One of the most exciting landscape painters of our time, Jeppe Lauge challenges our habits of seeing. He subjects our contemplation to a substantial confusion.
The exhibition presents seven new works on canvas and a triptych. The works can be summarised under a group of works entitled "Portraits of Trees". The very title of the exhibition suggests that it is not just about the mere depiction of a tree or a group of trees on canvas - as we have seen with generations of landscape painters.
Jeppe Lauge is concerned with the dualism of seeing. While one level of the paintings presents the scene to the viewer in clearly realistic painting, a milky version of the same motif is superimposed on the canvas in the same time and plane. This level runs through the painting consistently and in close proximity to geometric abstraction. Seeing the paintings thus becomes first and foremost a search. The search for focus, for stability, for recognition, for clarity.
A few cognitive processes later or with some distance from the surface of the image, the differences in the subjective perception of what is seen reveal themselves from individual to individual - in a similar way to Rorschach images. Do we all see the same thing? Is what one sees more valid than what the other sees?
The technical finesse with which Jeppe Lauge applies the paint to the raw canvas in an orchestrated process visualises the artist's meticulous approach to painting. His compositions are well thought out and accurately executed. Only at the very end of the creative process does the unbridled desire for colour make its way. Thus we find picture borders spatulaed on with thick paint or thick blobs of colour over the planes of the picture. This powerful materiality, wildly and randomly dripped and splashed pasto onto the canvas as a counterpoint, creates a third, deeper, but also more subtle level on the paintings.
Even in Jeppe Lauge's first works around 2010, there are several levels in which figuration and abstraction come together in a grid-like manner in one painting. From 2015 onwards, nature is reflected as the main theme in his motifs. Nature as the antithesis of culture and the difficulty of distinguishing the two from each other continues to be his main concern. In recent years, Jeppe Lauge has increasingly focused on the attitude towards our natural environment, whether planted or wild.
Jeppe Lauge's recent works show a disturbed motif. With our digital image memory, the paintings sometimes appear as if an image file is corrupted or a display on the screen is not yet possible in full resolution. Jeppe Lauge says that for him landscape is only a metaphor for other underlying content that is detached from the subject. The metaphor of a disturbed view of our natural environment is a highly topical and explosive contemporary theme.