surveys: Reykjavík
  • A working map at last!

    A working map at last!

    Here it is! After months making sense of my photos and my memories, plus scrutinizing everything I could find on the web about te murals...), today I got it right!: a neatly organized map of Reykjavík (thanks, Avenza Maps, for the app, an amazing tool!) where continuing to efficiently add the locations of Reykyavík's city art.

    Purple: Wall Poetry 2015

    Blue: Wall Poetry 2016

    Orange: other (mostly authoctonous) citicens' murals

    Red: murals adopted (I say 'abducted' to myself) by commercial establishments (I will introduce them in my next post)

    Yellow: 'the other' works of art

    The barely 29 works I have finally located today seem little thing for the quite a few months working on them, but now I have a good foundation to continue the task. And it will guide my steps in late October tfor good photos of Reykjavík city art with my Leica!

  • The green text, located and exposed

    The green text, located and exposed

    Thanks again, Google Earth for your amazing Street View!

    I have been very active in the last days progressing on a long term systematic effort I initiated a couple of months ago for precisely locating all the city art of Reykjavík known to me and the one I know about but have not met yet.

    And, as part of this effort, this week I went through a few virtual walks of Reykjavík on the Street View, quite useful, and one of them involved searching for the wonderful inverted green text I presented in my last post. I only approximately remembered the area where it was. So I went there on the Street View and took a street more or less chosen at random. Went up the slope, thinking that the green text could not be in this street, but possibly somewhere on the left of it (several minor streets not covered by Street View)..., but, suddenly, when I arrived at the end of my street... Oh, voila!!! I stumbled upon it!! What a surprise!!:

    Located!: exactly at the upper end of Bókhlöðustigur, where it intersects with Þingholsstræti.

    But, of course, there was another fantastic surprise: The text appears totally undercovered, without that structure that seemed an electrical facility, which blocked it when I met it, back in 2017. 

    And there it goes: I inverted the image, so we can read it (well, those of you who know Icelandic...) as if normally written:

  • the extraordinary

    the extraordinary

    The Craft Humanitas basic methodology is to discover by walking and seeing around, looking for the unexpected, which can arise at any turn. But sometimes the unexpected just traspasses a bit further beyond, where the extraordinary awaits... This happened on the eighth of September of 2017 in Reykjavík, when I stumbled upon this amazing composition: 1) a parking metter machine; 2) what seems an electricity infraestructure, painted with a big red 'hotel' sign and a grid representing black windows and entrance to it, and 3) a fascinating text written in green on the grey background. It took me a while to realize that it was mirrorlikely written, and, on top of that, part of it went beyond the electric facility!

    Just in front there was a (house or shop, do not remember) window, which I used to reveal the real text (and the artist must have taken this window into account when composing their work!).

    On all accounts, this is an incredibly ingeniously creative piece. Althoug one can not rule out the possibility that the two parts (green text and the hotel picture) do not belong to the same author or time..., but they constitute anyway a fantastic cluster of elements. I hope to find it again this year... 

  • discordant chords (3)

    discordant chords (3)

    Última entrega de esta serie de ejemplos reykjaviqueños del no tan fácil encaje del graffitti con las expectativas del conjunto de la sociedad cuando sale de su estado de semianonimato, se masifica y se atreve a mostrarse más públicamente. 

  • discordant chords (2)

    discordant chords (2)

    Many reflections can arise on this subject of the clashing interface between graffity and the established society’s understanding of good taste and and public-spiritedness. It may be naive for me to ask for aesthetic values in the graffitters’ creation (they are in their own right to pursue completely other aims, not interested in the artistic expression at all...), and, nevertheless, there are wonderfully beautiful features in them (more in some than others, I think). And, whatever their intents, the clash is there, a very real thing that has to be addressed. I am the less knowledgeable guy to be talking about these rather complex issues, anyway, and my website purports to be visual much more than argumentative, so, here are three more of my pictures of 2017 on the matter.

  • discordant chords (1)

    discordant chords (1)

    I said elsewhere that, during my 2017 visit to Reykjavík, for the first time, my eye got sight of those  instances where graffity do collide with, let’s say..., urbanity. I had seen in 2016 the classical manifestations of what many would find ugly, vandalic graffity, but those I saw then were in relatively secluded alleys or corners. Whether the more publicly ostentatious graffity were mainly absent at that time, or simply that I did not pay attention to them, I do not know... But certainly I did notice them in 2017. I devote three successive posts here to show those I photographed.

