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Rokeby is delighted to announce the forthcoming exhibition of work by Kathrine Ærtebjerg, the artist's first solo exhibition in the UK despite having received significant national recognition in her home country of Denmark.
Ærtebjerg's paintings and drawings present a stateless world of in-betweens, a feminine Never Land located between reality and fiction, animal and human, and in instances, between puberty and adulthood. More often than not a female protagonist is located within a fantastical landscape which can include oversized animals, morphed nonhuman silhouettes and unrecognisable flowers and foliage. These are places that suggest a magical refuge but which occasionally hint at the absurd world of fairy tales; ambiguity reigns and any number of readings are possible.
Characteristically the artist has given each of her new works for the exhibition elaborate titles, which hint at a sequence of events but never confirm a definite interpretation. Furthermore these titles often confirm that the female characters, though sharing similar features, are not to be confused with the artist. Someone had left her a present or The girl and the animals acknowledges the subject as the artists construct though Ærtebjerg is careful not to suggest any defining narrative and as such each work give the impression of being assembled in the imagination.
These peculiarities are employed by the artist to suggest dream sequences which are heightened by Ærtebjerg's use of scale distortions and her inclusion of abstract, geometric forms. Similarly the paint is often applied by hand and with cloths and rags so that smeared marks sit alongside fine and delicate brush work. Though formally complex and deftly painted the artist succeeds in presenting a seemingly childlike way of organising life and comprehending reality.
It could be said that Ærtebjerg's ultimate interest lies in escaping the commonplace and generating a fantastical retreat from the rationalism often demanded in the everyday. And as such her work could be seen as a contemporary development of the thoughts and conerns of the early Twentieth century Avant Garde who aimed to reunite conscious and unconscious realms so that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday. This combined with elements that are similar to the mystical nineteenth century and Nordic folklore make for a dramatic and unique aesthetic style for the twenty first century.
Kathrine Ærtebjerg graduated from the The Royal Danish Art Academy in 2002. She has shown extensively across Denmark and her work can be found in the collection of the Danish State Museum of Art and the Arken Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Recently Ærtebjerg's work was included in the group exhibition Fairy Tales Forever at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum alongside Ghada Amer, Jeff Koons, Tal R and Takashi Murakami amongst others. It was recently announced that Ærtebjerg has been selected for the Carnegie Art Award 2006.
The exhibition is generously sponsored by the Danish Arts Council Committee for Visual Arts and the Royal Danish Embassy in London.