“Contrary to what’s happening with undergraduate and graduate students today — where collectors are buying their work and they’re in shows while they’re still in school — I actually had a number of opportunities to show my work, and I chose not to until 1968. That was a very conscious decision that had to do with the work. I had a very strong belief — I still do — that the act of going public is a very important decision. Everything you do from the point in which you go public is part of the public record and is out there and you cannot get it back. Anything before the time you go public is nobody’s business and you don’t have to talk about it, you don’t have to show it, you’re not responsible, you can destroy it all or whatever. But there is something about that decision, ‘OK, I think I can put my neck on the line for this work and I feel strongly enough about it that I will live with however I feel about it later. This is now part of the public realm.’”
~Chuck Close, from In the Painter’s Studio, by Joe Fig (p36)
“Aiming for more”
acrylic on canvas
89cm x 100cm
André Hägertz, a fellow artist and friend of mine based in Stockholm, Sweden, is doing something that demands attention. His rich, deceptively fluid paintings are full of the kind of momentous insights that can only be derived from the “beginner’s mind,” that particular attitude that is devoid of arbitrary restriction. At the same time as his style and content give us this impression, he utilizes a clearly refined technical skill that, instead of conflicting, executes his intentions and vibrantly brings his concepts to fruition on the canvas. A lot of the pieces displayed on his website have a characteristics from a variety of the styles that I find most inspiring. But he synthesizes them into something dramatic and fresh that doesn’t look quite like anything I’ve ever seen before.
Picasso said that he strove his whole life to be able to paint like a child. Hägertz seems to bring that wild freedom that children have with their creativity, yet he merges it with the abstract surrealism that is the perfect partner and atmosphere for that type of creative action. His work lets the mind swim in that frictionless space, which most of us have moved away from; in some this art reinvigorates that residual creative freedom that persists deep inside us. Hägertz’s paintings are less nostalgic, less reminiscent of childhood itself, but are instead more generative of that same kind of aesthetic climate. It’s both common and relatively easy to make nostalgic art but quite difficult to do what Hägertz is doing. Yet, he pulls it off so smoothly. This is an artist to watch and witness. Believe me when I tell you, he’s doing us all a great favor with his art.
Visit André Hägertz’s website for more of his exceptional work.
“The Horse Project”
for the Bruno Galleria