When artist Sigurður Ámundason steps into Kjarvalsstaðir, the museum that hosts his latest exhibition, a group of students is looking intently at one of his drawings hung on the wall. As she sees him, the students’ teacher snatches him away almost instantly.
For a moment he doesn’t seem at ease, but it doesn’t take long for him to come out of his shell. “Drawing is the most personal I can get when I’m around people,” he explains later, adding he’s got some kind of social anxiety. “It’s just the most natural way for me to communicate. It’s me.”
Like a dream within a dream
While he gives the students a tour of the exhibit, I get the opportunity to look at his work on my own. The drawings are only a handful, but their impact is magnified by their gargantuan size. Spread out onto large canvases, they occupy my entire range of vision, dragging me down into a dream that seems to never end.
The more I look the more I see, almost tangled into a web of pen strokes that extends the boundaries of reality. A hand bursts out of nothing holding a flaming sword in its hands, while the ocean leaps at the fire. A stream of cars slides into the frame, forced to do so forever like a dream within a dream.
“I’m really into fluid motions. I think it’s because originally I wanted to become a filmmaker,” Siggi explains. “There is a lot going on in my head, so many free thoughts at the same time, and everything is also going on so fast around us—time, aging, life, earth. It’s all in the now, but it’s also all constantly moving towards the new now.”
The future is now
This kind of tension between future and present is not only translated into characters that are eternally moving forwards, but also in the fluidity of forms that Siggi draws. Fat bodies and full faces melt like wax, sliding down onto the canvas as if they were real. A horse with no face passes by.
Siggi’s interest in comics and modern drawing is apparent in the use of tools such as coloured pencils and pens, but the oneiric surroundings and the painstaking attention to details are a clear nod to William Blake. “I like Eighties anime and the Simpsons, but I also love the old Renaissance masters, as well as Goya and Francis Bacon,” Siggi says. “However, I also want to draw the future. All the Renaissance masters would paint all these epic things with oil on canvas, but we’re in 2018 now. So I use the tools I have and I try to enjoy every second of it.”
Siggi’s exhibit is part of a larger project called “Tales of The Unseen” and it will be open until April 22 in Kjarvalsstaðir. Find more info about the exhibit and the museum’s opening hours here.
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