Magnus Sigurdarson and Paul Stoppi
Operation Beefeater: of man and his nature
February 13 – March 11, 2010
Dressed in stately attire Magnus Sigurdarson, or rather, “The Beefeater” sits before us eating a steak; he stands in the middle of the street, pike in hand, with a puzzled expression on his face. He’s not the only one that’s puzzled. He, a proper, tall uniformed white man, even picks his nose and goes on to meticulously inspect his findings. Who is this character? Or rather this person vividly portrayed roaming the streets of his hometown, London, and deformed in Francis Bacon-like clay paintings? Herein lays the essence of Sigurdarson’s work, an Icelandic artist admittedly obsessed with the idea of identity; and with the cultural connotations attached to owning “an identity.”
Magnus teamed up with photographer Paul Stoppi, for this body of work in which they set out to, “explore the space between disguise and anonymity.” Whether you know this person from a bottle of Beefeater Gin or recognize him as one of the statuesque guards in front of the Tower of London where they protect the British Crown Jewels; you know him, or at least you recognize him. By taking on a universally recognized character, the work challenges cultural expectations through the social tension, unexpectedness and awkwardness of the images. Much like their previous collaborative project, The Stranger – El Vikingo, Loss of Identity of 2007 in which Sigurdarson strayed the beaches of South Beach looking like a severely hung-over and disheveled rocker without a clue as to where on earth he is, much less who he is; the driving force behind Magnus’ visual verbiage is to experience “the other.” In the process, in the search to question and understand the other, he also explores himself.
Magnus Sigurdarson currently lives and works between Miami, Florida and Reykjavik, Iceland. His works can be found in many important institutions, such as: Collezione La Gaia, Busca, Italy; The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland; MDD, Museum Dhondt, Dhaenens, Gent, Belgium; The Icelandic National Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland; The Reykjavik Municipal Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland; The Corporate Collection, Focus Group, New York; the Public Collection of The Related Group, Miami, Florida; as well as many private collections.
Paul Stoppi was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Florida and the University of Miami. He currently lives and works in Miami, Florida. His works are part of the permanent collections of: The Bass Museum, Miami Beach, Florida; Kiyosato Museum of Photography, Japan; National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; The Wallace Campbell Collection, Kingston, Jamaica; and The Lesman Collection, Miami Beach, Florida.