Tumi Magnússon was born in Iceland in 1957. He studied art at The Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, and at AKI (Academie voor Beeldende Kunst) in the Netherlands. His first solo exhibition was in the Red House Gallery in Akureyri, Iceland, in 1981, and he has shown extensively since then. His early exhibited works included objects, photographs and 8mm films. In the early eighties, however, he began experimenting with drawing and painting. His motives were figurative and equally informed by the free painting style of the period and by conceptual art. Over the following decade he experimented with the boundaries of painting as a medium, and his work evolved into installations of paintings and murals. This in turn led to his use of the photograph as a medium for installational wall works, and to video and sound installations.
Tumi was a professor at the Iceland Academy of Art from 1999 to 2005, and at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art from 2005 to 2011. He currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, and spends his summers in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland.