Heitir reitir/Hot Spots: Reykjavík museum of photography 2005

Most people brave enough to travel in Iceland during the winter will eventually come upon a curiosity -- a glowing skeleton of a building shining in an otherwise dark landscape. In a country where winter brings only a few short daylight hours, artificially lit and heated greenhouse are required to provide fresh produce. In her series, Heitir Reitir / Hot Spots, Bára Kristinsdóttir highlights the beauty sheltered within these oases, and that which is found in their interaction with the Icelandic landscape.
The images in Heitir Reitir explore contrasts: heat and cold; light and darkness; lushness and sterility. The bright, yellow greenhouses appear to sweat, despite being surrounded by the snow and blue light of winter. The graphic human shapes of the greenhouse frames are set against the chaos of the plants within and the softness of the snow without. Kristinsdóttir’s photographs draw the viewer’s attention to these disparities through their careful composition and attention to detail. For example, keen observers will note that even in some of the abandoned, snow-covered buildings, there are still signs of growth. Despite broken glass and patches of snow on the ground, there is enough remaining heat and light for some plants to survive. In much of this series, Kristinsdóttir plays with this tension. Even in her studies of the plants themselves, there are often hints that these are hothouse flowers -- the steel, glass and artificial light surrounding them is often just visible in the background.
Though Kristinsdóttir often draws attention to the inherent contrasts of greenhouses in a cold environment, the images are more focused on harmony than discord. In some images, the greenhouses seem to become almost part of the environment; their frames encrusted in ice and covered in snow. Even in images where there is a pronounced difference between the tropical interior and the arctic exterior, there is a less of a sense of embattlement than of anomaly. These hot spots do not appear to be under siege. While uncharacteristic of the surrounding environment, they seem to be right at home in this snowy world. Perhaps this is a metaphor for the country itself -- a cold, arctic island with a warm, volcanic heart.

Stuart Richardson

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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography R
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography R
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm
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Reykjavik museum of photography
R print 100 cm. x 120 cm