reykjavik-iceland

Hallgrímur Helgason, History of Icelandic Literature, Vol. IV, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 63 3/4 x 51 1/8".

Hallgrímur Helgason

Tveir Hrafnar Listhús

Hallgrímur Helgason, History of Icelandic Literature, Vol. IV, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 63 3/4 x 51 1/8".

Perhaps no other place on earth can claim to be more genuinely extraterrestrial than Iceland, and perhaps no other language sounds, when spoken, as though it were being made up by the speaker as he or she goes along. The country is an island with a small population base—there are no secrets, and one almost expects the existence of telepathy. The transcendental lurks around every corner, and enlightenment hides just over every hill. This all adds up to hyperliteracy: Iceland, the homeland of the saga, has the world’s highest per capita consumption of books.

Hallgrímur Helgason is a Reykjavík novelist, graphic artist, and painter whose newest canvases manage to encapsulate the sensation that in both the capital city and country at large, one is not so much amid a population as amid one big and highly melancholic Glass family from Franny and Zooey—and that they’ve all been

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