Kathrine Ærtebjerg - AMONG THE LIVING, THE DEAD AND THE UNBORN, 7 September - 20 October 2007


In Ærtebjerg’s new paintings pregnancy is presented as a central theme. The paintings take their point of departure in a female universe of experience characterized by happiness, longing, insecurity and pain. Simultaneously, the paintings depict a universal experience of transformation and creation: A state of transition, where the external circumstances and inner mental relationsships cross, merge and are displaced into each other. Ærtebjergs paintings thus deal with the notion of metamorphosis, as they present themselves as pictures of the physical, social and psychological changeability of human beings. 

 

Ærtebjerg’s sources of inspiration are heterogeneous with references to symbolism and surrealism as well as phenomena of popular culture such as fantasy litterature and Japanese cartoons. Like the cult director Hayao Miyazaki, who is widely known for films such as Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky, Ærtebjerg manages to merge the childlike, the fantastic and the spiritual. Ærtebjergs paintings also include different kinds of creatures: The dead, the living and the unborn. They are not separated in time and space. On the contrary they seem to coexist in Ærtebjerg’s imaginative and paradoxical parallel worlds.  

 

Ærtebjerg’s paintings depict undefinable states of transition. They are played out in the borderland between conciousness and unconciousness, figuration and abstraction. Usually a female figure is placed in a more or less recognizable universe consisting of dramatic mountain scenery, insect-like human figures, gigantic fantasy flowers and patchwork carpets overgrown with mushrooms. It is an ambiguous universe that is neither defined as recognizable realism of the everyday nor as unreal conceptions of the imagination. Ærtebjerg’s enigmatic works rather place themselves somewhere in between, due to the fact that they, with their open statements, enable the beholder to explore the complex and visually fascinating pictorial world of the painting.

Kathrine Ærtebjerg, The silent war, 2006, acrylic, spray and oil on canvas, 60 x 75 cm