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Una Björg Magnúsdóttir’s (b. 1990, lives and works in Reykjavik) interdisciplinary practice encompasses installations, sculptures, drawings, and time-based media. The artist often plays with the familiar and the banal.


Everyday objects and associated patterns of behaviour and mechanisms of perception are torn out of their familiar cosmos by the artist and implanted in a completely new spatial context -a twig in the machinery of banal everyday automatisms.

The materials Magnúsdóttir uses testify to a brutal practicality. In her exhibition “Lost Manuals” at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, the first thing that catches the eye is the vries of wooden panels that run along the wall of the room. The artist arranges familiar images onto the wooden panels, images that seem to have been bleached into the wood by the ruthlessness of time but are actually carefully printed on the surface, the images are projected onto the material like shadows and immortalised there. The effect of the artistic results is usually characterised by contrasts. Controlled, staged and seemingly permanent elements harbour the intrusion of the spontaneous, the unexpected, the momentary, and thus also the living.

Magnúsdóttir’s focus is not on any fixed art form, but rather on a thematic basis in which recurring motifs emerge. Deception, as the failure of visual communication, as the deconstruction and reshaping of meaning is one of them, and the functional is another. The artist is not looking for the completed, the end, not for complete deconstruction, but for the constructive moment within a process. This applies to the satire and anti-pathos in Magnúsdóttir’s works, which are not intended to be disrespectful, but instead confront the objects with curiosity and consideration.
Additional information
Dates
May 2024
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