisfjörður is tiny, and I can’t imagine spending any more than a couple days here, but we really loved it. When the weather allows, there is apparently great hiking to be had in the hills surrounding the town. It isn’t on the Ring Road, but should you drive by, Seyðisfjörður definitely warrants a detour.

Location on our Map

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Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Tvísöngur Sound Sculpture
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
Seyðisfjörður
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October 28, 2013 at 10:23 pm Comments (3)

Ásmundursafn – The Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum

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Reykjavík’s Ásmundursafn is dedicated to the work of Iceland’s most accomplished sculpture artist, Ásmundur Sveinsson. The museum is worth visiting as much for the architecture of the building, as for the statues both indoors and out in the garden.

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Born in 1893, Ásmundur traveled extensively as a young man, with long stints in both Stockholm and Paris. When he returned to Iceland, he immediately took a place among his country’s most influential artists. His works tend toward the abstract, though they’re not so surreal as to be nonsensical. With themes taken from Icelandic folklore and the Sagas, Ásmundur created sculptures designed to be enjoyed by the public, instead of just private collectors.

The Ásmundursafn is found in a building designed in the 1930s by the artist himself, who used it as a studio. All white domes and ample light, it must have provided as nice an atmosphere to work on sculptures as it presently does to admire them.

Since visiting the Ásmundursafn and acquainting ourselves with his work, we’ve discovered more of his pieces scattered around Iceland. With their strange, cubist shapes and sharp angles, they’re hard to overlook.

Location on our Iceland Map

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September 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm Comments (0)

Modern Art at the Hafnarhus

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With three venues spread across the city, each dedicated to a different discipline, the Listasafn Reykjavíkur is the largest art museum in Iceland. One ticket will get you into all three locations. We chose to start at the Hafnarhus (Harbor House), which focuses on modern Icelandic art.

Hafnarhus Reykjavik

Iceland is an isolated island in the middle of the North Atlantic which gets about thirteen seconds of sun during the winter. Unbroken darkness tends to make people a little eccentric, which perhaps explains why Icelanders have embraced the absurd in everything from fashion to politics to music. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise to discover that their modern art sits squarely in the realm of the surreal.

Even so, an exhibition which must be smelled? A video of people wearing hats pierced by long sticks, humming and muttering jibberish while a woman recites a poem in the background? A sound exhibition in the elevator which (according to its description) “produces a series of palimpsestic overlaps defined more by slips and discrepancies than by conjunctions”?

Most of the museum is dedicated to such weirdo temporary exhibits, but there’s a permanent collection featuring the work of Erró, Iceland’s most renowned postmodern artist. Erró concentrates in pop art, with heavy influences (and a lot of straight-up swiping) from the world of comics and Picasso. His pieces are strange, often political, occasionally perverted, and a lot of fun.

Location of the Hafnarhusid
Listasafn Reykjavíkur: Hafnarhusid – Website

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August 24, 2013 at 10:21 am Comments (0)
Reykjavk Street Art One of our favorite parts of moving to a new place is checking out the street art scene. We've come to learn that aspects of a city's personality will often be reflected in its graffiti and public art, so the work we saw in Reykjavík wasn't a total surprise. Extremely artistic, modern, intelligent and well-coordinated, Reykjavík's street art is clearly done with the property owner's permission. Perhaps a bit too nice for such an anarchic art form, but very Icelandic.
For 91 Days