Opening Speech Notes:
My work in general revolves around the concept of loneliness, alienation and (loss of) identity in a fragmented and turbulent reality.
Particularly the alienation in various forms has my interest and I see the concept from different angles (an internal alienation in relation to body & mind - and social alienation in relation to the outside world). The angle chosen may differ from painting to painting, or several angles may be treated in the same painting.
Recently I have taken an interest in something as concrete as our alienated relationship to death - which is apparent in several recent paintings.
Personally, I have had many thoughts and feelings about the idea of my own death - to such an extent that I have laid sleepless at night. Eventually, these moments, strangely weightless in the dark, somewhere between the awake & not awake, contemplating about mind, body & death, became the starting point and inspiration for this exhibition.
Instead of denying my thoughts and my anxiety, I am observing, describing and treating them in my paintings. However, I do not give any final answers or finished manuals in my work, I set the scene, make innuendo - and then invite for reflection and interpretation.
My paintings may seem less accessible to some - and that is fully deliberate. I'm interested in doing work that requires a bit of the audience - and that encourages interpretation and immersion and have what we could call a long-lasting quality - in the sense that you should be able to keep coming back to them and discover new aspects.What I am aiming at is to make paintings that hints, set a mood or a scene - like the beginning of a poem or a story - and then leave openings that allow the work to unfold in the encounter with you.
My approach is the interest in what we can call the subjective chaos - this mishmash of thoughts, feelings, etc. that are found within us all, but which one cannot really put into words. Or maybe it is actually partly going on in some subconscious layers, so one cannot explain it logically at all! For me this is where visual art holds something very special - in relation to directly communicating irrational and very subjective content in a non-verbal and non-logical manner.
Thematically, as an artist I am in the existential department, alienation being somewhat of a main theme for me. It can, for example, be an external alienation in relation to the surroundings and social situations or internal alienation in relation to one's identity, thoughts or perhaps one's own body - or one's own mortality.
If I have to say a little about how this is done in practice - that is, the work in my studio - it really is very closely connected with my theme and approach.
Since we are in the subjective department and I cannot really crawl into the minds of other people - I have to use the one I live in, my own. So part of the process involves investing myself quite heavily in the work and trying to get some kind of access to my own subconscious mind.
When I start a painting, it is really very logical and usually a naturalistic drawing directly on the canvas and then I work out from that. Sometime I do investigate the subject in some small paper works before I pass it on to the large formats. But then - I start naturalistically and work from there by adding a lot of layers, alternately drawing and painting - the same motif in different angles and expressions, over and over. At some point it happens that I get lost in all these layers and this is where it gets good!
The brain will always try to find the right connections and systems - but in this complex jumble of layers the individual layers lose their original meaning and coherence - and thus an opportunity opens for the brain to form new contexts and patterns! And from here I follow what occurs on the canvas - and try to refrain from thinking rationally whether it is right or wrong or anatomically correct. We can call it reaction without reflection. So something happens on the canvas and I react to it and a dialogue between me and the canvas ensues.
Of course it is not just a purely intuitive approach to it all, I alternate between this unreflected response to what appears on the canvas and then a very rational and thoughtful way of working - it can be naturalistic details, geometric components or compositional cuts. But I am constantly changing between the two sides - the intuitive emotional action and the more rational and planned action.
At some point in time, I have drawn the lasting motive forward - and the very last thing I do is then to contain and focus on the essence of the work by adding the very simplistic geometric backgrounds.
And it is the simple and fast version of how my paintings come about. This means that I cannot plan a work from A to Z - but that also means that I usually first understand my own things in hind sight!