Familiar Openings
Sixten Sandra Österberg
Through Apr202024

Drawing inspiration from the classical tradition of portraiture and rendering shape with a deconstructive approach, Sixten Sandra Österberg challenges the viewer to decode her enigmatic world. Her paintings combine realistic depictions with explosive outbursts of loose abstraction, creating a complex duality that pulsates in and out of the two modes of expression. The artist’s use of color and technique creates an image world that is both lucid and inscrutable and it is through this approach that she is able to to capture visceral situations and fleeting sensations.

In her inaugural solo exhibition at Company, titled Familiar Openings, Österberg delves into the art historical custom of paintings within paintings. This practice emerged during the early 17th century, notably flourishing in the Dutch Golden Age, with artists such as Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch incorporating paintings, maps, and tapestries into their works to enrich the portrayal of everyday life. While genre painting catered to the tastes of wealthy collectors, works commissioned by royalty conveyed prestige through the depiction of the patrons' art collections.

In contrast to this historical approach, Österberg's compositions explore a more contemporary visual realm. The artist's scenes balance on the cusp of practicality and visual allure, utilizing the painting, particularly the replica, as a conduit between high art and kitsch. In several of the works, Österberg incorporates mass-produced wall tapestries and artistic posters as backdrops for her paintings, ranging from a misty sea reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" to a generic forest landscape commonly found in fabric reproductions. Through the integration of these everyday objects into the realm of high art, Österberg disrupts our conventional notions of artistic value and perception.

The exhibited works not only attempt to redefine the very definition of art, but also question our preconceived notions of the portrayal of bodies. Österberg adeptly navigates between realistic and imaginative depictions, infusing each with nuanced moral or symbolic meaning. In Sleepers (2024), a direct reference to Gustave Courbet’s famous painting Le Sommeil (1866), two figures melt into one another on the ground, laying atop a sprawling red and green terrain. A group of deer rendered with imperfect threads and frayed edges stand huddled together stoically behind them. The subjects in the paintings never gaze back, creating an opportunity for the viewer to contemplate their gaze and uphold a purposeful distance from each intimate moment. Kisses are eternal, and time is frozen in this idyllic moment – a kitsch paradise.

Familiar Openings is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Company Gallery. Other solo exhibitions include those at Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Konstnärshuset, Stockholm and CFHILL, Stockholm, as well as group exhibitions at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Improper Walls, Vienna; and Accelerator, Stockholm. Sixten Sandra Österberg (b. 1990) lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.

1/8 Installation Views

1/8

Selected Works

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Lovely You,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Picnic I,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Familiar Openings,

2023

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Sleepers,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Wanderers above a sea of fog,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Picnic II,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Chosen few,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Drifting, grabbing,

2024

Sixten Sandra Österberg

Primitive dream,

2024

Press

Mar 11 2024

Cultured Magazine

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