“Art is the only place I can bear disappointment,” says Danish artist Tal R, who paints sex shops and dreams of making a clay pigeon fly. Meet one of Denmark’s leading artists in this engaging and humorous interview on the nature of art.
Even at the height of his career painting is still the most challenging thing Tal R has ever done. Requiring equal measures of careful planning and risk, painting is “like free-falling with the idea in your pocket,” he says. The ultimate aim is that the painting “unwraps your idea in a way you didn’t see coming.”
Tal R is widely considered to be one of the main forces in bringing painting back after conceptual art dominated the art scene in the 1990s. Deeply inspired by Matisse, his work is a negotiation of the flat surface of the canvas in which figuration becomes form and deeply intimate things become neutral. His latest series of drawings are intimate portraits that are remodelled into painting. “It’s fun to take something that starts out very intimate and draw again and again until they’re just elements that you can pick out and orchestrate,” the artist explains.
Strongly coloured, the often quotidian motifs of Tal R’s work can seem undramatic. In the artist’s opinion painting is “the perfect medium for the mundane” because painting is banal in nature, paint and canvas struggling to create a likeness with the world. “Artists depict what being alive is from where they stand,” he says. “They understand that you can have a private starting point, but a work of art can’t be private. It starts as a private thing and ends up being public.”
Tal R (b. 1967) is a Danish painter and former guest professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. His work has been shown internationally, e.g. at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, where he will also present a major solo exhibition in 2017.
Tal R was interviewed by Martin Krasnik at the Art Alive festival at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in May 2016.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken, Simon Weyhe, Mathias Nyholm Produced and Edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Nordea-fonden