Jesper Christiansen - NICE PAINTINGS, 15 September - 23 October 2006

The exhibition presents a series of new, experimental works, which each anticipates new themes in the artist’s production. The title 'Nice Paintings' describes the tense balance between the calm surface and the manifold, restless layers underneath, which characterizes Jesper Christiansen’s works. From the gallery walls colourful surfaces and constructivist planes tumble towards the spectator, who is projected from work to work as new layers and correspondences between the paintings reveal themselves. Gone are the many words that for some years made visual poems out of Christiansen’s paintings. Instead, motives such as ground plans, record covers and Pierre Bonnard’s check patterned kitchen table cloth occur, which, just like Christiansen himself, represents a skew and explorative approach to painting as a modern genre.

 

The references in 'Nice Paintings' are many and ambiguous. Every work sets forth an individual theme as well as a personal landscape. As the work 'Grass', which take its point of departure in a map of the suburban neighbourhood of the artist’s childhood, and continues with record covers of Easy Rider, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. Mitchell’s critique of petit bourgeois suburbia carry in Christiansen’s works memories of grass allergy and lengthy afternoons. And as in the work on the composer Morton Feldman, which connects visually to the music composition 'Crippled Symmetry', whose asymmetrical tones are recreated in Christiansen’s work through the ornamental pattern of the painting. As in earlier works, sound and music is highly present in "Nice Paintings".

 

While sound and space are both visually present in 'Nice Paintings', one also becomes aware of the notion of time through the hints to the past and the anchoring of the works in the present. Christiansen’s works gather a range of movements, narratives and associations, which together form a sense of simultaneity in the works. By this simultaneity, the artist attempts to embrace the flickering reality of our age, and 'Nice Paintings' become at the same time symptom and expression of a modern experience of the world.

Jesper Christiansen, Farmer in the City, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 238 x 200 cm