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Íslandsmerki

Íslandsmerki

Sigurjón Ólafsson


  • Year : 1972-1973
  • Height : 700 cm
  • Width : 740 cm
  • Category : Skúlptúr
  • Sub-category : Málmskúlptúr
My collection 

Hagatorg In 1969 the Reykjavík City Executive Council resolved to commission Sigurjón Ólafsson to submit a proposal for a monument to mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Republic of Iceland in 1944. The monument comprises five columns of copper plates, of varying height, standing on a concrete pedestal. The pillar is a central concept in all Sigurjón’s art, reflecting a number of influences: perhaps the “high-seat pillars” said to have determined the location of Reykjavík around 872 AD. The pillars, carved as likenesses of Norse gods, were flung overboard by Iceland’s first settler, Ingólfur Arnarson, thus placing in the hands of the gods the selection of a place to settle. He pillars were washed ashore at what would later become Reykjavík. Other pillar motifs include the sacred totem poles of indigenous people such as Native Americans; and many artists seeking to revolutionise the approach to form have found the pillar useful in simplifying their imagery. The pillar is also an ancient symbol of man, standing erect, alone and unsupported, vis-à-vis the spaces of the world. The pillar form is exemplified in a sculpture of a woman made by Sigurjón in 1939, in High-Seat Pillars located at Höfði House (1971) and many smaller-scale pieces. Emblem of Iceland is also one of Sigurjón’s many “group” pieces. He made, for instance, family groups in 1939, using one or more forms; and he made abstract group works comprising vertical components, horizontally connected in various ways. “Emblem of Iceland further explores the group concept where the link between forms in the work has ceased to be tangible and exists purely in the interplay and rhythmic harmony of the individual forms within the space” (Auður Ólafsdóttir: “Pillar to Emblem of Iceland,” Íslandsmerki og súlur Sigurjóns Ólafssonar/ Emblem of Iceland and other Columnar Works of Sigurjón Ólafsson).

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