Some Iceland Photos: Richard Serra

I went to Iceland a couple of weeks ago, and I just put some photos up on flickr from the trip.

This one is of Afangar, a sculpture/installation by Richard Serra. The tops of these squared off basalt columns are level, but one column is 4m high, while the other is 3m. The distance between them, then, is determined by the slope of the land.

Serra placed nine pairs of colums around the periphery of one half of Videy, this island in the Reykjavik harbor, and some of them are quite close together; others, like these, are far apart.

The main feature as you walk, though, is bird droppings. When I first visited Videy in 1994, it was November, and except for a couple of Icelandic horses, I was alone on the island. This time, though, the place was teeming with sea birds, and the faint trail through the grass was chock full of tern turd. When you’d inadvertently get too close to an invisible nest, the birds would get really agitated. One nest was right next to the trail, and we didn’t see it until the mother flew out from underfoot and startled us. A lot of the Serra columns on the leeward side of the island are topped with a crown of guano, but the windward side is pretty clear.

It surprised us to see Olafur Eliasson’s Blind Pavilion from the 2004 Venice Biennale perched on top of the hill above the ferry dock, though. Apparently, they installed it there in early 2005 as part of his show at the National Museum. It looks like a gun turret up on there, though.