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Inge Dybbro, April 2011

Michael Kvium, Freestyle Tales

Michael Kvium is one of Denmark's most striking and uncompromising artists. He had his breakthrough in the mid 1980's, where he went against the paintings of the Young Wilds introducing his own personal, figurative style.

Throughout his career, Michael Kvium has explored the human being and its innermost nature. His paintings are full of social criticism, but are never moralizing. Kvium questions us as humans: Do we see what we believe we see, or do we believe what we see - or do we really only see what we wish to see. Who are we, what are we and how do we treat each other. Exsitential, eternally valid questions put into clear, precise idioms. He holds the mirror to us whether we like or not. 

Michael Kvium has had numerous exhibitions at home and abroad. His watercolors have rarely been displayed, as they are usually only used as draft work or as an intimate travel media. However, all the exhibited works of art have been created specifically for this exhibition. 

The small watercolors are quite immediate. They convey the momentary inspiration and concentration that is rarely preserved in a painting. This is where one sees initial thoughts, intentions and ideas. For instance Kvium says about the series Short Stories, that because of the unpretentious material and small format, he does not need to take into account whether the watercolor is good or bad. It is easily discarded, allowing him to pursue a different idea that comes to mind. Hence this series offers a true diversity of subjects and motives. 

It is the first time Kvium shows paper works in such large format. It is also new to introduce the gouache. As seen at the exhibition, Kvium often combines watercolor, gouache and pastel. He thus acquires a higher density and intensity in his expression. 

"I have done what I could to pass on things as precise and as pure a possible. I have always felt as if I was creating a stage, which can be viewed from all angles. It is up to the artist to create this scene or platform. And the more accurate and concentrated this platform, the more it gives us an extra space for thinking - cleaning up our brain - making us combine our experiences and what we sense in a whole new way - or for once, see it all clearly."
(Quote translated from the exhibition catalogue)

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