Contemporary art from Sweden

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Per Mårtensson

Per Mårtensson
 

A series of small-scale canvases by Per Mårtensson are almost abstract in appearance. In fact, they portray the interiors of nameless art galleries whose typically sparse architecture becomes the subject of a witty alignment of artwork and artspace (above and below).

These meta-paintings both subvert and extol, acknowledging the dominant role of commercial exhibition space while poking gentle fun at its apparent insubstantiality.

Per Mårtensson: Swedish contemporary art
Per Mårtensson: contemporary Swedish artists
 

Mårtensson frequently invests in such low-key, high impact puns, many of which likewise involve the gallery itself. In the work Wall/Light, for example, spotlights illuminate a bare wall that seems to await a painting; in its absence, the 'empty' space is afforded the value and validity of art.

Per Mårtensson: Swedish contemporary art

Similar tactics have been used by other artists, but Mårtensson's conceit is lent extra weight by a second work, Wall/Paint, which functions in tandem with the first.

Consisting of a wall-sized painting that carefully reproduces the lighting on the wall opposite, both pieces are implicated into a kind of diptych; a pairing of works that twin - even fuse - absence with presence.

Extending these conceptual shenanigans even further, Wall/Mirror is a photorealistic image of a mirror that seems to reflect the walls and milky white light of the gallery beyond.

These apparently reductive or minimal works again riff on the austerity of the white cube while mocking its ubiquity and ultimate conformity. After all, even though Mårtensson's conceptual games were created for a specific space, they could equally function in almost any commercial gallery anywhere in the world.

In other works, such as large-scale canvases depicting the slats of drawn blinds (below), Mårtensson continues his transformation of architectural artefacts into pictorial space.

Coolly striped in black and white, these paintings pose credibly as hard-edged abstractions: it's only the presence of less-than perfect lines, kinks and folds that allow us, eventually, to see the light.

Per Mårtensson: Swedish contemporary art
Per Mårtensson: Swedish contemporary art
 

 

Lisa Jonasson

Lisa Jonasson, Swedish art now
 

Lisa Jonasson first attracted attention with her exuberantly colourful, faux naive drawings (below and bottom).

Lisa Jonasson, Swedish art now

In recent years, these have developed into collages constructed entirely of cut paper, each element individually created before assembly in large, vibrant works.

Primitivist in feeling, yet nominally concerned with issues such as career stress, fixation with appearance and perfect parenting, these humourous pieces provide a highly decorative, colour-infused contrast to more sombre Swedish art.

Lisa Jonasson:contemporary Swedish artists
Lisa Jonasson: Swedish contemporary art
 

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