Geneva, January 15, 2008
Professeur diploma en histoire de l'Art et Arts Plastiques á la Sorbonne, paris.
Expert AEXEA, Association d'Experts Européens Agrées.
Expert á la Chambre Suisse des Experts Judiciaires Techniques et Scientifiques.
Swedish artist Birgitta Karlsson has exhibited her work all over Europe for over a decade. Her work has been presented both at individual and collective exhibitions in Stockholm and Florence as well as Paris and Geneva.
Her living and coloristic art is the witness of both figurative and abstract dreams. The dominating line of color repeatedly presents silhouettes of human beings, animals and plants. Inspired by the symbolism of color she often selects a dominating palette in every piece of work and thereby creates a particular atmosphere and emotion. She personifies her work with titles of Latin; "Vita"; Life, "Quarere sui originis"; The Seek For Heritage, or "Principium libertatis"; The Principle of Freedom. In contrast to her art technique, which grounds itself in modern art, she exhibits a wish to associate with more traditional art. In this perspective one may catch a glimpse of a swan that reminds of the myth named Misery in "Iter"; The Trip and one sees people praying in "Propinquitas"; Intimacy as well as in "Desiderium"; The Longing. The last piece in particular shows mankind loosing herself in a dark, hostile and endless universe. Before natures enormousness and power she kneels in reverence and fear.
The art of Birgitta Karlsson speaks for a search after the essence, the origin of everything. In an attempt for introversion the artist seeks the excitement within us; she examines her doubt, happiness, agony and love. Her hand may be violent, etching the canvas like a nail of copper, but she may also dance with ease, driven by quiescent emotion. In her piece "Robur II" she fuses painting and drawing in repetitive, dynamic horizontals which reminds me of Jackson Pollock's systematic dripping technique. In her piece "Gillian nonulli machiari"; A Few Me, the strokes follow softening contours where calm is added the way the circular shapes and the blue tones ring.
Occasionally the eye of the beholder experiences a sort of cosmic dimension; the emotion that lives within these canvases breaths purity. Even and reduced on the surface Karlsson unifies with space and breaks through to a world beyondvisual eternity.
Stockholm, February 8, 2006
Why do people engage in art? That is an old question. Why do we reproduce and create? Why did the cave people draw ancient oxe and other animals on walls that were only visible in the shine of fire? A magical ritual to bring luck to hunting or did it occur out of pure joy? No one knows the concrete answer to these questions. But some sort of magic has probably always been associated with the process of creating. At least many generations of artists have struggled with the magical feeling present in fine art because that is the fundamental element.
How then does art capture the magical, how does she weave her dream? How does this dream receive its strength and structure? In the two explosive paintings – “Robur II” and “Belcongo” - Birgitta Karlsson expresses her response to this question. She uses the material, texture and the surprising effects that spawns out of mixed media. This way the dream can appear as flaming Aurora Borealis, as linear curtains, with a complete freedom as that of dramatic skies.
Her paintings radiates warmth, provokes and shocks but also has the calming qualities of structure. Such as the baseline of typography. One painting might have a cooling blue contrasting the red from a burst of fire while another piece might have the inviting green shine found in the dappled sunlight of the forest as the bearing color melody.
There’s most likely an incredible heat wave present in Birgitta Karlsson’s work. Red like a heart with sparkling gold yellow. A squirt of black stem looking lines might add tension. Perhaps it’s right there that the total freedom depicts itself. At least the freedom of painting. The piece in question is named “Close to Freedom”.
It might appear as something not yet achieved, but I feel strongly that Birgitta Karlsson reaches after the artistic liberty that is so hard to find despite its simplicity. Another heart red painting with a flowerlike blooming formation was tagged with the questioning title “Who am I?”.
