The unbearable lightness

By Ole Lindboe

We live in a world of daydreams and yearnings. We love, are loved in return, are left and form new bonds. Everyday we go through a new drama as if it was happening on a great, illuminated scene where the curtain never falls and the spotlight reveals even the smallest of expressions on our faces.

This is how it happens in the world of the artist Maria Wandel. An intimate drama unfolds and the artist doesn’t pull her punches. She is shy and brutally exposing atthe same time. For her, it is very often about Man caught in a cross re, where realityconfronts dream. The artist is an unsentimental spectator of the unbearable light- ness and hairsplitting rules of the game of the modern life.

Maria Wandel, a graduate from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2005, has always experimented widely. She has produced graphic, quick-witted series of men and women and their mutual pretence, and she has offered poetic and moving de- scriptions of places and interiors. But most often, Man is the centre of her interest.

She has the ability to capture the characteristics of any face and underline the lines of the face. She relentlessly lets the eyes speak their own, direct language. The artist will often let the written language be a part of the picture, not as an aid, nor as a moral or a political pointer, but rather as an extra poetic add-on, mystifying,enigmatic or just humoristic. As a snap of the ngers making the audience stop.

It counts for something that Maria Wandel is raised in an age where the language of movies, comics and commercials has taken a hold of our conscience and the waywe look at the world. To great effect she makes use of these means when it ts her.She has got an eye for the whole as well as for the telling details.

Her business lies elsewhere though. She is a by-passer, a watcher with a sharp eyefor the hardships and con icts of modern life. She has recognized that we all haveour part to play – with bravura or anxiety. She has a sense for things unsaid and repressed. And a precise hunch for all our yearnings and dreams. We live our life ina polarization between stillness and storm.

These things show in her pictures, which range from the graphically explicit to themore suspicious and poetic. She is predominantly gurative in her idiom with astrong expressive touch in the way she composes her pictures.

With her art, Maria Wandel is a part of the vital new departure happening currently within the Danish art circles. She still has a lot to tell us, and show us. It will be a pleasure to follow her next steps – into the paintings and out back out in the real world again.

Ole Lindboe

Editor of The Art Magazine