About the work

MORTEN SCHELDE

About the work


   MORTEN SCHELDE
     Red Hand in the Sky, 2006
Pencil on paper
200 x 150 cm
Red Hand in the Sky is drawn with a wealth of details and great textural effects. The jagged contours of the dramatic cloud formations are precisely rendered. Schelde has used his own right hand as model to accurately depict the hand’s outline, lines and depressions and to utilise the three-dimensional effects of the shadows. He is also letting us see into his own palm, adding to the work an intimacy and a presence that clashes with the monumental drama of the subject.

DANGER LURKS
With great accuracy Red Hand in the Sky depicts a tempestuous sky in which floats a severed hand, dripping with blood. The macabre scenario uses evocative, surreal effects creating a lurking danger in the picture. The juxtaposition of the realistic drawing style and the unrealistic colours creates a sense of something unreal or supernatural.

The two elements of the subject – the severed hand and the ominous sky – bear no natural relation to each other either. In art history the hand on the sky is a traditional motif symbolising the hand of God, an allusion to a metaphysical world. It also refers to the notion of the artist who creates with both his hand and his spirit. Schelde is conscious that the motif refers to old, symbolic pictorial traditions but ironically the drawing’s gory realism ensures that the viewer is more likely to look for horror stories than metaphysical meanings in the work.

AN OPEN ENDING
Full of suspense, the scene portrayed in Red Hand in the Sky could be construed as the culmination of a dramatic event. But since the work does not reveal what has come before, it leaves the viewer with an open ending. It is up to the viewer himself to imagine what has happened.

Schelde works with a story that is never unfolded. It merely exists as a impression of the picture’s before and after. Only the contours of a story are suggested, seemingly presenting us with a fragment of a greater narrative. Rather than offering answers, the work opens up to more questions. Is there a storm brewing? Why is blood dripping from the hand? Is it the hand of God? Or the artist?

Morten Schelde's art in general
In his colourful and fanciful drawings Schelde abandons realistic portrayal. He suspends gravity, twists perspective, distorts the proportions and juxtaposes subjects in unfamiliar ways. Often he also lets abstract areas of colour and simple pencil lines propel onto the surface, experimenting with the colours as independent and detached from the subject. In employing these devices Schelde places his works in the borderland between realism and fantasy. The works oscillate between the familiar and the fantastic, questioning our usual perception of reality.

DRAWING AS MEDIUM
Schelde consistently works in drawing. In his artistic practice he attempts to make drawing a self-contained language. He focuses on the actual depiction, i.e. on the line. To Schelde, however, what is important is not the medium in itself but what it can be used for. The idiom he employs is often part of the work’s meaning. In the majority of his drawings he integrates reflection on the medium and the process in the finished work.

IMAGINATIVE EXPERIMENTS IN COLOUR
Schelde often sticks to red and grey nuances. By reducing the number of colours he gives focus to drawing as a medium. He draws the subjects realistically but gives them unrealistic colours. Schelde plays out the ordinary pencil’s matter-of-factly and objectively recording character against the red coloured pencil’s dynamic explosion of colour that blasts our usual understanding of the world, evoking new, imaginative pictorial scenarios.

RED AS BLOOD OR…
On the red colour Schelde says: - First and foremost I have chosen to work in monochrome to emphasise my work with pictures, that is to make a drawing appear as a self-contained and ‘fully realised’ medium on a par with other artistic expressions. The drawing as such can be used for anything; many people use it for preliminary work and sketches. I am interested in ‘upgrading’ the drawing as discipline to a valid medium, first and foremost because it works for me as the most direct and ‘natural’ medium. I chose the red rather than other colours, simply because it has an enormous power as colour and because it has so many connotations that it can be interpreted as anything.


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