High, Low & in Between
15 Oct – 04 Dec 2010
The Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson (b. 1975) works conceptually across a range of different media, such as painting, photography, sculpture and installation. Eriksson’s works appear quiet, poetic and understated, but the moods and themes they give rise to possess a significance which takes hold of the spectator and stays there. His works often encompasses dualities such as inside and outside, lightness and heaviness, illusion and reality. Since 2000 the artist has lived in Kinnerulle, Sweden, in a house surrounded by forest. Small events and phenomena from his everyday life and from the nature which surrounds him become the outset for his works and of a range of meta-reflexions surrounding the work and its formal, metaphorical, conceptual and perceptual characteristics.
High, Low & in Between is Eriksson’s first solo exhibition in the gallery. Through apparently simple motifs – paintings of windows, bronze casts of birds and molehills – the artist asks the spectator the basic question What is the meaning of this? hereby generating a series of more complex and involving considerations. We feel unsure when presented with the motifs in all their immediacy and peculiarity and we become forced to establish a new mode of contemplation, by which we can perceive and understand the works – or rather a way to recover this mode of viewing, as Eriksson’s work demands a certain perception and sensibility, which has become lost in the rapid, rushed and superficial way we view our world. Confronted with his work we are forced to re-establish a slow, introvert and delicate way through which to contemplate.
Collectively Eriksson’s works can be called landscape images, because as such the works draw upon the romantic Nordic tradition, even though they, in their form, are far removed from classical landscape painting. They are not great panoramas, but rather crooked extracts of small apparently random or insignificant fragments, which force us to re-evaluate and see anew. Suddenly we glimpse the bark of a tree, a broken twig, a slanting stem, a branching or a spot of moss in the middle of the snow. Small modest details which otherwise would disappear in the grand perspective. Eriksson’s photos which are often displayed alongside his paintings, are a sort of registration of these details and phenomena, that almost systematically seems to have been photographed – for instance piles of snow, rows of parallel branches or logs, big hummocks or rocks, which breaks the level surface of a snow covered landscape. In addition to these registrations Eriksson’s work contain a range of formal explorations, which overall deal with colour and matter. As Eriksson express it Colour as matter and matter as colour. In the works there is a certain “realism”, not a classical realism as in the history of art, stemming from visual resemblance or optic illusion, but rather a kind of investigation into how we perceive the painted through colour and materiality. His investigations deal with for example the bark of log and its rough surface or the gaze through the glass of a window where its tiny distortions, fades and reflections are rendered. Eriksson hereby zooms in on a sort of micro observations of the details, which we normally overlook, but which play a part in determining how we view our world.
For High, Low & in Between Eriksson has created a range of “window paintings” which partly focus on the relation between inside and outside, and partly, in a painterly relation, deal with the window glass with its lightly faded, rounded and softened perspective on the world outside. The window paintings are exhibited in the gallery’s front room, where Eriksson’s motifs of small barred windows create a relation to the large plain windows of the gallery. The well known classical art historical metaphor of the window, where the window and the painting are juxtaposed and become a metaphor both for a room you can step into and one through which you can view the world outside, lay as a latent layer in these works. In the gallery’s middle and inner room are displayed smaller bronze sculptures from the series Content is a Glimpse and Sorkhöger, which respectively are casts of birds which have died as a result of flying into the artist’s studio windows, and casts of molehills, which now breaks up through the gallery’s floor. The dead birds lie in conjunction with the metaphor of the window. They become an expression of the classical duality of inside and outside and of the illusion of the window/painting. Furthermore, together with the molehills, they point toward the artist’s sensibility of that which we do not see, thereby forcing us to re-establish our sensibility and a slow and careful contemplation of our world and the phenomena within it.
In 2007 Andreas Eriksson received the Baloise Art Prize for his contribution to Art Statements Basel. He has exhibited at a range of international museums, amongst others Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna in 2008, Momentum in Moss in 2009 and Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2010.
Inger Marie Hahn Møller, MA in Art History