Marking the release of the book on Danish-German artist Ursula Reuter Christiansen titled Poppies Mutate into Bats. A 60-year Expanse of Paintings, the pop-up exhibition at Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen explores the artist's approach to painting throughout her life-long career.
The exhibition comprises a selection of Reuter Christiansen's paintings from the 1960s until today, delving into the deeply personal as well as the strongly political aspects of the artist's comprehensive painterly production - from her active involvement in the feminist movement in the 1970s to her new large-scale action paintings created during the pandemic.
The work of Reuter Christiansen spans several mediums, including film, performance, sculpture, and ceramic, but it is particularly painting, which she has continued returning to throughout the years.
The new book as well as the exhibition unfolds the artist's evolving approach to the medium of painting, which is characterized by a temperament that is insistent and dark, symbolic and furious. Filled with references to German literature, folklore and myth, Reuter Christiansen's paintings compose dreamscapes and ominous fairy tale worlds of archetypal figures and frightening abysses.
Reuter Christiansen has stated: "I am my pictures, my pictures are me", and in the context of painting, the inseparable link between the artist and her work takes on a performative aspect in the way identity is generated in the act of painting. Exploring facets of gender and identity - be it in her self-portraits as a woman, mother, wife and artist or in her dramatic poppy sceneries on masonite with vast bodies of blood red flowers, symbolic of life and death, renewal and transformation - Reuter Christiansen keeps challenging the world and its structures through the medium of painting. Often, her approach to the medium is bodily; peeling, scratching, throwing and smearing oil, pigment, eggs, dirt, feathers, branches, copper and sand into the skin of the canvases.
Painting is Reuter Christiansen's imperative, her absolute, the clear and shrill instrument, for which she persistently continues to create both gruesome and life-giving compositions. With the exhibition and the release of the book, the way is paved for understanding Reuter Christiansen's ever-expanding practice status as a significant painter of our time.