Arnfinnur Amazeen’s work Stagnant water is a crossing between poetic expression and an ambivalent message. The cryptic words are written in white on black in cursive, winding letters that create associations to classic poetry collections or the soft visuality of a music book.
The ambivalence in the words Stagnant water arises in the border between the words’ visual presentation at RoofTop International and the words’ actual meaning. Where the presentation of the words highlights a poetic context, the words activate several image connections that contain neither beautiful nor romantic imaginations. Stagnant water is poisoned and contains something infected or problematic. The words create images; they draw forward imaginations about something which at first sight is beautiful but soon they transform into something questionable. There is a subtle undercurrent of melancholy in the transition from the bittersweet poetic to the potentially dangerous.
By virtue of his Icelandic origins, Danish is not Amazeen’s first language. Rather, he stands from outside the Danish mother tongue and observes. Stagnant water is not a term that is often used in daily Danish speech. It is not part of an everyday language but rather a known concept that is rarely spoken of. With an almost external view on the language, Amazeen is able to bend and process the Danish words. In that connection, the words Stagnant water can be a pure matter that neither contain nor demand anything because they exist in their own right and shape. Certain words seem extremely poetic even though their contents do not claim a poetic meaning. Amazeen’s work for RoofTop International shows how a foreign gaze on the Danish language can bring forth open, poetic potentials in words that are normally detached from poetry.
Arnfinnur Amazeen (1977 IS) has studied at The Icelandic Academy of Art and at Glasgow School of Art. Selected exhibitions: Normal is the new avantgardeGerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum, Iceland. Subselves mean well (solo), Reykjavík Art Museum, Iceland. Kollektiv (solo), Grafikernes hus, Copenhagen. EXKURS – Isländische Kunst in außergewöhnlichen Zeiten, Nordic Embassies, Berlin, Germany. Darkness carried in (again) (solo), King and Bang Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland. Amazeen has lived in Denmark since 2006.