The installation of glass birds, given the title ‘Migration’, is suspended on cables from the ceiling, decorating the main hallway of the 5,300 square metre, $45 million facility in downtown Seattle. The museum is the largest in the United States to honour the legacy of immigrants from five Nordic countries.
Executive director of the Nordic Museum, Eric Nelson, travelled to the Faroe Islands in 2016, as part of a trip to get input on the new facility from Nordic cultural partners.
“I had heard about Tróndur’s work in 2013, when he was part of the Nordic Cool exhibit at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., but I had not seen the art in person until this visit,” Nelson recalls.
During his visit, Nelson was invited to visit Tróndur’s studio, housed in a 900-year-old structure with a spectacular view of grassy tundra and surrounding sea.
“I was so impressed by him and his studio. The metaphors he was talking about – migration and journeys and the sea – match the themes of the new Nordic Museum. And of the many things Seattle has in common with the Nordic countries is a strong glassmaking tradition, so it fit perfectly.”
Tróndur is pleased with the exhibit in the Nordic Museum, particularly the lighting conditions.
“Light is, perhaps, one of the most important elements needed to enjoy the birds properly,” he says. “The response from people has been wonderful, and the great thing about this exhibit is that it is not temporary, but permanent.”
The surface of the birds – many with wingspans of up to 2 metres – are translucent but artfully coloured, like stained glass. Tróndur cuts, paints and kilns each bird individually, in a process that takes about one week.
Of the birds, Tróndur says: “They are all different. You can come in and choose a bird to follow. You can say, ‘I’m the yellow one.’ This way, you can be free, like a bird. The birds bring nature inside. They give the building a soul.”
This article was originally published on Faroeislands.fo
Words: Levi Hanssen
Image credits: Crosscut.com