This summer, the town of Borgarnes, in the West of Iceland, will be able to boast of yet another cultural ttreasure, when husband-and-wife team, Bernd Ogrodnik and Hildur Jónsdóttir, invite you to take a peek into The World of Puppets – a museum dedicated entirely to puppetry.
The museum opens on 20th May in the oldest part of Borgarnes in a historical building with splendid ocean views. The centre contains a various exhibition rooms, a cozy café, and a puppet theatre, where guests can see performances both for children and adults and a reception with a gallery.Interactive Exhibition
Bernd and Hildur are both experienced puppeteers and have collectively designed a seemingly innumerable number of puppets over the years. The idea for ‘The World of Puppets’ actually sprang from the increased interest people had been showing their legacy of puppets. “We have been making puppets and doing shows in Iceland for ten years and Bernd has been working in puppetry for 25 years now. During this time, we have created hundreds of puppets in different shapes and sizes – for theatre, film and television and recently, all kinds of groups started visiting our workshop to see these puppets. We then realised that it would be ideal to start a centre where everyone who wanted could experience this amazing world that puppets somehow bring to life,” says Hildur.
However, rather than simply displaying the bulk of their work, they instead opted for interactive exhibitions where people are invited into the magical world of puppetry. The Puppets Come to Life
Bernd Ogrodnik is a German-born artist who, early on, decided to dedicate his life to the art of puppetry. Most of the puppets which Bernd makes are wooden and his puppets are thought to exhibit a very personal style. His biggest work to date was as a Chief Puppeteer in the renowned Danish film, ‘Strings,’ which went on to win several awards.
Bernd has also made various characters from children’s literature and fairytales into puppets. For example, he made the Ugly Duckling and the Little Match Girl for the anniversary of H.C. Andersen in the National Theatre of Iceland. “In a grand spectacle, The Ugly Duckling changed into a swan on the stage, right in front of the audience. The neck lengthened, the wings spread out and the swan took off,” says Hildur. “Bernd says that he got his biggest compliment after that show when a five year old boy, who saw him walk past with the life-sized Little Match Girl puppet, asked his mother: “Why is the man holding the girl?” He believed she was alive.” Bernd and Hildur have also recently done a puppet show based on the Alfie Atkins books (Einar Áskell in Ic
elandic) by Gunnilla Bergström. “Bergström had seen a TV show about Bernd in Sweden and contacted him to ask whether he could do something with Alfie Atkins. So now we have already done a puppet show and we might even produce a TV show about this little fellow in the near future,” says Hildur.
The World of Puppets will be open this summer, every day from 10 am -10 pm, both the exhibition and the café. A detailed information guide on the art of puppetry will be available at the centre.
The café has a proper coffee & cakes menu as well as some smaller dishes and soups. There is a reception room which also functions as a gallery with giftware that has been created in Bernd’s studio. More information is available on: