• Ólöf Nordal

Iceland Specimen Collection - Daughter and Father

Ólöf Nordal 2010

Something seems a little off in Ólöf Nordal's photograph of father and daughter. The daughter seems much older yet more alive than the father who sits rigid in a chair with his shiny and smooth skin. Why is the father so young and why does he appear so odd? On closer inspection the father is a wax figure preserved in the National Museum's storage rooms which makes it possible for the daughter to stand next to her father as a grown woman, many years after his passing. This father and daughter rendezvous is inspired by an old story of a man who when travelling in the mountains walks upon the body of a young man that had been preserved in the ice for decades. As he observes the body he realizes he is looking at his father who was killed when he was still in the womb. So they meet for the first time, the father just over twenty years old and the son almost seventy, something completely unnatural.


Although wax figures are only replicas and do not accommodate any real communication, a visit to the wax museum that depicts figures of celebrities has been a popular sport all over the world for a long time. From 1951 to 1971 Icelanders had a chance to observe 19 famous Icelanders and 15 historically famous foreigners as wax figures in the National Museum. These wax figures were created in the memory of a young sailor killed at sea. His family then gave the Icelandic state the collection. His wax figure is also on display in this exhibition.



LÍ 8641

The National Gallery of Iceland