Client: The City of Reykjavik
Location: Reykjavík, Iceland
Done with Eladioramm
Collaboration: Andri Snær Magnason
Sjávarmál is an outdoor artwork located along the Sculpture and Shore Walk in Eiðsgrandi, Reykjavik. The project was chosen as a winning proposal in an open competition among 70 entries in 2020. It was completed in 2021. The artwork was funded by RVK and is owned by Reykjavik Art Museum. The work consist of an is an in-situ concrete cast sound-mirror that is placed on an artificial hilltop along the harbour-walk in Reykjavik. The dark colored concrete is a result of the aggregate and pigment used from the local basalt rock in Iceland. In front of the sculpture is a text written by the Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason. The side facing the ocean is smooth like a water washed stone, reflecting the voice of the ocean. The side facing the city is rugged and rough like a lava field, absorbing the noise. The ambient sound of the sea changes with the shifting tide, wind, seasons and moon phases. The sculpture is made out of three basic elements of architecture; The wall, the floor and the step. The rectangular wall-like structure has a sphere cut into which amplifies the soundwaves from the sea. The sphere suggests eternity while the rectangle it is embedded in, is grounded in its human scale. The wall conceals and reveals. The step invites and creates an entrance. The floor extends into the horizon and defines a space for contemplation. Sjávarmál marks an entrance to the ocean; a cosmic communicator that encourages you to listen.The word «Sjávarmál» has its origin in the old norse language and consist of the two words “sjávar” and “mál”. Sjávar (sjár) means sea and the word mál (level, voice) has multiple meanings. One has to do with level, quantity, size, measurement and matter. Mál also refers to a spoken language, a voice. The other area of meaning has to do with the passing of time, or an event taking place in time. In German Sjávarmal translates into Meeressspiegel, (mirror of the sea), which refers to the rising sea level. Both as in tidal flow and as a result of melting glaciers due to climate changes. The abmiguitity of the title is also reflected in the work itself. The sculpture has a physical statement through its size, placement and materiality. Its monolithic character highlights the contrast between manmade and nature, and acts as a reminder of how the sea-level and acidity in the ocean is constantly rising due to human activity on earth. Through sound, tactility and scale, the sculpture seeks to evoke a sensing awareness of our body, immediate surroundings and our relationship with nature and the changes that are taking place in it. The objective of the project was not only to place a sculpture in an outdoor space. It was about connecting it to the surrounding environment, and making the space into a spatial experience. A wholeness.