Cecilia Edefalk (born 1954) is currently one of Swedens most internationally prominent visual artists. In her different series of paintings, she creates a unique spatial sense in which repetition and the work´s internal proportional relationships play a considerable role. Often it is the gaze itself – the play between the viewer and the viewed – which is focused upon. Through her use of the grisaille technique, she investigates how the “picture in the picture” (how representation and figuration in the painting) work as catalysts for conciousness and awareness of reality. The exhibition is a modified version of that which was on display at the Bern Kunsthalle in Switzerland in the autumn of 1998.
Curator: Cecilia Widenheim
Cecilia Edefalk has participated in exhibitions in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the US and Ireland, and represented Sweden at the 22nd Biennial in Săo Paulo in 1994.
Painting has repeatedly been declared “dead” during the 20th century, but equally often we have heard of its comeback, and particularly in the case of figurative painting in the 1980s and ’90s. Cecilia Edefalk trained as a painter in the early 1980s, and in the series of paintings she has subsequently made, a unique sense of space has been created, in which the repetition of a motif, the concept of time and the internal proportional relationships play a determining role.
Cecilia Edefalk has often been occupied with the relationship between a portrait and its reflection, between an original and a copy, as well as with the replica which is, the artist’s repetition of his or her own work. This replication of images oscillates between being a source of irritation and a form of meditation. Edefalk focuses on the gaze, the interplay between the observer and the observed. In “In the Painting the Painting”, which is based on a pornographic photograph, the viewer is transfixed by the man’s stare as well as by the crude penetration of the couple’s bodies. She repeats the picture several times, but each time a in a different position, in her elaboration of an act which becomes a form of ‘banal’ ritual. Another series called “At the Moment Untitled” 1997-98, uses banal imagery of a different order: the hopeless mishaps of Laurel and Hardy taken from old film stills.
In shades of grey, which refer to both older grisaille techniques and the tonality of printing ink, Edefalk investigates the relation of painting to photography and how the picture within a picture works as a catalyst for consciousness and perception. In this sense her concerns are more conceptual than painterly.
In Moderna Museet Cecilia Edefalk will be showing recent work such as the series “Elevator” from 1998, the Laurel and Hardy paintings, “At the Moment Untitled” from 1997-98, “In the Painting the Painting” from 1995-1996, and “Echo” the series of ‘self-portraits’ from 1992-94 which belong to the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main.
Edefalk’s last one person exhibition in Stockholm was in 1990 and since then her work has been shown only to a limited extent in Sweden. It is now a timely moment for Moderna Museet to show a wider range of her work. The exhibition, on view during the summer of 1999, is a revised version of that made in autumn 1998 by the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland.
An exhibition catalogue, with contributions by Jean-Christophe Ammann, Daniel Birnbaum, Bernhard Fibicher and Cecilia Widenheim in Swedish, English and German has been produced by Moderna Museet in co-operation with Kunsthalle Bern.