A Two-Sided Unni Askeland

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Unni Askeland‘s ‘Friezed’ was showcased at the National Museum of Fine Arts between January 14 and March 28. Occupying the loggia, were two sets of distinct projects, communicating in two distinct voices; acrylics and silkscreen printing.

The official ‘Friezed’ collection include a set of 20 canvases that act as a surface for 11 acrylic scenes. Landscapes and trees are the main subject, silhouetted in front of the sun, the moon or a colored sky. Norway’s celebrity artist depicts the surrounding Kløfta outside Oslo, where she lives together with her artist husband Sverre Koren Bjertnæs. No story is told through the works but an attempt at representing an ever-changing lifescape.

The overall experience whilst floating over these forest landscapes was quite disappointing. Being at the Museum of Fine Arts, some kind of sharper execution and deeper thesis was expected. Or was this set, an initial process for further investigation by Askeland?

Moving inside, a sense of delight took over in front of some surprisingly striking and bold Warhol-like large portraits – part of Askeland’s BIG BIG BIG collection which was also on display at Christine X Art Gallery in Sliema.

The contrasts between the expanding colour and the lack of it create vibrance in what felt like a short motion-clip effect. Here, a clear voice could be heard through the forms.

Indeed a big visual and emotive contrast from one expression to the other, giving rise to a number of questions and some curiosity about the artist.

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