A simulation of the cavernous depths of a volcano, via musician and artist Jónsi (the one from Sigur Rós).
Hrafntinna (Obsidian) emerged from the time Jónsi was stuck in America during the pandemic, feeling disconnected from the lifeforce of Iceland, his homeland. From afar, he saw news of the spectacular eruption of Fagradalsfjall on 19 March 2021, not far from Reykjavik. Dormant for nearly 800 years, the volcano awoke with weeks of seismic tremors and spewed lava for six months; images captured by locals drew international attention and awe, while Jónsi yearned for home.
Jónsi is celebrated for his sublime work as lead vocalist of Sigur Rós, the experimental rock band. For two decades, his collaborations with other musicians, artists and filmmakers have grown into a body of work that crosses disciplines and resists neat distinctions between music, art and performance. Alongside this installation’s genesis came Obsidian: a new solo album by Jónsi, and another part of his distant tribute to the eruption. These new compositions conjure a blasted landscape alive with volcanic energy—a real flex of his considerable talents. Rocks grind. Lava hisses. And a new four-part choral hymn draws inspiration from Icelandic choirs.
Now at Mona, Jónsi places us inside Fagradalsfjall. You may feel yourself surrounded by his private wrenching sense of dislocation from home, externalised through sound and smell, even bodily vibration.
What purpose might be served by Jónsi co-opting us into his ritual of longing and wonder for the heaving mountain? We’re not sure yet. David bought the artwork for Mona in 2022. This is the first time we’ve put it out on display.