6.4.2024 — 15.9.2024

National Gallery of Iceland

Steina’s magnificent video and sound installation Borealis (1993) will be presented at the National Gallery for the first time since it was last shown in 1993, over three decades ago. Borealis, meaning “northern”, dates from a period when the artist turned her attention outside the studio to the natural world. Here, she returned to her native Iceland, where she made the field recordings Arctic flora, and of water cascading over rocks and soil that form the basis of the work. The videos are projected at an immense scale – each of the four screens measuring nearly four meters high – such that the viewer becomes immersed in a realm of turbulent images and polyphonic sound. Moving back and forth between clear focus and blur, the imagery seems by turns representational and abstract. The work has been called “an ode to nature and its elemental forces.”


Borealis was acquired by the National Gallery of Iceland and is part of the museum’s Vasulka Chamber, a center for the study of new media art. The center takes its name from the artists Steina and Woody Vasulka, who donated part of their archive to the museum.


Steina (Icelandic, b. 1940)

Borealis, 1993


Two-channel video with four-channel synchronized sound; 10-minute repeating loop. Borealis is in the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland.  This edition is a limited version approved by the artist in 2023.

Courtesy of Steina Vasulka, BERG Contemporary and Vasulka Foundation.

Photo: Steina, Borealis installation, 2023, House of Arts, Brno.

Treasures of Icelandic Art

The museum is open every day from 10AM — 5PM. Closed on Mondays during winter (1.10 — 30.4)