Magnus Wallin, Horizon, 2006 Installation, digital montage. Image on which the work was based. © Magnus Wallin/BUS 2006. Courtesy Galerie Nordenhake

Magnus Wallin

Magnus Wallin’s work illustrates the bodily norms of our age and the alienation that exists among people who fail to live up to the ideal. Using a historical perspective, he demonstrates how efforts to define the normal have created an increasingly objectified relationship to the body. His computer animated films portray the vulnerability of individuals who are “different” and overturn prevailing ideas and views.

In his most recent project Horizon, Wallin has had two prosthetic eyes designed in glass; these are exact copies of his own eyes. The starting-point for the work is the history of medicine, and it refers to an image of a weeping skeleton from the book De Humani Corporis Fabrica, written by Andreas Vesalius in the year 1543. The title alludes to the emotional experience and understanding of human beings. The anonymous prostheses are openly on display. The whites have a pinkish tone and the blood vessels can be clearly seen. The bloodshot eyes look as they have just been weeping, which provides the object with an emotional charge. Objectivity becomes all but impossible when the eyes become both subject and object at the same time.

What is the nature of our contemporary relationship to the body? The fact that advanced technology makes it possible to replace body parts that no longer work has contributed to the development of a more mechanised and fragmented view of the body. What, however, will the consequences be of taking the ideal of the body to extremes?

Magnus Wallin

Born 1965 in Malmö. Lives and works in Malmö.


Kgl. Danske Kunstakademi, Copenhagen [DK]


Valand School of Fine Arts, Gothenburg

Selected solo exhibitions

SOLO, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin [DE]

Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm

Physical Sightseeing, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Uppsala

Selected group exhibitions

Kiss the Frog! – The Art of Transformation, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo [NO]

THE JOY OF MY DREAMS, I Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla Pabellón [SP]

Plateau of Mankind, 49th Venice Biennale, Venice[IT]

Selected bibliography

Martin Henatsch, Magnus Wallin: Firewall, Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster, 2004.

Torsten Weimarck, “Reality is its own description”, Solo/Physical Sightseeing, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, 2002.

Sara Arrhenius, ”Magnus Wallin”, Plateau of Mankind, 49th Venice Biennale, Venice 2001.

More about this exhibition