JÓNSI: HRAFNTINNA (OBSIDIAN): Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

August 1, 2022
Installation Views
Press release

Icelandic artist Jónsi rose to international acclaim as a member of the band Sigur Rós, and he has since expanded his genre-breaking musical approach into the visual arts.

Hrafntinna (Obsidian), (2021) is an experiential installation full of longing and appreciation for the Nordic landscape that powerfully demonstrates how non-visual senses can transport audiences to different places or trigger different memories.

Through sound, reverberation, smell and lighting, the artist evokes the sensation of being inside a volcano. Unable to witness the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland in spring 2021 due to the pandemic, Jónsi has imagined this unique event as a sixteen-channel composition, played across 195 speakers, accompanied by a sweet and smoky scent. Overhead, a single circular light alludes to the summit of the volcano, out of which sound and smell spill like lava, speaking to the intimate poetry of knowing or understanding a place through sense and memory.

Hrafntinna (Obsidian) is the world premiere of Jónsi’s artwork in a museum.