Monument to the unknown bureaucrat by Magnus Tommason

Monument to the unknown bureaucrat by Magnus Tommason
Monument to the unknown bureaucrat by Magnus Tommason

We are used to seeing in our cities statues and monuments dedicated to relevant figures from the fields of politics, science or the arts. Statues that, to put it in some way, have names and surnames. However, there is a type of anonymous tributes that are repeated throughout the planet. They are the so-called monuments to the unknown soldier, where countries pay tribute to those who fell in their wars, to the soldiers who at one time or another defended their homeland.


Monument to the unknown bureaucrat by Mágnus Tómasson

Well, in a country like Iceland, which currently has no army and hasn't been involved in warfare for many years, given its remote nature in theNorth Atlantic, there can be no such memorials. However, they have a very curious sculpture in their capital, Reykjavik: it's the Unknown Bureaucrat Monument.

A work that perhaps couldn't be anywhere other than the Icelandic capital, where everything is so modern, so singular and so civic. This is where the local sculptor Magnús Tómasson was able to place a work dedicated to civil servants in 1994. Those characters who work in the offices in a dark and constant way, and on whom both credit and criticism from the citizens fall.

In this case, the figure alsoallows for various interpretations. A man is recognized walking, dressed in a typical office worker's suit and carrying his briefcase supposedly full of documents and papers. But the upper part of his body becomes a huge unpolished bas alt rock. A very heavy load. That depersonalizes him. It makes him anonymous. But what does it mean? Because of his routine work he no longer has to think? Or is his work just a heavy slab that he gladly carries for the good of society?

And as for his briefcase, does he have documentation? Or was he just carrying a sandwich that he ate leisurely on one of the benches overlooking the city's harbor and now he's slowly, unhurriedly making his way to the neighboring City Hall or Parliament House?

By the way both buildings are clearly visible from the point where the work is placed, which at first was located in the heart of the great Icelandic city. However, it was later moved to this lakeside enclave, so it makes even more sense as it blends seamlessly with its surroundings.

In short, a fabulous exponent contemporary urban art of those that invite us to reflect on art, our times and our lives.

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