The work of the Norwegian artist Anders Grønlien ranges from painting and drawing to complex
installations combining sculpture, sound and light effects, and special-effects makeup. His installations sometimes serve as backdrops to performances, most recently in Spirit World Rising (2016),
a co-production with Anežka Hošková.
Grønlien’s versatile approach is marked by continuous narratives whose imagery is inspired by romantic and fantasy tropes.
Grønlien himself cites a wide range of references, from art history and lm to mythology, folklore, science-fiction, archaeology, mysticism and occultism. ‘Actually, I see all of these topics as existing in the one and same visual realm, as I let my referential material come to me intuitively from a free form of interest and research’, he explains. One of his most elaborate productions was the piece Artemis Refuge (2010). In Greek mythology, Artemis – the goddess of hunting, the forest and the moon – is a wild and free-spirited character. Her attributes are the bow and arrow, which she shoots at mortals to bring disease upon them. Grønlien’s work offers a quasi-cinematic interpretation of the myth:
spectators face a chapel that seems to come straight out of a science-fiction film; an octagonal door opens up on the naked Artemis lying wounded on the ground, hit by her own arrow. The figure is
sacralised by a spotlight and gently framed by ivy. Pathos and seamless aestheticisation here combine into a strange mixture where irony and drama become indistinguishable.
A similarly affective stance is at play in Grønlien’s paintings, for instance in The Valley of the Vapors (2015), one in a recent series of blurry landscapes reminiscent of pastel paintings, which shows a waterfall in the style of Joseph Anton Koch rushing through an anthroposophical world of colour.
Text by Jens Asthoff from catalogue New Black Romanticism