On the occasion of our special issue on Art Basel Miami Beach, we asked artist Magnus Sodamin a few questions on his practice and to draw up an artistic itinerary around Miami and the Beaches.
Magnus Sodamin (b. 1987, Manhattan) uses an expanded painting practice that is at once hallucinatory and precise, employing a variety of techniques to blur the frontier between abstraction and landscape painting. His singular installations often begin with painting the walls and floors of an exhibition space with vibrant splashes of color, and then installing the space with similarly emotive, yet complementary canvas or panel compositions. The result is entirely immersive. Sodamin attended the New World School of the Arts (BFA, 2012) as well as the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer, Norway.
He has exhibited in Norway and the United States, showing work at the 2012 BFA Exhibition held at the Cisneros-Fontanals art foundation (CIFO), the 2010 Lotus House Women’s Shelter Fundraiser at the Margulies Collection, a two consecutive solo exhibits at PRIMARY in 2014 / 2015. He has been in residence at the Deering Estate (2014), the Museums Quartier Residency, Vienna (2015), and Summit AIR, Eden, UTAH . Sodamin lives and works in Miami, where he is represented by PRIMARY.
Claudia Malfitano: Miami is the city where you grew up as artist. Which is your relationship with the city? Is it a stimulating place for an artist?
Magnus Sodamin: I moved here in 98’. I think I got really lucky here, my high school art teacher Craig Kirk showed me that art was really a way of carrying yourself through life, and Miami has showed me the same. To me Miami is water, and your quality of life is your proximity to it. There is this energy of attraction here; I try to see it more than luck.
C.M.: Could you tell us something about your practice in general? You often employ different techniques and media, creating immersive and colorful artworks. Where do you get inspiration from?
M.S.: Experimentation and submission to it are key in my practice. Anything goes, take a step back and react to it. It’s really a chain of events, where anything is beautiful during the whole process. Its like cooking dinner, you have to make it simmer.
C.M.: As artistic statement you say “Creating a painting is like telling a story, both should be meaningful”. Could you explain us your artistic concept and which kind of relationship you aim to establish with the viewer through your art?
M.S.: There are gloomy days and bright days as you walk through a park, you notice the space through the branches and leaves, how light gracefully carries through the tops and wind gently moves and you listen. Sometimes one is overcome by this impressive world, detailed by all your surroundings. As you can ponder the infinite, it really only come back to this. Why is your life beautiful, your nature is around you. A painting should not be viewed as an object as much as it should be viewed as an experience.
An Art Itinerary of Miami and Its Surroundings by Magnus Sodamin
I would start the day by going taking a morning walk at Virginia Key, on a weekday, and no one is around. You’d be surprised how much of a beach you get to yourself. I then would stop at Coral Bagels on my way to Fairchild Garden. After a beautiful study of nature I would recommend lunch at Beehive in South Miami. If I was on South beach, Club Deuce. Bike over Venetian Causeway. Shark Valley. Everglades. Escape civilization. See a Manatee, Sea turtle, dolphin, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Flamingos, Stingray, Sharks, and more. Re-enter civilization. Sneak into 13th floor of the Biltmore Hotel, Al Capone. Find an illegal parking spot you wont get towed. Go canoeing to where Jimbos’ used to be, Secret Beach. Look at people’s cacti in there backyards. Envy Them. Visit our jungle. If your friend invites you on a boat, go. Eat dinner when it finds you. Cake Thai, Sabor a Peru, Bombay Darbar, Mandolin. Love the grove, listen to the roosters in little Haiti, beaches north on Miami Beach, get down to the Redlands for a succulent plant sourcing party. Fish for Permit, Redfish, Snook, Bonefish, Tarpon in Biscayne Bay, Flamingo, Chokoloskee. Stone crabs. Flamingo Plaza, Yesterday and today, sweat records, Amelia Earhart Park, avoid the rest of Hialeah. Frankie’s pizza. Casablanca on Miami River. Tacos on Wednesday at Miami River Café. Learn to go spearfishing or Lobstering. Check out Stiltsville. We all should be allowed to live there. Viscaya. At Deering Estate, Visit largest oak tree in Florida, it is the most majestic tree I have ever seen. Learn about the Native Americans before us. The Wooly Mammoths and dire wolves that used to live and breath where we do now. Miami is ancient; Atlantis. Pérez Art Museum. Boca Raton Museum, the Old Science Museum. Take the metro once. Granada golf course, Burger Bobs. Camping under infinite stars in 10,000 islands. Get to know Primary Projects. Stop by Johnny Robles, Bhakti Baxter, Hox, Michael Vasquez, Jeffrey Noble, Mauricio Gonzalez, Franky Cruz, Emmett Moore, Typoe, Tim Buwalda, Kathryn Mikesell, Books Bischoff, Cristina Gonzales, Dion Rubi, Dennis Fuller, Joe Blazejack, Wahab Walid, Maggy Cuesta, Oliver Sanchez, Kevin Arrow, Reinier Gamboa, Leo Castenada, Craig Kirk, Tom Wyroba, Coral Morphologic, Katie Stirman, Jenna Balfe, Marissa Alma Nick, Emilia Morrow Leo Valencia, Carol Jazzar, Esta Park, Jose felix Perez, Rainer Davies, Renata Rojo, Gabriel Alcala, Nina Johnson, Spinello, Fred Snitzer, Michael Clifford, Raymond Brown, Miami has everything.