I spent a few days at Dagur's farmhouse in mid July last summer. The house is a modest concrete structure with a single wooden step from the large gravel driveway up to the front door. The large entree is dark, the walls covered with dark blue overalls hanging on snags and a dark green rug. It looks like the entree of a skiing cabin somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The living room also has a dark interior, the shelfs are packed with books and there are paintings and old photographs on almost every wall.
I very quickly noticed a pink and black drawing (after examining the very spacious rabbit cage on the floor in the middle of house) hanging in a small grey frame above the kitchen door. It was an array of primary forms, intertwined, in light and dark ink, a symphony of positive and negative space in comfortable harmony.
Shorty after, I met Dagur. It was right before lunch. He came into the large kitchen with windows overlooking the wide and slow moving creek below the house. I greeted him in my traditional manner, I shook his hand and introduced myself. He just said hi and I'm almost sure that he smiled a tiny bit. Then he walked slowly over to the pale green countertop by the kitchen sink and poured himself a glass of water. He turned on the small silver colored radio (right before the midday news) that was in the window sill, by the heavy woolen curtains. Then he sat down at the wooden table with toast, Icelandic flatbread and sheep's liver paté.
I´m a sucker for nostalgic reflexions of moments like these. It felt like I had stepped back 30 years, into my grandparents kitchen, where life feels (for lack of better words) more real. Far from Facebook, social media, materialism or commercialism. I liked it a lot.
Later that year, in the fall, when we were preparing the first collection of Art Prints for Reykjavík Print, I remembered that drawing above the kitchen door. It wasn't difficult to persuade Dagur to let me publish his drawing and after a short conversation on the phone about the logistics of making it a reality, it was decided.
The view from Dagur's kitchen window in Hagi, Aðaldalur.
About Dagur's print:
Nr. 1, by Dagur Jóhannesson. Art Print: 50x70 cm/19.7x27.5 in. Published by Reykjavík Print, edition of 200. Ink on paper. Photographer: Pétur Jónasson. © Dagur Jóhannesson.