The Lay of the Land

There’s something different about Iceland, and it’s not just throat singing or reindeer. Two recent projects—a topographical blanket from the collective Vík Prjónsdóttir and High Plane (top), an Arctic installation created by Katrín Sigurðardóttir (bottom)—point to the singular landscape as a fruitful preoccupation of the country’s artists and designers.

Vík Prjónsdóttir’s Iceland-centric endeavors include the blanket, which renders the island’s volcanic south in masses of earth-colored wool; a moustache cap; and a full-body “seal pelt.” “The idea was to play with the image of the country,” says Hrafnkell Birgisson, one of the group’s five designers. “The designs reflect in various ways the specific relationship with the weather, the sea, and the mythology.”

Sigurðardóttir’s project, on display through the end of this month at the National Gallery of Iceland, in Reykjavík, takes a colder view, miniaturizing the seascape into a sweeping three-dimensional vista of blue insulation foam and white paint. Curious museumgoers can climb a ladder and poke their heads into her abstract glacial world.