In February 1993, at artist Hannes Lárusson’s Gallerí 11 in Reykjavik, Magnús Pálsson exhibited two installations, one in each of the gallery’s two rooms. In the first was Enginn Gleypir Sólina (No One Swallows The Sun). In the adjacent room was its companion work Herra Túrpur Jónsson (Mister Túrpur Jónsson).
Each room featured four wall-mounted loudspeakers, one in each corner emanating vocalized grunts, sighs, and syllables in between extensive passages of Icelandic and nonsensical language. On the floor beneath each loudspeaker was a generous mound of snuff tobacco. Upon each pile was a cluster of sizable, hand-painted paper-mâché noses. The snuff evoked a sense of nostalgia, its smell permeated Gallerí 11 as the loudspeakers relayed various anecdotes, verses, and vernacular expressions Pálsson heard throughout his life.
Enginn Gleypir Sólina and Herra Túrpur Jónsson, referred to by Pálsson as “vocal sculptures,” exemplify Pálsson’s life-long fascination with language, and encapsulate his interdisciplinary exploration challenging disciplinary boundaries in order to cultivate new manners of expression.
With an oeuvre constituted by book art, sculpture, sound poetry, and performance, Magnús Pálsson (b.1929) is considered one of the most influential proponents of interdisciplinary, Fluxus-adjacent practices in Iceland during the late 20th century. With connections to non- Icelandic artists such as Dieter Roth, Philip Corner, and Rod Summers, Pálsson promoted transnational cross-collaboration, aiming to break Iceland’s cultural isolation from the broader world.
Mumbling Eye: An archival label dedicated to the publication of unreleased Icelandic sound art & related
Operated by sound artist/musicologist Adam Buffington & visual artist Tumi Magnússon.
Live streaming: Bailey Polkinghorne
Text: Magnús Pálsson, Adam Buffington
Translations: Magnús Pálsson, Frances Cowan, Tumi Magnússon
Photos: Hannes Lárusson, Frances Cowan
CD Photo: Kristinn G. Harðarson
Design: Tumi Magnússon
Print: Prentmet Oddi, Reykjavik
CD Production: Myndbandavinnslan, Reykjavík
Performers: Baldvin Halldórsson, Eyvindur Erlendsson, Guðbjörg Thoroddsen, Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, Karl Guðmundsson, Magnús Pálsson, Tumi Magnússon
Direction: Eyvindur Erlendsson
Sound Recording and Mixing: Júlíus Agnarsson
*The views expressed in this art piece and texts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of Helsinki Open Waves.
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