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VATNASSAFN/LIBRARY OF WATER

September 3, 2010

TITLE: Vatnasafn/Library of Water, Stykkisholmur, Iceland

ARTIST: Roni Horn

MATERIALS: Water, glass columns

MOVEMENTS & SYLES: Conceptual ArtMinimalism

‘The Library’ is many things at once, but at heart it’s an archive: housed in an old, modern-styled library in the small, western coastal town of Stykkishólmur, it comprises twenty-four glistening tubes of water which descend from the ceiling like a phalanx of stalactites and contain hundreds of litres of water tapped from the island’s melting glaciers. A pale, khaki-colored version of Horn’s signature rubber matting covers the floor to provide a ground for them, and incised into it are words in English and Icelandic which might almost describe both people and weather (“foul, torrid, sultry…”).

It’s a place to document where weather and humanity meet, one which reaches out to its audience like a flaring beacon: a beacon on a hill for locals, for whom it shall now serve as a community center…; a warning beacon of environmental change, one which will be boosted by ‘The Library’s excellent website, which contains an archive of the locals’ stories of their experiences of the weather; and also a beacon lit to signal the beginning of the new international outreach by London’s Artangel (Horn’s ‘Library’ is the first fruit of the new commissioning fund that the organization has established to enable them to launch projects overseas).

(Written by Morgan Falconer)

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