CULTURE 8 april 2021
Here is the art you should not miss
When three Malmö artists gather at Galleri CC under the heading "vidd", the breadth of the city's younger painters becomes visible. Here, the frequently noticed Daniel Fleur reappears with a convincing development of his usual approach to starting from the pixelated motifs of the digital image. But now he is turning up the intensity in a series of both small and large-scale works. In a refined and confusing way, he plays with surface and depth, figuration, and abstraction in clear shades as made for the bright evenings of spring. Ida Persson also impresses in the usual way. In two monumental canvases, she methodically builds uptight geometric compositions whose exact lines draw sharp angles and shadows. They form a seemingly rational and yet incomprehensible system that exerts a cool but strange attraction. Like Persson, Jennifer Myerscough is educated at Umeå Art Academy. If her painting with dense color fields, driving shapes, and sharp throws may seem a little harder to deal with, it's worth it. In "Composition (weather)" the weather appears as mild as it is compact as if the feeling of thundercloud softly slackened against the cheek.
31 Mars 2019
Daniel Fleur at Stene Projects
In the digital world, the glitch offers strong visual effects. A glitch is a distortion, in other words, digital information that has derailed. In German glitch means slick, and it is an apt description of a disordered collection of pixels that slips around in a slippery digital world. This unintentional effect creates random asymmetrically pixelated patterns that, among other things, have been featured in fashion for some time.
In his paintings displayed at Stene Projects, Daniel Fleur has also stuck to the aesthetic and conceptual possibilities of pixels. Happily, he avoids the digital glitch kitsch but suggests a kind of technical mishap with caution in a relatively traditional painting with roots in contemporary painters such as Luc Tuymans and Marlene Dumas. It is a thin and sensitive layer painting with watercolor-like qualities.
The paintings are thus not just studies in the possibilities of color and drawing to create light and space, but are charged by the tension between a digital aura and the painting's basic questions. The images depict elusive and anonymous spaces, some kind of deconstructed landscape, and in a couple of less shaky studies, a person seen from behind is portrayed and a white carver chair.
The intensely brushed elements of pixels give the images distorted and talentedly tilted lives.
While the baby's washcloths are being put on a bar, the darkness grows in the refrigerator. This year's first exhibition at Galleri Arnstedt opens the home's closed doors. First out, for the twentieth year in a row, is a selection of last year's graduate students at Malmö Art
Academy. Here, five young artists take place in the field of tension between the intimate and the eerie, the abstract, and the corporeal.
The presentation may appear controlled, even factual, but opens up layer after layer of meanings. It should come as no surprise when it comes to Ellinor Lager's work. There is something about how she handles the materials when she lets cool metal meet soft textiles or fragile porcelain. Her sculptures refuse to be obediently defined. Instead, they act as a crossing between body parts, interior design, and scientific instruments. More clearly than before, the female experience penetrates. Two castings of the heavily pregnant belly balance on fragile legs, facing each other like paraboles in silent communication. Over the wall, the porcelain signs in "White ink" move as symbols from the secret writing of the breast milk.
These are works that take root in everyday life, in childbirth and motherhood, but in a way far from the 1970s body art and kitchen-sink realism. Against the past feminist depictions of vaginas and female primordial power, Lager's "Vaginal swing" stands in stark contrast, with its soft terrycloth placed on a strict metal stand. Nevertheless, there is tenderness and vulnerability there. Despite her restrained nature, her work often has an almost primitive, human charisma.
Similarly, Joana Pereira households financially with means and expression. It is painting on canvas, but not as we are used to seeing it. Instead, she sews, and folds the canvas, to attach it to the wall as if it were sheets or tablecloths. Everything is painted in shiny light pink. And yes, it's a furiously sophisticated game with the monochrome - the painting's story of male geniuses, with the housewife's linen closet and the skin's smooth shifts.
Rasmus Ramö Streith is not quite so subtle when he undermines the idyll of the home. If he plays with something, it is Freud's concept of the unheimlich, the creeping feeling of discomfort when the familiar becomes threatening and foreign. On the outside, everything is
probably so ordinary, a stack of outer boxes, a refrigerator, and a TV with video work. But in one of the boxes is a clothed male leg, while a shapeless black mass has taken over the refrigerator. Suggestively, he twists the trivial until it becomes clear how thin the membrane of upbringing, habit, and reason is, which maintains some kind of normality.
It is also interesting to see with what obviousness a younger generation makes the tradition-laden painting theirs. Daniel Fleur has already exhibited and attracted attention with his method of translating a motif from digital photography into painting in a confusing pixelated whispering game.
Sebastião Borge's painting also challenges vision and sharpens the gaze until it registers the slightest shift and hue. In a suite of ten paintings, he follows the texture of the canvas with the ballpoint pen until the lines seem to unite with the tuned grain of the
fabric. Against the bright green background of the acrylic paint, they shimmer in dark red-violet. Here and there, the ink seals with an almost obsessed frenzy and then diffusely dissolves like a shadow or cloud front. Like the exhibition in general, his painting, despite its low-key expression, contains an intense load. It is a promising start to this year's art season in Östra Karup.
