øJERUM / COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
The figures in my collages always seem to be lost in thought as if they were contemplating their very existence. That is why they so often have closed or downcast eyes. They seem to strive for a feeling of simply being present in the world. Or maybe in another world. Longing for an existence as elemental, silent and pure as rocks, trees and seas. They appear austere, fragile and vulnerable, immersed in an opaque introspection - lost in doubt, uncertainty and anxiety while looking inwards in an attempt to obtain tranquility.
Prjct Social / INTERVIEW
How is the art scene in your city/country compared to the U.S/Michigan? Are their distinct differences that you’ve noticed in sales approach, perception of your work, and personal taste?
In Denmark works of collage have a rather low status in the so called art scene, or at least that's been my experience so far. Figurative collages are usually not really considered works of art in the same sense as say paintings and drawings are. It's my impression that there's a whole other scene for collage art in the U.S. and that it is much more appreciated. My experience when participating in the Spring Break Art Fair in New York last year confirmed this belief and so I'm very excited for exhibiting in the U.S. again.
Walk us through a day in the studio. When you are fully committed to working on a new or current piece, what is your mindset, goals you keep in mind? What kind of mood does your space give off?
I'm fairly unstructured and usually prefer to work in the evening and late night. My ideas seem to flourish in the dark when the everyday rush has quieted and the world is laid bare. My workspace consists of organized chaos. It is filled with books, pictures and music instruments (I record music here as well) so the atmosphere is very homely and safe. I usually prefer to work in either complete silence or wrapped in loud music. There's a few guidelines I follow when working: i) If I feel like what I'm working on could just as well have been done by somebody else I discard it ii) If an assembly of clippings conjure up a meaning or symbolism that I too apparent I haven't been able to create the expression I was seeking iii) I have to be able to relate to what I'm doing on an emotional level.
Give our audience some insight on who these characters are? What influences helped shape your imagination and authentic style?
The philosopher Emmanuel Levinas has a concept called 'il y a' – the 'there is' – which he uses to describe a sort of pure being. Reading about the 'il y a' has influenced me on multiple levels and I feel like his descriptions comes very close to the expression I'm striving for. I love the works of Franz Kafka and of the Norwegian poet Tor Ulven and I get endless amounts of inspiration from listening to music. In the latter case an honorable mention would go to 'The Pearl' by Harold Budd and Brian Eno since this album so beautifully expresses emotions similar to the ones I'm trying to convey.
What do you do when you aren’t painting? Any other hobbies or vices you can’t live without?
When I'm not doing collages I make music or write about nonexistent worlds.
Can you remember the first time you picked up a paintbrush? When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I started doing collages around 2010. The first pieces I made simply as a way of passing time. I didn't really think that much about it. A year or so later my girlfriend encouraged me to dig deeper and I started thinking more about how I could express myself through collages. That was when I started developing a style.
How has it been working with Prjct OMNi for this installation in Northern Michigan? What made you decide to work with our platform?
I was quickly convinced by the kindness, trust and enthusiasm steaming from the correspondence I had with Prjct OMNI as well as by the high quality of works I saw from the other artists involved in this project.
When someone looks at your work, what do you want them to feel?
Emotion, mood and memory are of paramount importance in what I do. I would like the viewer to be able to relate to the figures in my collages and I'd like to conjure up some emotions. But I'd like it to be more akin to a wandering about in sensation than a describable feeling (which might however be a contradiction in terms). Ideally I'd like to convey a feeling of the aforementioned opaque introspection similar to the one my figures seem to be immersed in. I used to have a hard time giving up my personal favorite works but I've learned to let go of them and to enjoy the fact that they get new owners and a new home.
What do you want to happen to your work once life is said and done? How would you like to be remembered?
I can only hope that somebody will keep some of my works and that I can be remembered as someone who at some point made a small contribution to the vast collection of interpretations of the human condition.