Kathrine Ærtebjerg - SHE, 25 September - 30 October 2004

With the exhibition 'SHE' Kathrine Ærtebjerg opens up to a world of adventure, fairytales and longing. Kathrine Ærtebjerg is a storyteller. She tells stories which at a first glance looks like naive bliss, but on a closer look opens up to a universe where concepts like child/adult and animal/human are not fixed. A universe where existence, sexuality and identity are considered crucial themes. She moves between melancholy, sweetness, humor and intensity, and challenges the audience to take a step into her world and not settle at a first glance. She moves consciously at the border between the simple and the complex, and challenges the audience to find their place on this border.

 

The titles of the paintings are painted directly onto the walls of the exhibition, and makes up guidelines to what is going on in the canvasses. Some titles comment briefly on the paintings, like for instance: 'Surrender, submission' or 'Challenge, obstacle'. Other titles are more telling, and gives insights into the characters of the paintings: 'At last she was home' or 'She felt trapped by her destiny'. The titles contribute to the understanding of the works, and interpret their atmosphere.Kathrine Ærtebjergs way of constructing worlds and figures, reminds of surrealism and symbolism. She is not trying to control the process of painting entirely. Quite the contrary: she intentionally lets small and large animals, figures and creatures through. In all she works in relatively tight constructions, where you often can see creatures crawling around the periphery of the painting. Creatures that have no space within the frame of the painting, but somehow have found their way into it anyway.

 

The exhibition title - the abstract 'SHE' - suggests the feminine character of the show. 'SHE' can be found in many work titles, and together with the mystic symbols create a kind of rebus. A rebus to which there are no final solution. The imagery moves in a feminine universe, and explores a feminine theme. To Ærtebjerg is it important to discuss and tell about feminine values in a masculine age, where the stories that are told often follow in the footsteps of the culture of commercial advertising.In relation with the exhibition a catalogue has been published.