  • the petroglyph-ish graffiti

    the petroglyph-ish graffiti

    This is the image (September 28, 2016), included in the page ‘The line’ of my website, for which I found a connection with prehistoric petroglyphs. It was photographed in Ljósvallagata, the street that runs all along the back edge of the cemetery in central Reykjavík. And I found the same one again on September 7, 2017, in perfect state of conservation:

    But, again, there was still a picture of a second version of the same graffiti that I had taken in that same day of 2016, in the same street, very close to the site of the first one. The execution is slightly different, but it is obviously the same motif and, presumably, with apparently a high degree of probability, made by the same hand:


  • Ground floor reappearance

    Ground floor reappearance

    Given that urban (ground-level, if you wish) art is inherently ephemeral, my heart is always content to reencounter its gems in a new visit to Reykjavík, and this was certainly the case with this splendid ground-floor version, which I photographed on October 2, 2016 almost besides the bus terminal and the city airport (you see an airplane  taking off in the left). Let us call it (a).

    Until now I showed its photo in the page 'the line' of this website, but I had omitted (I will add it later on) a second example, (b), which was located only meters away. Here is the picture, taken on the same day:

    And here it was again the following year!!! (photo taken on the seventh of September of 2017):

    For adding here a precise note about their location, I looked today through Google Earth. Here is the information:

    And, finally, on a closer inspection of the Google Earth images, I was amazed to discover that they both can be seen there as two white stains on the darker surface of the pedestrian way:


  • disappearance and decay

    disappearance and decay

    Street artists know very well that one of the chief features inherent to their works is their very efemerality. In this photo, which I took on September 29, 2016 at one of the corners of the cozy Fógetagarðurinn square, in downtown Reykjavík, just besides the Settlement Exhibition, you see what I took as one of my favourite graffiti of the city, if you abstract it from its surroundings and consider only its aesthetic appeal as a creative work, although it was certainly rather impactfully placed (many would say insolently placed perhaps, but I think this location, together with its being the only piece in place, was an important part of its artistic allure).

    I was there again on September 7, 2017, and the view was completely different:

    Am I the only one who compares the two photos and sees the replacement as less than a shadow of the original? That piece of wall WAS truly a piece of art (of a sort). Now it was ONLY a wall tainted with grafitti.

    Besides, in this 2017 visit, my eye was a bit keener to pinpoint, besides the inherent brilliantly artistic quality of grafitti practice, its Mr Hide, sinister or ugly facet. You will see a few examples later on in this blog.

  • La última superfachada (por ahora)

    La última superfachada (por ahora)

    La última de las fotos del 2017 de mi monumento de poesía mural favorito de Reykjavík. Me quedó por editar después de mi entrada de hace una semana en este blog. Ahora, las que os presenté aquel día y esta de hoy irán a engrosar la página ‘fachadas en verso’.

  • A monument

    A monument

    This building is just that: a monument. Located at the west end of Vesturgata, it contains what is, by far, my preferred among Reykjavík’s grand mural poetry works: an incredible collection of three  masterpieces of a wonderfully inspiring beauty. No words needed.

    I visited this monument on the seventh of September of 2017, and, now equiped with my Leica (plus the editing skills I have been practising during this winter), I have greatly improved the quality and aesthetic value of the images, compared with those of the year before.

  • Another miniature

    Another miniature

    This is the second (and last) miniature I found in Reykjavík. Photo taken on the seventh of Sepptember of 2017. Unfortunately, in this case I did not take the precaution of noting or photographing the location!! (To be searched again in my next visit!!).

  • Traffic signs 2014

    Traffic signs 2014

    Yes, here is the famous photo that illustrates the home page of my website. I took it in Reykjavík (not sure where, I think it must have been in one of the streets in the North-East of Hallgrímskirkja, probably Bergþórugata, which several times I walked along) on the twenty-third of September of 2017 during my second visit to Iceland.

    There were more examples of this kind of traffic-sign high-culture bombing, two of which I photographed (next two pictures). They seemed to have totally vanished In my subsequent visits (2016 and 2017). Perhaps the authorities were unwilling to tolerate this form of illustrated vandalism... I think they were really cool, quite sensitively placed, with no sign of aggressive message, a kind of high cusine delicatessen in city vandalic art.



    AND TODAY I inaugurate the announced 'otros artistas' page!!!

    (from the menu bar below, go to 'the calling'→'pilgrimage'→'otros artistas')

  • Otros artistas

    Otros artistas

    I introduce you today to another of my great little friends in Reykjavík, one that exudes a particularly charm magic. I love him so much! The heading photo was taken on the thirtieth of September of 2016. You really must be quite attentive, and I am sure the finding of this fantastic little friend was a reward to my habit of walking around streets in slow-pace, relaxed manner. 

