Interview with artist Magnhild Opdøl

Until the End - By Magnhild Opdøl

When did you first realise that you are an artist?
Making art is my job, so I guess since I started exhibiting about ten years ago. I have my BA and MFA from NCAD in Dublin, and previous to that I studied visual art at Nordiska Konstskolan for two years in Finland, and before that a year of Art History in Trondheim, Norway. So I guess the road to become an artist working full time has been in the cards for a long time.

Could you tell us some more about your art work?
I love drawing, sculpting, paintings and a lot of other media within visual art. My work is inspired by life, tales, adventures, media, news and art. Even though I use drawing for a lot of my work at the moment, I often let the idea decide the media I choose.

Could you explain the importance of the death theme your work incorporates?
I think death is something a lot of people are afraid of thinking and talking about. I am not one of them, and I think dead animals are very beautiful. I’m interested in the process of de-composing, not only in animals, but all materials. I also like to work with the story before the drawing, using parts of reality in the installation.

Drawing and sculpture seem to be essential to your work. Could you explain the importance of these mediums to you?
The last couple of years I’ve been interested in drawing. I like the history of it, the preciseness and beauty of pencil on paper. Sculptures are also great, using objects as part of the storytelling.

Where does your fascination for taxidermy originate?
I am not really fascinated by taxidermy, I just really like animals and how I can use them in my work. I use taxidermy as a sculptural material. An animal can tell a lot about people too.

I see a delicate balance between darkness and beauty in your work. What’s the importance of each aspect to you?
Beauty is a way into the dark elements. It is the technique that is beautiful, and the image maybe, but I always try to talk about something more serious in my work, whatever that might be. I also use a lot of humour.

Your drawings are very detailed and it must take a while to make them. How long do you work on one drawing on average?
From one week to over a month, depending on how many layers I do, and how big it is.

What feeds your inspiration for your art work?
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just go to work.”  (Quote by Philip Roth)

Which other artists, both historically and contemporary, do you value highly?
There are a lot of artists of course. I like people who work a lot, that, you could say inspires me. When I see other artists putting a lot of effort and time into their practice it makes me want to work more. I like art with a sense of humour, and good ideas. Metsu who is being shown in the National Gallery at the moment is great, really elaborate and lots of fun details. As for contemporary art I can mention Matias Faldbakken, a fantastic artist from my home country Norway. If I were a teenager, I would have posters of him on my bedroom walls.

Magnhild Opdøl also has a blog giving more information about past, present and future project: http://magnhildopdol.blogspot.com/

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