JANUARY 14 – MARCH 8 2017
Were the artists of Skagen heroes who painted fishermen in a deserving, realistic light, or were they just romanticists who created false, idyllic images? In his new pieces, Søren Martinsen poses polemical questions regarding the landscape of Northern Jutland's role as a catalyst for the visiting artists' presentation of the national spirit and the specific artistic events, which has touched the Danish history to a rare degree.
Søren Martinsen is an original and visual artist, who works both with video art and painting. Now, he has created a unique contextual solo exhibition, which is inspired by the surroundings of Northern Jutland and produced specifically for Kunsthal NORD's raw exhibition space.
In a range of new pieces, the innovative artist takes a concrete and conceptual starting point in the Northern Jutlandic landscape as a catalyst for the many artist-colonies and the specific artistic events that has influenced the Danish history via the artists' residence in the characteristic region.
The exhibition's pieces thus remains critical to the artists who intervened in the landscape and the culture they chose to move to. Were the artists of Skagen heroes, who painted fishermen in a deserving, realistic light, or were they just romanticised academics who created false, idyllic images? And was the obsession with Hjardemål Church for almost half a century ago a visionary happening or rather an aggressive, destructive act, which ruined the New Society's thought liberating potentials.
In Søren Martinsen's visual interpretations, famous and colorful paintings of Skagen Beach becomes sinister, empty portrayals in greyish tones whilst well-known figures from the legendary artist-colony now occurs as sculptural interventions on the floors of the gallery. Earlier portrayals of the village Hjardemål and scribbled sketch plans for the now iconic Thylejr in Frøstrup becomes new artistic, explosive collages and enormous photo tapestries that cover the gallery's walls from floor-to-ceiling in Søren Martinsen's processing.
The pieces are not strictly storytelling or documentary, but treat the themes freely and are more like images in their own way. The visual print is the most important to Søren Martinsen, who in his practice uses the art to cover, explore and observe reality. His videos are often about the traces humans leave behind, and how they create landscapes and architecture. The paintings are modern and harsh interpretations of the landscape material, whose hard-drawn motifs are conceptually maintained as an almost frozen reality or scenic still life.
Søren Martinsen often work towards integrating more mental space in his paintings, so the result appears as a new and often fatal expression. Such a conceptual and critical blend will get the idyllic North Jutlandic scenery to appear double bound, exotic, mysterious and eerie. A kind of super realism with mythical layers used for scanning the landscape and transform it into a different, distant reality.
See or download the catalogue here.