The Danish artist Allan Otte depicts rural life with a crude eye. His pictures show anything but farmyard idyll. Otte is one of the first artists to deal with the conditions in the countryside since the national romanticism and later social realistic painters like H.A. Brendekilde (1857-1942) and L.A. Ring (1854-1933).
Otte’s landscapes are contemporary in their expression and in the technique he has used. The motif is put together from many photographs that he has prepared on the computer, and then painted afterwards. He samples his own motifs and atmospheres with a hyperrealistic result.
Article Fragment and Gesture Bubbles, 2004
By a deserted country road lies a farm in a nondescript overcast light. The edifice and the surrounding farmland are abandoned; only an open window on the building’s gable suggests a human presence. The two-winged farm is recognisable due to the accurately drawn details but the unfocused and indefinable details seem artificial. The farm is placed in a delimited area in the bottom half of the painting on a uniform, white background. Floating above it are six circular ‘bubbles’ filled out with horizontal brushstrokes in shimmering colours.
Made with a complicated technique, the painting combines a realistic rendering of a subject with abstract, spray painted elements. The colour scheme of the painting is dominated by cool greys, disrupted by the white of the background and the pink, green and blue pastels in the top half of the picture.
About the workIn Article Fragment and Gesture Bubbles Otte has created an evocative universe that is both familiar and strange. The painting’s recognisable elements are countered by a surreal atmosphere supported by the synthetic pastels. Otte enhances this sense of looking at a fictitious universe, partly by employing an airbrush technique or applying the paint in vertical and horizontal movements, counteracting the spatiality of the subject, engendering a kind of abstraction. And partly by constructing the painting from discrete elements which appear to be placed on the surface of the picture with no logical, interconnected relations.
Allan Otte’s art in generalOtte’s derelict pictures portray with objective distance a contemporary, abandoned agriculture subject to industrialisation’s demands for efficiency. The subjects of the paintings are real and immediately recognisable. But at the same time surreal elements have a tendency to crop up in the pictures when suddenly the farm hovers in a thought balloon or is deported to an isolated rocky island. Or when Otte “masks” a contemporary agricultural building from its surroundings, making it appear to be isolated on an island in the centre of the painting’s grey surface.
Allan Otte graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2007. He is associated with Galleri Tom Christoffersen, Copenhagen.....