Søren Martinsen


The Utopian notion of the Good Life in the countryside is challenged, even shattered in Søren Martinsen’s interior and landscape paintings, which can be seen at the Martin Asbæk Gallery until 16th October 2010. As a new feature the works in the large format have been painted on raw linen with a mixture of thin layers of acrylic paint and subsequent thicker layers in oils.

The exhibition title Field Studies refers to the artist’s scientific approach to and in-depth investigation of the man-made domestic landscapes and the natural, classic Danish landscapes that the artist frequents on a daily basis around Glumsø. The panoramic landscape depictions have been recreated with the aid of photographic registrations and clear memories. But the direct references in the works to actual places and the succession of the seasons entails an anything but naturalistic look – rather a timeless and unreal impression. The works take on the character of psychedelic landscape paintings which at one and the same time affect, transform and enrich the viewer’s perception of the reality of normally idyllic landscape subjects. Even the titles of the works, such as Fluoxetine 60 mg, distort one’s ideas of the romantic life in the countryside and emphasize the psychedelic idiom of the works.

The works present a glimpse of an external reality that is cropped and manipulated by the artist. The process of creation is thus ascribed to an almost symbolic mechanism which entails that the landscape subjects, with their differences in both composition and choice of colours, can be read as a portrait of the artist Søren Martinsen or as a product of the artist’s mind.

Søren Martinsen (b. 1966) studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1995 and has a master’s degree in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London from 1994. Martinsen is also currently exhibiting at Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art with Children of the New Age, where the viewer is taken, in the documentary video work of the same name, on a journey into a religious universe far from our rational everyday life.

Martin Asbæk

‘Dear …….,’.


As a newcomer in the Danish artworld I am unqualified to curate an exhibition of Danish painting. This is the premise of the exhibition ‘Dear …….,’.

I selected a painter based in Denmark and sent them the following letter of invitation.

‘Dear …….,

I am putting together a show of ‘Danish’ painters. It will work as a game of tag. As a newcomer here I am outside the history and politics, gossip and rumour of the Danish art world. Which in many ways is a great benefit and in others a disadvantage. This exhibition will acknowledge my naivety and release me from my usual dictatorial position of choice within my gallery. I am handing over responsibility of choice to the artists. It will give me a crash course in contemporary Danish painting (hopefully).

It will work like this – I will choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark, then, they will anonymously choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark, then, they will anonymously choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark. etc. This will carry on until the same painter is chosen twice or somebody says no. So, the show will be a random, meandering journey through what is being made here. I will then curate the show by visiting each artists studio and selecting the work(s) to be shown. These might be brand new or earlier works. The show will open here early March (March 5th).

You have been anonymously selected by another painter to be in the show. All you have to do is say yes to being in the show and choose someone else to be in the show. I will then approach them and send them this text. You can select anyone painting here in Denmark now. Someone you think represents what is happening now, or is forgotten, or overlooked, or needs reappraising, or deserves their first break, or is busy showing but their work is so great we should show it some more…just remember that they will then anonymously select someone else.

David Risley Gallery