Youth, 16 Letters from Iceland

Etching on handmade paper, 16 plates, 15×11 inch (paper size) 5 3/4 X 8 1/4 inch (image size) published by Two Cents Press, Serrezzano, Italy, printed by Franco Marinai, 3 editions+1 AP. March 2024

Along Highway 1 at the foot of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, 16 boulders were placed at the Information Point. The 16 volcanic rocks represent the letters of the Icelandic word - Eyjafjallajökull.  The volcano eruption in 2010 lasted six months and caused the highest interruption of air travel across the entire Europe.

Despite our advanced technologies that can detect the signs and forecast the eruption of volcanoes, the nature operates on its own timetable and with its own intensity.  After the often-violent events, rocks and ashes are deposited to the earth's surface from the deep center of our planet. We are curious about the world under the earth’s surface. Tunnels and wells were built, plenty of drill cores and cutting samples were extracted and collected in the labs.  Yet, the 16 rocks came from a place way beyond our reach.  They presented themselves with force, strength, roughness and somehow peculiar look.  Beside the rocks, a warning sign says  – Do not climb onto the rocks, they will crumble. These rocks are fragile, alive, and fresh, in fact, only 14 years old.

We look forward to the future because it is fresh and yet born. We think the future represents youth, because of the possibility of change.  We forget the most basic, not-yet-altered nature of ourselves.   That is the youth.  The 16 rocks are in unruly form and in the characters of their own. They have not been transformed.

Each of the rocks has been through its own journey, its own origin, and history. We have records of the four major eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in the past, occurring in 920, 1612, 1821, and 2010. Each eruption shaped the glaciers, mountains, and even the island significantly. The surface of the earth is covered by layers of ashes and rocks. The rivers of lava carried them all the way to the ocean. Youth doesn’t mean emptiness. Each rock leads to a larger narrative that is beyond the six months of eruption but a single indivisible island. Here are 16 rocks laying along the highway, and they are 14 years old today.  April 4, 2024

16 Charcoal drawings, 5 1/2 X 8 1/4 inch, Oct 2023