Stunning 40-page hardback book & CD entitled Gapassipi, a 1995 sound installation by Magnús Pálsson (b. 1929) edition of 200, each signed and numbered by Pálsson himself Gapassipi. With an oeuvre constituted by book art, sculpture, sound poetry, and performance, Magnús Pálsson is considered one of the most influential proponents of interdisciplinary, Fluxus-adjacent practices in Iceland during the late 20th century. With connections to non-Icelandic artists such as Dieter Roth, Philip Corner, and Robert Filliou, Pálsson promoted transnational cross-collaboration, aiming to break Iceland's cultural isolation from the broader world.
Gapassipi (1995) was installed in the then-recently constructed Reykjavik City Hall, which is situated on the lake Tjörnin in central Reykjavik. Exhibited from February 25th - March 10th, the work was commissioned from Magnus Pálsson by the Icelandic branch of the Nordic Visual Arts Association to coincide with a meeting of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Gapassipi installation featured a 30-sq. meter, triangular formation of broken glass laid upon the floor, level with the lake, as well as eight loudspeakers positioned throughout the space, emanating two vocal tracks pre-recorded by Pálsson.
The first track consisted of Pálsson reciting vignettes from his memories surrounding Tjörnin. The second comprised, in Pálsson’s words, a loosely chanted “appeal to the gander of the lake.” The gander in question, the Greylag Goose, is one of several bird species that frequent Tjörnin yearly, and whose V-shaped migration pattern was evoked by the triangular array of glass upon the floor of the City Hall.
The most distinguishing attribute of Gapassipi is that both texts were written and recorded by Pálsson not in regular Icelandic, but rather the colloquial “P-Language,” a secret language spoken between Icelandic children in efforts to avoid adult comprehension.
Text: Magnús Pálsson, Adam Buffington
Translations: Anna Sigurveig Magnúsdóttir, Frances Cowan, Magnús Pálsson, Páll Magnússon, Tumi Magnússon, Vera Pétursdóttir
Photos: Frances Cowan
Design: Tumi Magnússon
Help: Ráðhildur Ingadóttir, Åse Eg Jørgensen
Print: Laser Tryk, Copenhagen
CD Production: Myndbandavinnslan, Reykjavík