About the work


     Umuligt notat, 1999
Impossible Note
Oil on canvas
200 x 240 cm

The picture is painted in a fierce and eye-catching manner; the colours vibrant and applied in big strokes, giving the work a deliberately childish and chaotic quality. The conspicuous expanses of colour render the painting flat and without illusionistic depth which adds to the naïve impression.

The crude brushstrokes and the simple, large objects result in a mixture between a child's drawing and an expressive painting that seeks a violent and extroverted expression.

The outcome is a painting that is akin to children's spontaneous and energetic play. The naïve expression of the depicted objects is a playful addition to the solemn and adult medium that oil painting otherwise is considered.

The point of departure for Impossible Note is Tal R's own, utterly ordinary world. He characterises himself as a suburban kid who is often telling banal and simple stories with inspiration drawn from his immediate world: comics, graffiti, sport, etc.

Impossible Note could be a kind of documentation of the artist's own room or the prototype of a confused, dirty, messy teenager room. A room that most mothers know only too well when they have asked their lazy sons to clean up for the fourth time and the result remains the same. The story is not long and complicated but rather a moment of recollection with narrative dimensions.

Impossible Note reveals its genesis in its style of painting. Tal R works with multiple layers which he paints over again and again and thus bringing out the subject. He conjures up a poetic pictorial universe that combines typically expressive painterly qualities with narratives and various associations.

One should not necessarily consider the expressive brushstrokes an update on Expressionism in which the visible brushstrokes were regarded as manifestations of the artist's personality. In Tal R's work they are principally just a style of painting. He accumulates, in his paintings, different impressions in a collage-like idiom, mixing them in various styles and contexts.

He derives his subjects from an eclectic range of sources, including music, youth culture, comics and the recent, expressive art history, such as Asger Jorn and Per Kirkeby.

Tal R's art in general
ARKEN's Collection contains a number of Tal R paintings from the late 1990s as well as a large black wall filled with drawings and photographs. His paintings from this period are often based on the artist's day-to-day life, telling personal stories from it. The paintings are unconventional and spontaneous and brimming with vibrant energy and association upon association.

Tal R paints readily understandable narratives, sampling miscellaneous contexts without making the stories overly complex or intellectual. The content of the pictures frequently rests quite literally on a solid foundation, as is the case with the work Blocked Door.

The top and bottom of the painting provide the frame for the story taking place at the centre of the picture while also informing of Tal R's modus operandi. Typically the bottom is wider and wilder than the upper bar which Tal R utilises to finish the painting. The bottom, however, functions as the foundation of the story and the picture emerging from the chaos of colours, blots and conspicuous brushstrokes. The subjects in the middle can include anything from messy rooms to car races and landscapes.

Tal R belongs to the group of artists who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990s. Common to this generation of painters is a focus on expressive and painterly qualities which they combine with personal and sometimes banal stories.

The painting of the 1990s starkly contrasts the so-called Wild painting that characterised the 1980s in Denmark. This style found the artists in a consciously expressionist style concerned with intellectual and theoretical discussions, as opposed to the 'small' and intimate stories of the 1990s generation.

Tal R's paintings spring from stories, a figure or an object that he allows to develop and transform into a more complicated expression. He uses the idea of a visual dustbin as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Physically the dustbin is placed in the painting's lower half where it enters the painting, populating it with a multitude of colours and shapes. There is no hierarchy to Tal R's art; everything can be and is shown, no subject is too pedestrian, too revealing or too banal.

His unpretentious approach to art characterises his work which is chaotic, humorous and full of movement. After many artists wrote off the medium, he has added new energy and possibilities to painting in terms of both expression and content.

Painting is not the only medium used by Tal R – he also uses photography, drawings, mobiles and total installations. Graffiti, children's drawings and cartoons form the basis for his paintings, the expression of which is an extension of the CoBrA movement and the humorous Fluxus happenings of the 1960s. 

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