English artist, D*Face‘s contribution to the Iceland Airwaves/Urban Nation collaborative project, Wall Poetry is a piece matched with Agent Fresco’s “Wait for Me” and the 13th-century Icelandic saga, Laxdæla.
The saga tells a tale of a love triangle between the tall, heroic Kjartan; his cousin Bolli, and Guðrún Ósvífsdóttir, “the most beautiful woman ever to have grown up in Iceland,” whom a wise man predicts will have four husbands, three of which will die. The wise man also predicted that one day Bolli would stand over the dead body of Kjartan, so you can imagine how this goes. In brief, Kjartan (Guðrún’s third husband) leaves for Norway and Guðrún refuses to wait for him, marrying Bolli instead. Upon his return, Kjartan marries another woman and gives her a precious headdress that had been intended for Guðrún. Guðrún goads her husband into killing Kjartan, whose brothers avenge him by killing Bolli in turn.
At the end of the saga, Guðrún’s son, named Bolli after his father, asks his mother (now a hermit) who she loved most in her life. She replies “the one I treated the worst was the one I loved the best,” or “þeim var eg verster eg unni mest,” one of the most famous lines in Icelandic literature, and inscribed here on D*Face’s piece.
All photos taken January 2016 ©Karen Gardiner