The sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893– 1982) designed, worked and lived in this beautiful building. The white dome structure is surrounded by Sveinsson’s sculptures. The inside of the building is inspired by vernacular Mediterranean architecture. Ásmundarsafn is by Iceland‘s National Stadium in Laugardalur.
The sculpture garden at Sigtún is dedicated to the works by Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982). It is also the point where the exhibition, ‘Under the Same Sky’ extends its view to some of the numerous outdoor pieces that the late sculptors have created and installed in Reykjavík and around and outside Iceland. The works in the exhibition are more meditative in comparison to the outdoor sculptures: smaller in scale, made of different materials, and three-dimensional studies to the enlarged works that Ásmundur realized in the end.
Art in public spaces is one of the museum’s program highlights in 2019. During the year, works by five artists will be featured at separate times in the exhibition ‘Under the Same Sky’ together with Ásmundur Sveinsson. These artists are Sigurður Guðmundsson, Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir, Jóhann Eyfells, Helgi Gíslason and Ólöf Nordal. Ásmundur Sveinsson was born in 1893. He grew up in the countryside, in Dalir, and started his art studies with sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson at the age of 22. He later studied art in Denmark, then Sweden and finally in Paris, France. Ásmundur is one of the pioneers of Icelandic sculpture. Upon his return to Iceland, he built two houses where he lived and had his studio.
Reykjavík Art Museum now runs a museum dedicated to his work in one of them, Ásmundarsafn in Laugardalur. Ásmundur sought inspiration in Icelandic myths and folktales, and in the forms of nature. Later, he became preoccupied with various technological novelties of the 20th century. Ásmundur was a prolific artist. His work can be seen in public places around the country, and this is in accordance with Ásmundur’s beliefs that the art is not meant for the chosen few, but a part of the everyman’s daily life. Ásmundur Sveinsson died in 1982, at the age of 89.
Jóhann Eyfells (b. 1923) first studied architecture and graduated in 1953. In 1964, he also graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts. In 1969, he was appointed Professor of Sculpture at the University of Central Florida and has lived in the USA ever since, mainly in Florida. Jóhann has gained considerable respect for his work and methods. He represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 1993 along with Hreinn Friðfinnsson. Early in the 1950’s, he started creating abstract sculptures which were based on experiments in physics and chemistry, particularly the transformation of metal against concrete. Through his experiments, Jóhann has developed a style which he calls “receptualism” where, according to him, three systems merge into one: Science, philosophy and mysticism.