Marianne Dages, artist, book maker, and printer, lives in Philadelphia, PA and spent a month in Iceland at an artist residency last year. It was a transformative experience for her and left a lasting mark. When she explored the Fieldwork Map, in particular, Jökulsárlón, she couldn’t help but think of that time and remember…
“the feeling of something forgotten. a language understood in sleep”
I wrote this in my sketchbook the day after I’d arrived in Iceland, where I’d come to spend one month alone and make art in the Northern town of Siglufjordur. Everyday in the afternoon I would take a two hour walk on the paths that crisscrossed the mountain above the town. And during those walks I took photographs and collected objects I found.
Looking at the Fieldwork map, I was struck by how many similar experiences I shared with Amy and John’s travels and the bittersweet feeling those images gave me. I too filled my pockets with frayed cords and fishing hooks on long solitary walks. My shelves are lined with smooth banded stones and salt-bleached bone.
What compelled us as artists to seek out this land? The sublime and majestic imagery of Iceland, its achingly blue glaciers and quicksilver oceanic skies, is enough to give you vertigo, to feel your toes grip the sharp edge of the world.
Yet what did we find and what did we keep? The humblest of traces. the rune-like lines of twigs on snow, animal tracks, tiny bits of plastic and thread, every shape and color a trail back to the crisp visual memory of a beloved place and time. Something we’d forgotten, something we could now read again.
The Icelanders believed that the dead could be raised from a bone, just one vertebrae or fingertip. I found a delicate arched sheep’s rib on a black volcanic beach. I painted half of it white. I made thirty white clay bones, one for each day I spent in Iceland.
We thank you, Marianne.
Explore more locations and objects on the Fieldwork map: http://is.gd/fieldworkmap.