Þröstur Helgason: The Modernist Magazine Birtingur
Birtingur (1955–1968) was a modernist magazine whose objective was to introduce trends and movements of international modernism to Iceland, thus supporting not only innovation in art and literature but also in cultural activities and in the cultural debate in general. It was not the only magazine launched in Iceland to this end, but it survived the longest and was without doubt the most influential. Modernist magazines or “little magazines” as they have sometimes also been called, rebel against traditional forms of expression and they experiment and innovate. Most of these magazines are short-lived and struggle with lack of funds. This all applies to Birtingur. It was intended to reach a wide group of general readers but at the same time to be an open and independent forum for art and art debate. There were particularly two factors that made the magazine the significant medium that it proved to be. On the one hand it was a forum for importing and processing ideas and on the other hand it offered lively debate and overlapping between varying genres and forms of art.
Keywords: Modernist magazines, modernism, Icelandi literature, cultural politics, graphic design