    I cannot really express the joy I felt the day I found it again in 2017. Again, I had only a general idea of the area of the city where I remembered having found the little soldier the year before. So I walked and walked..., and this time the search seemed particularly diffcult. But, then, suddenly, I recognized the colour of the house in the distance, walked towards it almost holding my breath back... yes, it was theeeeeeeeeere!!! My newer iPhone allowed me to take this closer look on September 7, 2017:

    And here (same day) is the location, next to the crossing of Njálsgata and Barónsstígur:

    As a necessary and just companion of ‘The line’ and ‘Fachadas en verso’, in brief I will add a new page, ‘Otros artistas’, dedicated to the other forms of creative expression to be found in the streets of Reykjavík.

  • The Culture House

    The Culture House

    (All pictures taken in early September, 2017)

    In 2013 I knew of the existence of the Culture House already, and was very keen to visit it, but we spent only a couple of hours in Reykjavík.

    In 2015 I was happy to get back to the city, eager to taste it calmly for several days. The Culture House was number one in my agenda. But I found it closed! They were preparing for new exhibition!

    It is a little house, just a house, but in 2016 I spent 4 hours and 40 minutes inside!

    In 2017 I came back and spent almost another 4 hours...

    Then, later on the day, I made a stupid mistake with my Leica and I DELETED all the Leica pictures of that day!

    So I repeated visit next day, this time for 2 hours and a half.

    I must be the person in the world that has visited this wonderful cultural venue for the longest! 

  • facades in verse

    facades in verse

    This is to announce the second big update of my website, which is an invitation to take an electronic tour with me through the streets of Reykjavík (September-October 2016) and marvel at some (not all: I will try to get to the rest in my next visit to the city) of the highly... lyrical! pictorial murals left by the two editions (2015 and 2016) of the Wall Poetry project, a collaboration between Urban Nation (an international network of street artists based in Berlin, now aiming at founding there the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art) and the Iceland Airwaves music festival, plus a few other pieces of highly worthy city art murals. No more words: take the walk with me and enjoy!

  • The uninterrupted flow of culture

    The uninterrupted flow of culture

    La línea es continuidad.

    As explained in p. 45 of the catalogue of the Points of View exhibition of Reykjavík's Culture House (edited by the National Museum of Iceland), "When examining the visual cultural heritage of Iceland it seems the age does not matter; it always contains different versions of the same type of imagery". The section "again & again" of Points of View focuses on the timeless repetition of patterns like the bine, interlaces (so prominent in the nordic and northatlantic cultures as many of you can easily recall), loops, knots...:"This pattern [the bine] had such a tenacious hold in Iceland that for a period of time a variety of it was referred to as the 'Icelandic style'".

    Yes, there is the line, here in Iceland infinitely expresssed through the centuries as an uninterrupted, seemingly infinite series of loops and interlaces. The line as the cultural link that joins all the past, present and future members of a cultural group around an endlessly shared pattern of worldviews. 

    And also the line joining them, through the vehicle of the written word, under the still wider umbrella of the ampler cultural realm to which those people are also, more remotely but still strongly enough, linked.

    It seems to me that the cohesive force of the line is self-evident too in the productions of the street artists of today's Reykjavík (and perhaps occassionaly foreign contributors to the same), as you can see in my selection of the photographs I made during my stay of Autumn 2016 in Iceland's capital. Put them together, old and new, and the link of culture throug the line is inescapably and intriguingly noticeable...

    Do you see continuity?

  • Shall we meet during my autumn-2016 Reykjavík mini-survey?

    I will visit only Reykjavík and only for a very few days, 28th of September to October the 2nd.

    It will be my thitd visit to Iceland, but the first one specifically conceived as a (very short!) survey on the themes of my humanist/artisanist/culturalist pilgrimage.

    Apart from visiting selected places and making photos, there may be opportunity to meet people.

    So, please, if you share my vision, if you find my enquiry appealing, and want to see me those days, drop me a few words from here or from the private contact form in this website, it will be great to meet you and exchange views!!

    I am particularly interested in knowing people with a passion for two skills deeply ingrained in the Icelandic collective DNA: if you are 1) a knitter (many of you are, I know!) or 2) a calligrapher or a scribe (this one may be harder to find...!?), deffinitely I am most interested in seeing you!!

    Or if you are simply whoever, just for chatting and having a drink or coffee... 

    So, just write a comment to this post or contact me via the private contact form.

    Takk fyrir!!