We visited Iceland after my graduation in May, and the highlight of the trip for me was visiting this tiny museum on the outskirts of Reykjavik. The museum is dedicated to the artist Ásmundur Sveinsson (b.1893) with a complete retrospective of his lifetime of work, and displays his artistic development with volumes and volumes of sketches. When the process sketches were placed alongside the sculpture it was a comprehensive experience of his work.
His house, which he designed himself, was transformed into the museum. The house is a nod to his interest in the Bauhaus and is a sculpture in itself. Fun fact alert: a view from above shows the footprint of the house makes a smiley face.
Sveinsson’s most famous work is the Water Carrier, which is placed in downtown Reykjavik. He is considered a pioneer of sculpture in Iceland and much of his work was created for use in public space. Throughout his life he remained true to the belief that art should be created for the people, and therefore be among them.
In the sculpture garden outside the museum, I found this. Sveinsson created a form that uses its negative space so beautifully and fluidly that I had to move around to each angle to see how it framed the garden around his house.
From the curator’s text: “To Sveinsson the eternal search for the essence of the subject is one of the most important attributes of each artist… and to emphasize this point he often quoted the words of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin: ‘There is no such thing as beauty, only the search for beauty.’ But Sveinsson added – from his own heart – that the search itself knew no boundaries.”