7th May 2022
Himinglæva inaugurated at Harpa square.
Artwork by Elín Hansdóttir.
The selection of artwork at Harpa square has a long prelude and is part of a revived work that took place in the design process of the area around Harpa before the actual construction of the building began. According to a proposal from the Reykjavík Art Museum, the artwork Himinglæva by Elín Hansdóttir was chosen. The artwork is a gift from the state and the city to Harpa on the occasion of the building's 10th anniversary.
About the artist
Elín Hansdóttir is an Icelandic artist based in Reykjavík and Berlin and she currently holds a residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien for the years 2021-2022. She holds a BA from Iceland Academy of the Arts and in 2006 she received her MA from Kunsthochschule Weissensee in Berlin. Some of her recent shows include Open Studios at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany (2021), Iðavöllur: Icelandic Art in the 21st Century at the Reykjavík Art Museum in Reykjavík, Iceland (2021), Latent Shadow, and Portal at Harbinger Gallery in Reykjavík, Iceland (2020), and Glass and Concrete - Manifestations of the Impossible at Marta Herford in Herford, Germany (2020).
More about the artwork Himinglæva—a stainless-steel sculpture designed to produce sonic overtones as the wind travels through it—is an Aeolian harp based on a Lissajous figure, representing the shape of light beams reflected through vibrating tuning forks. The sculpture produces diverse sounds based on the force of the wind traveling through it, thereby directing the viewer’s attention to natural phenomena like the air around them. In Norse mythology, sailors who sensed the power of the wind and waves around them assumed that the mythical figure Himinglæva (meaning transparent, shining, and small wave) was embodying the water and propelling their vessels across the ocean. Alluding metaphorically to this legend, the harp is designed to attune the viewer to the natural forces around them through aesthetic means. Hansdóttir’s works often leverage visual distortions to heighten the viewer’s awareness of their own presence in relation to the artwork. Expanding on this idea, Hansdóttir plays with sonic distortions (produced by arbitrary weather conditions) to explore the sculpture's capacity to filter the natural environment and channel the viewer's attention towards it. In prompting viewers to "listen" to the land and contemplate their situatedness with their natural surroundings, the sculpture emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between people and nature.