Magnus Sigurdarson: Adios Melancholy – The Parroty of Life

September 22 - November 17, 2018

Reception: September 22, 2019, 6 - 9 pm

He often proclaims that his home country Iceland is the northern-most Caribbean island.

Selected Works

Magnus Sigurdarson: Adios Melancholy – The Parroty of Life

After more than a decade of searching for melancholy in paradise, Magnus Sigurdarson throws in the towel with Adios Melancholy – The Parroty of Life.

With this, the 3rd exhibition at Emerson Dorsch, conceptual artist Magnus Sigurdarson presents 6 large clay paintings of parrots, a video performance, and an installation. The opening reception will be September 22nd, 6-9pm at Emerson Dorsch, which is located at 5900 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL.

Magnus arrived at his emblem honestly. He often proclaims that his home country Iceland is the northern-most Caribbean island. He is not joking here (though there often is a joke, so pay attention): Iceland, along with the Caribbean Islands St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, were all once colonies of The Kingdom of Denmark. Not only did these islands have a distant sovereign in common, but the Gulf Stream also connects them. The current draws warm water northward to the southern end of Iceland, making the southern end noticeably warmer.

The parrot makes its home in Miami (Magnus’ home now), Iceland (his homeland) and the Caribbean (let’s acknowledge that Miami feels like the northern Caribbean not the Southern United States). Magnús writes that:

“One does not always understand the complexity of one’s environment nor society in which one exists. For example, the iconic parrot, a symbol of Florida sun and fun, is an immigrant, all native species of parrot were wiped out in the 1900s and the species that we now find in and associate with Miami and South Florida were all imported one way or another. Immigrants are the new mascot of Miami, the parrot searching for a home, the Icelander seeking melancholy, all species and immigrants at one point have to redefine their identity based on their current reality. While they will never be native, they will through time be blended into the pallet of their new home as the lines of identity are blurred, smudged, and redefined. This exhibition will be the beginning of a post-melancholic identity through the power of myth and occasional mayhem.”

Magnus’ exhibition represents the latest project in which he distills and abstracts his feelings of displacement. Most previous projects in this vein deflected seriousness or dreariness with humor. One emblazoned slogans of enthusiasm, “Fabulous!” “Terrific!” and “Super!” on blow flags. The literally hollow exclamations are meant to ease the exchange of pleasantries rather than reflecting the well-being of the speaker. As long as you keep up the pretense the conversation can float above the mire of what’s really going on. Another project, called Absenteeism at Dimensions Variable in 2011, was an installation of empty frames and stretcher bars. Magnus explained, “I didn’t have very much to say.” He is nothing if not humble. But he also has a way of getting at the crux of things with almost accidentally elegant simplicity. The installation of empty frames represented the armature of the art world, which is too often a shell game of braggadocio and posturing, so much that the art object can seem incidental. At first, these projects read as a little kitschy. Themes of displacement resonate after interrogating the elements, their presentation, and circumstance.

Magnús Sigurdarson exposes his own vulnerability in discrete acts, each of them acknowledging the pathos of his (and our) being. With a self-deprecating sense of humor, Sigurdarson plays out his heightened awareness of being out of place in his characters as the painted singing Roman statue, the marooned Icelander on South Beach, the English Beefeater man in the streets of London, or a Union soldier on an Indian battlefield. His works employ a range of media, from interventions in public space and sculptural installations to intimate photographic and video work.



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