At the top of Öskjuhlíð hill, right outside Perlan, stands an intriguing sculpture. The artist combines natural science and art in sustainable, creative ways.
Thermal Wight and impressive sculptures
The sculpture Thermal Wight (1988) was originally set up at Krýsuvík but now stands at Perlan, Reykjavík. The artist, Robert Dell, was awarded a Fulbright research grant to design a sculpture relating to geothermal energy. Dell is a pioneer in creating sustainable art and aims to work in harmony with nature. His knowledge and experience as an engineer have proved useful in this regard, to solve various technical issues.
In his work, Dell aims to make Earth’s natural forces visible and tangible. His sculptures often express nature’s variability, winds, and currents. To achieve this, he works with material which reacts quickly to changes in temperature, such as copper. Dell also uses the reflection of light in crystals as a reference to natural forces. He has described his work as technical, material systems that form artificial biomes.
Meet the artist
Robert Dell (born in 1950) is a renowned professor of engineering and applied science. He has dedicated his career to research and development in fields of engineering and sustainable energy. In recent years, he has participated in various innovative projects. Dell has also lectured at prestigious Universities around the world. In Iceland, he has been a guest lecturer at the University of Iceland and Keilir Institute of Technology in Suðurnes.
Dell designed a number of sculptures in the 1990s. His art can now be found in various public spaces in the United States – in Yellowstone and at Universities around the country such as Harvard, MIT, and Tufts. Some of his artwork has found home in Iceland – at Geysir, the Reykjavík Art Museum, in Krýsuvík and at Perlan.
Explore artwork in Reykjavík on your smartphone
The Reykjavík Art Museum recently introduced a new app called Reykjavík Art Walk. It allows anyone to explore all the artwork that the museum attends to in the city; about two hundred pieces. The app offers new ways to enjoy art. Users can access information, images, audio guides, and art-related games to get to know the artwork and artists. The app can also guide users to nearby public art locations.
The Reykjavík Art Walk app is free to download for Android and iOS.
Thermal Wight at Perlan: A sculpture by Robert Dell