A possible response might be: You paint what you are. Once you do you’re on the right track - You’re on the way of finding yourself. Through this evolution art becomes an explanation – a breakout from repetitive patterns. This is what Birgitta Karlsson declares in a piece where red strokes, paths, seek new goals almost wandering around in irresolution.That is one interpretation of this piece but it is certainly possible that one might be lead into different mindsets. That is the way art is supposed to be. It has to have no ends, may not be thrown into rut, not become the obvious.
Birgitta Karlsson has the will to break loose from the traditional, aiming for unique worlds and narratives. She tries to visualize her dream. However a base tone of warm love is always present in her work – how could an artist wish for anything better?
Out of her paintings it’s probable that the work reminiscent of Northern Lights that catches one’s eye. They have exactly the same electrical charge that one might associate with Aurora Borealis – blinds of heat – an artist’s confession to the search of faultless color vibrance.
It is the yearn that so pregnantly characterizes Birgitta Karlsson’s art – a desire to capture the inner meaning of existence. This is where art becomes life and life becomes art.
The unexplainable occurs. I paint. I am. Another response to Birgitta Karlsson’s questioning title “Who am I?”. Ultimately the most accurate answer to her question would naturally be: You are an artist.
Stig Åke Stålnacke
Stockholm, December 11, 2009
The canvas that reveals itself, receiving cascades of colors and groping affection, is her gate to life. Inside the canvas, on the canvas, through juxtaposing strokes on this surface of fabric Birgitta Karlsson shapes, expresses, formulates and documents her life. The canvases, her prospects, receive her innermost feelings. They witness and abrade her visions of a life accompanied by drama and poetry.
I see a suite of Birgitta Karlsson’s paintings and welcome its captivating power and devotion. Seldom one comes across paintings that so doubtlessly, almost in tormenting way, expresses the naked emotion. Red imagery speaks of the impossibilities and possibilities of love. Images dominated by green morph into the wonderful weave of nature. Blue imagery fumbles in universe where connections shape between tiny pieces of life. Yellow, like the hot sun, her paintings may also behave. She spans across the entire spectrum of colors and fears not the outlet of her deepest chambers. It stands remarkable how fine art unceasingly remains truthful. I experience it constantly in exhibitions – as if falsehood was boycotted. Through painting man is obliged to truth. Apparently she is bound to creating along the lines of her heart.
Birgitta Karlsson reaches me with her uncovered tales of where life has led her. One of her clearly most beautiful and engaging paintings speaks of great happiness and delight over existence. Pain yet joy, virtually in the same breath. When Birgitta Karlsson dedicates her body to her intuitive soul, trying the least to create “art”, her paintings reach their fullest potency. She releases an organically growing force through her red paintings - persuasive enough to feel the radiating heat. In this manner art becomes pure and real, sending signals between heart and brain.
Her paintings do not only reflect the little life or the weak feelings. I rather meet an artist who has let go of all restrictions, exposed her eyes, viewing me face to face, measuring my spirit.
Her strength is venturesome. Her force is welded in her being – a talent and quality she shows uninhibitedly. However, no force can live yet alone. A source of nutrition is required. I repeatedly attest the way in which Birgitta Karlsson lets light – the mother of everything – be seen at the core of all her works. A wave breaks through in the image, but it seeks the light. Blue spheres float gracefully and apparently weightless in another piece, but the spheres are surrounded by a shimmering light. The yellow carpet of sunlight in the next piece tells us of a struggle toward the course of light - Over and over in her art. It is an everlasting force and an eternal search for the wonders of light. But what it really comes down to in her art is LOVE.
Often when I view artistry I seek traces of love. I wonder. Is this piece a fruit of love? Does it long for love? Has it experienced the magical wonders of love? These are the only worthy questions when judging or writing of art - Necessary in order to comprehend its true essence. Does this piece of art own love?<br>I claim Birgitta Karlsson’s art, unlike the majority of art I’ve seen, does use LOVE as a steering oar. I don’t know if Birgitta Karlsson has come to realize yet? But I doubtlessly see traces of the wonderful powers of love in her imagery. She has beheld the difficult magic of joy and its aching reminder.