Roni Horn: VATNASAFN / LIBRARY OF WATER
Ongoing - founded May 2007
For the past 25 years, the work of artist Roni Horn has been intimately involved with the distinctive geography, geology, climate, and culture of Iceland. Since her first encounter with the island as a young arts graduate, she has returned to Iceland for extended periods of time every year. Iceland has been both a muse and a medium, as well as a second home, to this most thoughtful and searching of artists.
For some time, Roni Horn cherished an ambition to realise a long-term project in Iceland, which could incorporate many of her abiding artistic concerns - with water and weather, identity and enlightenment. After a lengthy period of research, Artangel and Roni Horn realised a long-term installation, VATNASAFN/LIBRARY OF WATER, in the small town of Stykkishólmur on the southwest coast of Iceland. The Icelandic word 'Vatnasafn' can be translated as 'Library/Collection/Museum of Water'.
Horn developed the project for the community’s distinctive 1950s library building. Responding to the unique sense of place offered by the building, overlooking the ocean on one side and the harbour and town on the other, Horn envisaged the library as a kind of lighthouse that illuminates, magnifies, and reflects.
Consisting of a number of interconnecting elements, VATNASAFN/LIBRARY OF WATER is the artist’s most ambitious project to date. As the inaugural commission in Artangel’s new International Program, it sets a precedent for a small number of unique long-term projects in different parts of the world.
A book to complement the project, published jointly by Artangel and Steidl, is now available through the Steidl website. This book explores the various projects that comprise VATNASAFN/LIBRARY OF WATER and Roni Horn's longstanding fascination with Iceland through images and written contributions, including texts by Briony Fer, James Lingwood, Adrian Searle and Roni Horn.
This project was made possible with the support of the Artangel International Circle