mamma andersson at museum haus esters, krefeld

23 October 2011
Mamma Andersson is one of Scandinavia's foremost contemporary artists. She notched up her first international success in 2003 when she was invited to appear at the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennale. In 2007 the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, organised her first retrospective, which subsequently was shown in Helsinki and London. The current exhibition, conceived specially for Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, is the artist's first ever presentation in Germany. The exhibition Dog Days in Krefeld features 14 new paintings and 4 works on paper all produced this year.

In her paintings Mamma Andersson brings a variety of sources together to forge surprising, complex amalgams. Thus she harks back on the one hand to the Nordic tradition of landscape painting in the 19th and 20th centuries (Dick Bengtsson, Carl Fredrik Hill, Ernst Josephson, among others), while on the other hand she takes interiors from forensic investigations as her basis and thus allows unvarnished reality to enter her paintings in the form of commonplace rooms. "It is boring, everyday time that attracts me the most", the artist says. In addition, she also uses scenarios from theatre brochures in which concrete situations in life are captured in a nutshell. And last but not least, Mamma Andersson's works are always enriched by her own personal experiences of life and indebted to her subjective, emotional perspective.

Mamma Andersson does not paint series; each painting is driven instead by its own inner necessity. And this applies equally to her painting technique. Over the years the artist had developed a whole battery of experimental painting techniques, which are always adjusted however to the motif and there instilled with meaning. During the process she changes without more ado from meticulous detail to abstract sections done in gestural strokes, giving the canvases an uncannily suggestive power. In this way a painting of an everyday walk, for instance, turns into a more or less explicit family drama in which her protagonists are outlined with almost psychological acuity. And even when the artist chooses to dispense with people, her brush gives interiors and things in the outside world a psychological charge. Thus a depiction of a normal children's room proves on closer inspection to be a place ravaged by solitude and destruction, a deserted ship's deck surrounded by a black sea as a metaphor of existential helplessness and abandonment. With sparse gestures concentrating on the essentials, and combined with fine details, Mamma Andersson manages to conjure up scenarios that forever aim at the human condition in its entirety.

The exhibition runs until 5 February 2012.

www.kunstmuseenkrefeld.de