Andreas Eriksson: Roundabouts / Kjarval: Top Soil
The exhibitions Roundabouts and Top Soil bring together the art of Andreas Eriksson (b.1975) and Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972). Roundabouts is Andreas Erikssonʼs first international solo exhibition, comprising works made over the past ten years. Eriksson, who is one of Sweden’s most renowned artists of his generation, has been painting for more than twenty years, and also works in other media such as sculpture, textile and photography. He represented Sweden in the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, and his art has been exhibited around the world. He seeks his themes largely in the landscape around Kinnekulla, Sweden, where he has his studio. His work is not directly representational, and Eriksson seeks to capture a certain state or an experience of the environment; his work is often classified in the North European Romantic tradition.
The same may be said of Kjarvalʼs paintings, which have been an influence on Erikssonʼs work. During his long career Kjarval developed special techniques to portray the tangible texture of the land, and a similar approach is seen in the work of Eriksson, who seeks to express a material sense of the environment, rather than the landscape as a whole. Viewing landscape as a metaphor or symbol of itself is a shared characteristic of these two artists.
The core of Roundabouts is a production of Bonniers Konsthall and Reykjavík Art Museum, in collaboration with Trondheim kunstmuseum, and CentrePasquArt in Biel. At Kjarvalsstaðir the exhibition has been reconfigured, and Kjarvalʼs works have been added. The result is Andreas Erikssonʼs personal tribute to Kjarval; even those who are familiar with Kjarval will find here a new and unexpected perspective on his art.
The exhibition Roundabouts is supported by The Nordic Culture Fund.
The Top soil of oil paint (a text on Kjarval)
In the 1930s, when Kjarval decided to look down on the Icelandic landscape instead of looking out, he chose not only to bring himself closer to earth, lava and rock types, but also to concentrate equally so on the oil paint.
The symbiosis between earth pigments and the Icelandic top soil is quite obvious, so obvious that Kjarval’s pairing of the two also comes to be about dissolving the artist into a translator rather than a creator. As if his approach was to honorably try to return the pigments to their origin.
Allowing oneself to merely be a transporter of oil-mixed earth is not a way to let the work become impersonal. Quite the contrary, it is to really dare to give space for any possible subconsciousness to bubble up.
It is also possible to imagine that an eccentric person like Kjarval was dependent on another side, to be the great Icelandic painter, a creator of fantasies.
He approaches the Icelandic landscape from two different directions, through the oil paint´s pigment and from both fantasy and legends. He uses the same pointilistic painting techniques for both approaches and it is here, for me, hopeful to see how disparately paintings are actually experienced despite their formal similarities, and how even the more mild landscapes suddenly begin to bubble with legends.