Whilst our solo show ‘Magnus Gjoen: Break Glass for a New Beginning’ is running throughout June in our Soho gallery we’ve taken the opportunity to quiz the uber-cool artist behind the spectacular showcase…
How does it feel to produce a solo show?
This is my second solo show, but first where almost every piece has been an original. I guess when you see everything hung a little voice inside says "wow this is all mine".
How long has it taken to put together?
It was planned before Christmas so I've been working on it since then. The three last months have been the most hectic as the deadline drew nearer. At one point I had started almost all the works and thought "hang on, maybe I should start finishing them off before I start new ones". You never know how long the finishing tweeks will take; every highlight, reflection and shadow has to be perfect.
Tell us about your new print Break Glass for a New Beginning…
I don't quite remember where I got the idea, but once I got the background painting right it all started to unfold. Every piece is a journey and to arrive at the final stage it has been through a lot of changes, contemplations and thoughts. Break Glass for a New Beginning illustrates Adam & Eve looking through a concave window given the opportunity to decide and think for themselves. "Should we break the glass, entering Eden and start this cycle again?" or "as we know have a choice should we do things differently?".
The incorporation of text into your work seems a major feature of the exhibition. What’s the relationship between the words and images in these pieces?
The words highlight the choices us humans have, but also serve as warnings. The idea is to give people a choice. Choices which have already been made for them a long time ago, but which you probably wanted to have your own say about had you been given the opportunity and in hindsight.
What do you think Genesis and the Resurrection mean for the modern age?
Most people now-a-days are believers in evolution and the strict adherence to religious views and rules have diminished into a haze of loosely interpreted passages from the Bible. One by one is being broken down until we realise that the Bible is nothing but a self-help book. A genius one at that mind you, however given the chance to restart (a New Beginning) would we have chosen the same path. Where would art be today had it not been for religion? Both good and terrible evil has come from religion however now that our free society is no longer held together by its spell, are we all doomed? I'm not so sure.
Have the religious themes in your work been influenced by your time in Italy?
Italy has so much awe-inspiring beauty within architecture and art both from Roman and Christian times. I think one inadvertently becomes influenced by both if one spends any length of time there as a creative. In Italy I also see a great divide where the younger generations, although raised Catholic have shunned religion, creating a leap forward- in a way catching up with the rest of the western world, but creating a rift between them and the elder generation.
In the show you’re exhibiting ceramics and fibre glass sculpture. How did these pieces come about & have you found it anymore enjoyable working in 3D as opposed to paper?
As an artist one always has to think of "what to do next"; I guess doing these two sculptures answered my need for this. The Mala Fide fibre glass sculpture ended up taking a lot more time and effort than expected. I got to the finish and thought "get this out of my sight now". The ceramic cans are the first in a series of cans (so start collecting now ;)) and I will be doing other things in ceramics in the near future.