About Magnús

Magnús Helgason (1977) is a visual artist based in Reykjavik, graduated from AKI, Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst Enschede, Holland in 2001, from multimedia department. Helgason first gained recognition as an experimental filmmaker and a stop-motion artist doing live visual performances to the music of artists associated with collective Kitchen Motors such as Jóhann Jóhannsson, Apparat Organ Quartet or Kira Kira. Gradually his interest started to gravitate towards painting. In his early works from 2003- 2008 Helgason begun dealing with text as a motif. Single words and statements provided points of departure for works in various media and categories. The language, poetry or street art style was carried over into paintings. Despite very long- winded conceptual titles, Helgason works subscribed to minimal esthetics and titles like: God appeared to me and told me he doesn ́t exist, gave a sense of narrative and even his abstract work.

In his recent works Helgason is fascinated by the idea of a found object that would manifest itself into artist life through some blind chance, coincidence and have a little story to tell. Design of each panel appears disruptively inharmonious yet the balance, harmony and search for universal beauty is the attempted goal for each composition. The operations of rotation and mirroring the underneath within the window frame combined with his attraction to the properties of the diverse raw building materials, mostly plywood, locates his work in abstract and geometrical realm. But even if Helgason work might appear abstract it is underlined by focus on the use of the found material, collage, lyrical, descriptive title and search for universal beauty and reveals the artist’s deep connection with the work of artists such as Robert Rauchenberg (1925-2008), Raymond Saunders (1932) who used widely the found object collage technique. Neo Dadaism incorporates assemblage and mixed media among others. For example Rauschenberg picked up trash and found objects that interested him on the streets of New York City. Saunders is mainly known for work that encompasses painting sometimes on the border of being sculptural. Helgason also plays with the idea of the two-dimensional surface by using the double glass window frames, within each one he displays compositions of neatly arranged plywood cuts where the composition is created sometimes through the manipulation of light and shadow. Nevertheless the frame is always retaining the relation to the flat wall. Other source of inspiration for Helgason are Gerhard Richter (1932) one of the pioneers of so called new European painting and Jean Michele Basquiat (1960-88) especially in Helgason early works coming from text and street art.

Self portrett

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