Skrúður, Núpur

documentary and photographic exhibition on the Prize-winning site

The exhibition dedicated to the 24th edition of the International Carlo Scarpa Garden Prize offers the essential elements to follow the historical and cultural events of the Icelandic site, consisting of the garden of Skrúður and the village of Núpur, at the edge of one of the fiords of the north-western region, a few kilometres from the Arctic Circle.

The exhibition’s itinerary aims to make the geographic and cultural features of a remote country such as Iceland understandable, and present the cultural events that shaped the garden at the hands of the protestant pastor Sigtryggur Guðlaugsson and his wife, within a project to set up a school and educational programme that focus on leaving behind backward farming conditions.

The set-up of the exhibition, arranged in three sections, includes photography documents and audiovisual aids as well as a collection of bibliographic materials which can be consulted in a special room.


The first section illustrates the Icelandic site’s geographic features and its ties with a wider geographic horizon. The section also provides the information required to understand Iceland’s peculiar geological nature and the historical events of a country where continuous volcanic eruptions have unceasingly modified the land’s appearance as well as society’s development.

The second section depicts places and experiences that may be useful to understanding the Icelandic landscape and its ties to man’s culture, from references to symbolic places such as Þingvellir, seat of the world’s most ancient parliamentary assembly (930-1798), and also providing an overview of contemporary attitudes to landscape modification.

The third section illustrates the historical events and the methods used to build the Skrúður garden, which still stands today. In particular, a description is provided of the main phases and the mentality behind the operation, which can also be fully appreciated by reading the diary (the original is on display) where the pastor noted down, over a period of forty years, his work as an educator and courageous farmer in adverse environmental conditions, marked by backwardness. This section also documents the work of the group of men and women who, in more recent years, took over the care of the garden, saving it from neglect and restoring it to visits and cultivation in 1996.

In dealing with the themes and the illustrated iconographic material, the exhibition builds from the Skrúður, Núpur dossier. International Carlo Scarpa Garden Prize, 24th edition, curated by Patrizia Boschiero, Luigi Latini, Domenico Luciani, published by Fondazione Benetton.