Bevissthetens Skygge

Christer Glein

March 1 – 24, 2018

Press Release

It is with great excitement that Galleri Brandstrup announce the new solo exhibition ”Bevissthetens Skygge” (The Shadow of Consiousness) by Norwegian artist Christer Glein, Thursday, March 1st, at 7pm.

The title of the exhibition plays on the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious in the process of creating a painting. For ”Bevissthetens Skygge” (The Shadow of Consiousness), the artist is inspired by what gets accepted and what gets rejected in the creative process, which eventually results in a story. During Gleins three solo shows at Galleri Brandstrup, the physical space and the possibilities of painting have been one of the artist's focus points, an interest that puts him in dialogue with thoughts one can recognize from modern art history.

The formal focus in Glein’s art is his active struggle to eliminate contrasts in his paintings, both between figuration and nonfiguration, and in his use of colors. One can see faces glide into unidentifiable shapes and abstract shadows, in landscapes where nothing seems more important than the other. Glein's coloring technique plays a central role in creating this effect, a technique that can be recognized by Jakob Weidemann and Serge Poliakoff. No color is alone on the canvas, but applied in layers on layers between monochrome substrates and pointelistic coats of different colors. The different colors distinguish the geometrical color surfaces and motifs seamlessly.

Glein is particularly interested in references from art history, yet makes us question how the western art-historical canon could be interpreted. In the exhibition, there is a series of paintings entitled "Trinity", here one can see that Glein has appropriated several classical paintings from the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance and Mannerism. Their common feature is that they portray the story of the popular saint Antonius from Padova, the same way that he has been portrayed by artists such as Tintoretto, Jan Mandyn and Master of Girard. The paintings however, are interrupted by a new layer, depicting motifs derived from the Congolese tribe "Luba". The motifs are characterized by wood-cut bodies in abstract geometric shapes, covered with intricate patterns and distinctive facial features.

This focus on primitivism can be seen in western art history back to the time of Picasso and beyond impressionism, Glein however also poses questions concerning his own culture. In the 1940s, in America, ideas like this flourished on the art scene, then focusing on Carl Gustav Jung's theories about archetypes. His theory was based on a type of "collective memory" as an instinctive unconscious way of perceiving the world - a kind of mental device that regulates our intuitive perceptions of the world. The theory brings an interesting perspective on the works of “Bevissthetens skygge” (Shadow of Consciousness), in the way that Glein appropriates and repeats the same artistic motives painted by different artists in different periods of time. In this way, Glein reveals how Western art history is based on archetypes, a Western collective memory that excludes these global perspectives.