The Tapestry

May 6, 2007 entry:  Land of Fire and Ice


  I have always been intrigued by geography and meteorology. The two are not separate as one can influence the other depending on the confluence of events. The Earth was formed due to a perfect confluence of events and voila, here we are!  Yet, billions of millennia later, there are still remnants of The Beginning that influence our lives today.

  It is important to approach life in an archeological manner as to merely scratch the surface will leave one in a more clouded position than before. There is too much out there to investigate and understand as our survival as a civilized species depends on intellectual exercise.

  A current exhibit by contemporary artist, Katrina Moorhead at the Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, explores the raw yet pregnant land of Iceland. A Thing Called Early Blur, highlights “Iceland’s natural landscape and urban scene, revealing beauty and authenticity as they throw each other into sharp relief.” – exhibition catalogue 

Our natural environments affect us all; it makes us unique and complex. Iceland, however, seems more embedded in The Primal than most of the world. Sitting on the mid-oceanic ridge, Iceland is eye- witness to the American and Eurasian tectonic plate spread. In turn, its geography, terrain and atmosphere are otherworldly.

   Consisting of installations, photographs, sculptures and drawings, A Thing Called Early Blur, (Icelandic hallucination myth), is the result of Moorhead’s Reykjavik residency.  Volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, the terrain and effects thereof on the human psyche provides ample material for one to become enchanted and inspired by its raw beauty. Many of her post- Earthworks creations highlight the urban scene, as Iceland is a popular tourist destination. It is quite understandable: where else can one live in close range of and observe the movement an active tectonic plate?

  These natural phenomena are infused within the art of contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson.  His post-Earthworks/atmosphericadts installations for major international museums such as The Mediated Motion for Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2001 and The Weather Project for Tate Modern, 2003-04, established him as a unique artist- Impressionism in 3-D- and Olafur’s recent 2007 Joan Miro award is well earned.  It will be an artistic exercise to view his upcoming 2007 retrospective, Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson. Academia survives!

  I am reminded of my college years, when I first became acquainted with the Icelandic group, The Sugarcubes. Headed by the sublime beauty of Bjork., her voice and style that permeated Life’s Too Good, 1988, was as if she was an ancient sprit released from the subterranean ridge to the world. In her visceral discography, Debut, 1993, Post, 1995, Homogenic, 1997, Vesperine, 2001, Medulla, 2004 and Volta, May of 2007, we hear the voice of Hekla herself. In fact, Homogenic was Bjork’s creation of the voice of Iceland.

  To have experienced the birth, growth and evolution of Bjork is just a microcosm of how Iceland bears witness to the evolution of our world and how we are equipped to chart our own evolution in a civilized yet savage world.


Gabrielle Lin