- 23 MAY — 27 JUNE, 2009
GALERIE GABRIEL ROLT is proud to present INVISIBLES, an exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper by Swedish artist Anna Bjerger. This will be Bjerger’s first solo exhibition in The Netherlands.
The paintings of Anna Bjerger capture fleeting moments. We, the viewer, are involved in the paintings as covert onlookers. A tense relationship occurs between the actions represented in the painting and our inclusion as a spectator.
Bjerger works from found photographs, mostly collected from out of date reference books and travel manuals. She is utilizing the photograph's ability to capture short-lived moments and actions. By painting these images, she salvages what would otherwise be lost moments - recreating them as painting, the most permanent of mediums. In her technique, Bjerger does not approach the photograph in a cold, distant manner - her painting is rich and loose, removing the image from its origins and injecting an emotive, atmospheric flavour into the scenes.
The images Bjerger chooses often have a generic quality. The original meaning is private and unknown and can therefore be translated into paintings of people and places that hold no direct associations for the viewer. The who, when and where of these paintings always remains ambiguous, unspecified. There is an outdated, almost nostalgic quality in her choice of images - innocent childhoods, tentative romance, glorious scenery - and subsequently there is a romantic yet also sinister flavour to these too-perfect scenes.
The events are often idyllic and beautiful - children playing in a field, a couple taking a walk through a forest - yet also very mundane. Bjerger involves the viewer, positioning us as an actual spectator in the scene. This is directly acknowledged in ‘Snap’, in which a woman focuses a camera towards the viewer. In many of the works, however, there is a feeling of intrusion, voyeurism, at bearing witness to these intimate, private moments. This role is most explicitly addressed in ‘Jumper’, which portrays the classic image of peeping tomism: a woman undressing. Framed by a window, she has a perfect figure, her sight temporarily obscured as she pulls her clothes over her head. It is a charged as well as ridiculous image - the ultimate adolescent fantasy - and Bjerger emphasises our exploitative, predatory gaze with her seductive handling of paint and the graceful, careful composition of the image.