CULTURE 23 February 2019
When the art elaborate on the truth
It could be the waiting corner at the hair salon in the neighborhood. Some wicker furniture, green plants, and a stack of newspapers. Pauliina Pietilä paints sections of reality. That's how it seems anyway. But it is not a matter-of-fact realism she engages in. In the mentioned "Parlour", the interior is seen as through a filter colored by emerald and crimson. The everyday is transformed.
But is not this transformation inevitable? Not even a photograph would reproduce the waiting corner exactly, that is,
three-dimensionally in full scale. An image always adds something new.
It was already claimed by the ancient Greeks - or, at least Aristotle when he discussed mimesis, the ability of art to imitate reality. He believed that mimesis is a creative activity that can teach us something about ourselves and the world, the questions and situations we face. In this, he differed from Plato, who likened mimesis to a lie, which seduces the audience's feelings (and yet, he used the form of the poem with dialogues and accurate parables when he presented his philosophy).
One thing is for sure, what I recognize I can relate to. And when the image of it shifts, the familiar is set in motion. All this is discussed by the philosopher Staffan Carlshamre in an interesting text, where he recalls how the American philosopher Nelson Goodman called
thinkers and artists world makers. They create new worlds for us to live in. This is exactly the case with Pietilä's scenes, which holds a parallel reality, illuminated but enigmatic. Her paintings are displayed at Ystad Art Museum, where eight artists whom all relate to some
form of a model meets. It is a real dream team the curator Isac Nordgren Jonasson has gathered, mainly from the boom of figurative painting in recent years. So, it becomes really exciting. Lustfully and critically, the artists process the image flow of our time as well as the art's classic motifs, techniques, and genius. In her suite "Where do we go from here?" Lena Johansson paints directly on the global clothing giant's mass-produced t-shirts. Her images made after advertising and fashion photography ask questions with a cool sharpness to the consumer society that constantly triggers new desires but never gives satisfaction.
Dull brilliant is Henrik Lund Jørgensen's project "Friends he lost at sea", which revolves around a video reconstruction of Skagen painter Michael Ancher's dramatic depictions of a rescue expedition. It becomes strong when he allows asylum seekers in today's Denmark - many of them escaped across the Mediterranean - to take on the roles of both the weather-beaten fishermen and the shipwrecked.
In Viktor Rosdahl's monumental paintings, the traditions and functions of the representation collide. There, demonstration trains get lost in the mountainous landscapes of romance, while devouring holes open up in the dirty canvas next to the snapshots from the hearths of the conflicts reported by the news. In the end, pigs can also fly, when the image fails in a painterly meltdown that still convinces. And why? Because artists have no longer had credible representation as to their main task since the arrival of photography. In line with Magritte's pipe, they are instead increasingly devoting themselves to problematizing and commenting on the very relationship between artwork and model.
Daniel Fleur is a prime example of that. He graduated from Malmö Art Academy last year and is currently at Krognoshuset. He makes a landscape painting, and then starts from a digital photo of the original when he makes the next painting, and so on.
For each new version, changes occur in resolution, scale, light, and color temperature until the series forms a refined visual whisper.
This is how his painting triggers the movement of the eye and the mind between the material and the immaterial. The physical material that the images consist of and the actual or fictitious landscape that is strictly speaking not there, but which still seems present.
I think of how even Pauliina Pietilä's dreamy interiors or Viktor Rosdahl's painterly meltdown create new terrains to reflect on,
be seduced by, or get lost in. That's what the artist gives us as world makers.
CULTURE 3 November 2018
Want to fool the eye into new way of seeing
We do not so often use our bodies to see anymore. We seldom measure the distance to be able to jump over a stream, or look up and experience our place in the scales of the landscape. Perhaps we have become more accustomed to seeing in the registers that
technology requires. In squares of different sizes. Two exhibitions with contemporary painting actualize these forms of sight: partly how the eye is trained by the digital world of images but also how the human body is put in relation to the image.
At gallery Ping-Pong, Henrik Dahlström uses his body as a measure and to some extent a tool. The artist has done a painting with the little finger and in the suite "Väg" he has left blank footprints in white on the large canvases. Yellow road markings cut through the asphalt gray and black. You can see all the brushstrokes up close and how the canvas shines through the dark oil paint. In contrast to the simple motifs and the disciplined imagery, the traces of the hand can be read as touching signs of imperfection, or a kind of realism, as the artist himself emphasizes.
Daniel Fleur belongs to a younger generation and, like Dahlström, has a master's degree from Malmö Art Academy. Fleur's paintings consist of small squares as if they had been digitized and repainted with poorer resolution. The new works at Wadström Tönnheim are
all relatively small, and the portrait format emphasizes the connection to the digital image. In Fleur's impressive graduation exhibition this summer, large works were shown - which referred to heroic landscape painting. In this smaller format, the art historical references
appear more in the form of an impressionistic filter that seems to have been applied. A stack of dandelions or a white kitchen chair looks more like Instagram studies than finished works, but perhaps that's the point, to fool the eye into new forms of sight.
Both Dahlström and Fleur have a specific manner that can touch on the constructed, but it is kept on track by their interest in painting as such, the craft and the surface. These are original paintings. Fun to watch and fun to think about.