• Ragna-Robertsdottir

Lava Landscape

Ragna Róbertsdóttir 1999

Ragna Róbertsdóttir belongs to a generation of artists who reconsider the traditional interpretation of landscape in the Icelandic art history. Since the late 1990s, Ragna has used natural material in her art such as lava, turf or glass that sometimes hails from the very landscape it is meant to express. The landscape, the model, appears in the material itself instead of the actual imagery. Ragna's pieces of Mt. Hekla do not depict the stratovolcano in the way it has been depicted in so many landscape paintings. Ragna walks all the way to the lava and uses it as a medium in her pieces in the form of pumice, red scoria and lava rocks. The composition of the material and the subject matter becomes unique within the strict frame of her works.


Although Ragna's art appears minimalistic in its presentation, clear personal lines can be detected in her subject matters that are characterized by a closeness to the landscape and the natural forces. In this regard they are similar to works of environmental artists that pulled the landscape into the exhibition space in the 1960s and 70s by moving natural materials such as rocks, twigs or soil into the rooms. Ragna usually gives her works a certain space in relation to their surroundings and situates them in accordance with the building where they are being exhibited. Within her frame she allows the material to be free by throwing it on to an adhesive surface. This method creates something reminiscent to the unique Icelandic building method of using natural materials as cladding, i.e. the National Theatre next to the Culture House which is covered in ground obsidian.