New Delhi: With Iceland being the guest country at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month, a prelude is trying to acquaint the Indian publishing and literary fraternity with the European island nation's culture and literature.

'Fabulous Iceland: Portraits of Contemporary Icelandic Authors' and art exposition 'Cognitive Fluidity' have brought to India snapshots of the nation at the Max Mueller Bhavan from September 9-17.

“Iceland is the guest country of the Frankfurt Book Fair while Indian publishing is the trade spotlight at the prestigious book carnival,” a spokesperson for the German Book Office, which is coordinating the showcase said.

The prelude to the Oct 12-16 Frankfurt Book Fair is screening movies from Iceland. Of special interest is the exhibition of mixed media art by India-based artist and architect Gudjon Bjarnason, a native of Iceland.

Bjarnason, who divides his time between Puducherry, Bangalore, Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) and New York, works for three leading fashion houses in India and designs commercial buildings in southern India.

He blends his Indian sensibilities and 20 years of experience in American and Nordic art to create sculptures, abstract drawings and digital prints.

He sculpts in metal. “I use at least seven different kinds of explosives like C4, nitrate-based explosives and Flex-X to blast and distort metals to create new forms that represent chaos. I am interested in political instability, media manipulation and terrorism which is a part of the geo-political landscape in my mixed media and
solid art,” Bjarnason said.

“I like India. It is a marvel of an inspiration. I like the way art and architecture come together in India,” Bjarnason said.

Complementing Bjarnason's art is a selection of Nordic literature by contemporary writers from Iceland which exhibit a 'similar sense of chaos (seen in modern Icelandic art) and a pre-occupation with history and changing human relations; typical to the Nordic perceptions.

The authors whose lives and works are on display in biographical documents and books include Thor Vilhjalmsson, Nobel Laureate Halldor Laxess, Einar Karason, Jon Kalman Stefansson and Hallgrimur Helgason.

Iceland is also home to the famous 'Sagas: the 13th century manuscripts', a series of important literary and historical documents which trace the lives of its indigenous people during a tumultuous time when the Vikings were changing the shape of society across northern Europe- and Catholicism and paganism were clashing for pre-eminence.

“The Sagas are very similar to the medieval historical tales and ancient epics written in India,” said the spokesperson for the German Book Office.

In Nordic culture, the written word is of paramount importance because the northerners spend the better part of the year indoors reading and swapping 'sagas' or tales during the bitter and sustained winter.

On Sept 14, the ambassadors from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and a spokesperson from the external affairs ministry will read from modern crime novels from Nordic countries as part of the Iceland showcase.

The Frankfurt Book Fair will host Indian publishing in a bouquet of four seminars - 'Matchmaking: Children's Books: India and Germany, Australia and Switzerland', 'Meet India: Networking with Indian Publishers; A Buyers' Sellers Meet (with CAPEXIL Books Division)', 'Romancing the languages: Indian literature's many Journeys' and 'Matchmaking - International Companies with Indian Printers & Digital Service Providers'.

(Agencies)