Ragna Robertsdottir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1945. While her works may appear quiet and austere, they are in fact deeply involved with primordial forces and energetic patterns. Iceland is one of the most geologically volatile places on earth, a country continuously in commotion with seismic and volcanic activity. By collecting and using natural materials such as basalt, lava-stone and shells, Robertsdottir harnesses the power of her native landscape. In her ‘lava landscapes’, for example, she flings handfuls of lava-stones at the wall to create beautiful, monochromatic wall-paintings that owe a clear debt to serial minimalism, but also gently undermine it with their speckled surfaces created from thousands of uniquely-shaped stones. The stones also collapse the distance between the gallery and the place she collected them so that, rather than representing Iceland’s landscape, she presents gallery viewers with the landscape itself. And by determining the dimensions of her works based on the spaces they occupy, she makes sure that nature and architecture are inextricably linked. Her controlled technique shows a contemplative, affectionate relationship with her homeland; she carries Iceland with her wherever she goes. In doing so, she creates a unique form of geological minimalism, in which something quiet and beautiful emerges from nature’s most violent forces.
Robertsdottir is one of Iceland art’s most respected contemporary figures. She has shown at every major institution in her home country. She has also shown extensively in Scandinavia, Western Europe, the United States and Asia. Her work is held in several public collections in Europe. She lives and works between Berlin and Reykjavik.