The National Nordic Museum will present an immersive artwork created by Jónsi (Jón Þór Birgisson), lead singer of the world-famous Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. Created specifically for the Museum, the artwork will be the focus of Jónsi’s first museum exhibition in the United States.
The exhibition highlights the natural connections between the coastal cities of Seattle and Reykjavik, which became sister cities in 1986. Changing environmental conditions within the gallery will engage the visitors’ senses of hearing, sight, and smell to transport them to the ocean.
Composed for the installation, Jónsi’s mellifluous music will be played through speakers that engulf the room with spatialized surround sound. This audio installation, augmented by a choir composition and field recordings, simulates the experience of a wave traveling the length of the gallery. The scent of seaweed harvested from both the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, will be tinctured, distilled, and dispersed through the room. The darkened gallery filled with mist and fog engages the audience’s inner visualization, while a thin strip of light overhead moves with the sound wave.
This exhibition is curated by Leslie Anne Anderson, Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs, National Nordic Museum.
Since the 1990s world-renowned interdisciplinary artist Jónsi has produced ethereal sounds through an astute aesthetic that combines the minimal, the classical, and the progressive. Jónsi initially gained international recognition as the lead vocalist for the Icelandic experimental rock band Sigur Rós, whose unique sounds have been equated with the sublime. Jónsi’s unequivocal vocal and instrumental approach have expanded the boundaries of musical genres, rendering him one of the leading musical artists of our time.
Outside of Sigur Rós, Jónsi has cultivated a latticework of other interconnected music projects, inclusive of solo works and collaborations. In 2009 he and partner Alex Somers released the landmark ambient album Riceboy Sleeps, which they followed up in 2019 with Lost & Found. In 2018 Jónsi, Alex Somers, and Paul Corley formed Liminal, whose ambient soundbath events have been hosted at art spaces across the world to high critical praise. In 2019 he formed the musical duo Dark Morph with Swedish composer Carl Michael von Hausswolf.
Over the past two decades Jónsi has collaborated with musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers to create a robust body of work across disciplines. Working with such leading creative figures as Doug Aitken, Cameron Crowe, Merce Cunningham, Olafur Eliasson, and Carl Michael von Hausswolf, Jónsi’s artistic collaborations have resulted in prestigious awards and critical acclaim.