Mailing with: Magnus Dahl

Featured in: Issue Nº 7

Category: Q&A


All images courtesy of Magnus Dahl, please check out his website for individual titles.

“All actions leave traces, all traces create associations, stories, sounds and images.”
– Magnus Dahl

Born 1981 Magnus Dahl graduated from the Royal Art Academy of Stockholm, Sweden 2011. We mailed Magnus a couple of questions about his cryptic work that merge performance, video and wood cutting – this is how he replied:

Please elaborate the thoughts behind the Seven days project.

DAHL: “The development of the piece Seven Days evolved around process and performativity.

Through its conceptual frame – each day the removal of material from the wooden board and then the printing of it – a flow and a sequence was made visible through the technique of wood cut.”

D: “It became a daily report, an image, which in the end came to a point of dissolving into emptiness – the white sheet, the seventh day.”

How would you describe the general theme running through your body of work?

D: “The woods as a site and a scene is something that I continually come back to. Places where we as humans are at the same time rejected and have a notion of belonging.”

D: “In this dual state of alienation and homeliness a position and a certain gaze is offered. We could also give our selves to the surrounding woods if the forests allowed us to. For a short while become more like the forest; like pine needles, like moss.

That state and gaze is important for my practice and I keep returning to it; for the feeling of loosing and finding my self in the continuing work of formulations and configurations.”

What role does language play in your work?

D: “If we talk about the written language, like in literature, it is a huge source of ideas and images. At the same time I think of language as something that is bigger than text and reaches far outside the field of literature.

All actions leave traces, all traces create associations, stories, sounds and images.”

D: “The semiotic level or ideas helps me to bring the work forward, and further on that semiotic level could be seen as something of a method or a strategy for me as an artist.

Through a practice concerned with the semiotic levels in art, I reach a position where it is equally good to write a text, draw or to make a sound piece. I can free myself and move more effortlessly among my abilities and means.”

What are your main sources of inspiration?

D: “Inspiration is sometimes a bit overloaded as a word. I rather think of energy, the energy to do things, and that could come from many directions.

Literature and poetry are two sources of energy. There is space and room there for thoughts and images to elaborate. In literature there is space, cathedrals of possibilities. That kind of places makes me want to make art.”