copenhagen

Ola Billgren

Galerie Asbaek

If on entering this big show of recent work by the Swedish painter Ola Billgren one knew that for a ten-year period from the mid ’60s on he had been occupied with a critical, antihumanist painting which might be related to such catchword categories of the ’80s as “appropriation,” “eclecticism,” and “post-Modernism,” one ran no risk of being disillusioned. When the initial appearance of these paintings as “Romantic” works disintegrated, one was not surprised. On the contrary, one felt that Billgren’s earlier, in itself very complex discourse on the surface, the photograph, and the mythopoetic function of media imagery was made to seem almost didactic in light of this new work.

The amorphous color clouds and the receding space of these big square abstractions suggest landscape, but not nature; this is a landscape whose referent is the conventions of painting. At the same time, the works seem

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