Probably I won‘t be wrong by stating that there is little or almost nothing that most of us know of Icelandic design, especially graphic design. Maybe it is so due to the country’s geographical situation or Icelanders‘ Nordic character, but definitely not because design worth to be noticed does not exist in Iceland, is drowned in a geyser steam or got covered with Icelandic moss. The heroine of the article confirms its existence and enriches the space of contemporary design with a mysterious Icelandic touch.
Katrin Olina Petursdottir was born in Iceland, but acquired education during the studies of product design in Paris E.S.D. I University; she collaborated with Philippe Starck. She also got involved in art installations. Katrin employs a multidisciplinary approach. She does not restrict herself to one plane of expression – her activities include product design, interior design, textile design and, of course, illustration. She also collaborates with fashion designers, enlivening their pieces with her graphics. After establishing a company Katrin Olina ltd, the author released a limited number of likable items – scarves, decorated with graphics, porcelain products, even snowboards and helmets. Attractive.
However, my eye was first caught by illustrations and installations, which are dominated by paranormal creatures, in their nature resembling of fictional characters from Scandinavian legends of forest. Owls, toothed, dwarf-like creatures, dark verdure. That‘s what one of the latest author‘s works is like – a large installation in the premises of Reykjavik Art Museum, entitled ‘‘Euelenspiegel“, which means ”An Owl’s mirror“. It consists of 85 square meter drawing, two animation videos (created together with CAOZ, a group of animators from Reykjavik) and a mirror. As the author states, this installation, with the help of the mirror, conveys oppositions, such as positivity/negativity, birth/death, etc.
I see this work a place at the border between real and imagined space, both in the viewer’s mind and the museum space. — K. Olina
Yet, the author has some totally different works in her portfolio, breathing with pastel colours, for example, the interior decor in Cristal Bar, Hong Kong. More than 110 square meters of the surface of its premises are covered with Katrin Olina‘s drawings, providing the space with an inexperienced authenticity. In addition, this project has won in Forum Aid Awards for Interiors 2009 in Stockholm design week. Similarities to Cristal Bar‘s decor could be found in her illustrations for Tales of the Brother Grime, newly published by Die Gestalten Verlag.
Most importantly – there is some luscious satisfaction to the eyes, eager for graphic good, as they are drawn profoundly into the world, belonging to mystical creatures and colours. This world evokes sights of rigorous Icelandic nature, which, together with dreams, mythology and history are the main sources of inspiration for Katrin. Some time with the northern lights too.
Artist’s portfolio here.