Allan_Otte_Landskabsmaleri_2008 - 72 sider - 15 - TIFF ... - Allan Otte

Allan_Otte_Landskabsmaleri_2008 - 72 sider - 15 - TIFF ... - Allan Otte


INTRO: Glimpses of Reality

and Picturesque Moments

By Rasmus Vestergaard

A striking feature of the artistic expression at the

beginning of the 21st century is a pronounced and

renewed interest in ”reality”. Across various artistic

genres, there is a course of development towards

examining new constructions of reality. When confronted

with contemporary art, we are time and

time again faced with works that are orchestrated

like fi gurative and highly evocative narratives

which, due to a certain resemblance with reality,

seem to exist in a parallel and congruous physical

world. This course of development can be seen as

a special kind of realism which offers and suggests

new optical interpretations that can be used for

decoding our society, our lives.

As seen in recent art historical writings there

are crucial and evident signs that contemporary art

insists on conceptual as well as material freedom.

Works are often ugly, hideous, scary, and made of

everyday objects and they transcend traditional

categories such as painting, sculpture, and architecture

in favour of new artistic strategies and

forms of expression. In other words, we live in an

age – luckily – where the artistic experiment and

the exploration of new art forms seem to unfold

with great haste and intensity. By constantly

exploring new ways, absorbing new impulses, and

breaking national boundaries, art is seeking to

communicate whole complex sets of attitude that

promote both dialogue and confrontation. In continuation

of this, the very defi nition of a work of

art becomes a question that is directed at uncovering

cultural identities and living conditions.

It is precisely cultural identity, living conditions

and the defi nition of reality that is the recurrent

theme of Allan Otte’s unique works. This is where

his ”experiment” unfolds. The works belong to

a zone in-between, as the prosaically observing

scenes fascinate us by being decidedly recognizable

as well as extremely baffl ing. The realistic

quality of the works is counterbalanced by a surreal

feeling. The concrete point of departure is the

landscape. Otte clearly employs other strategies

when working with the landscape painting than

the ones we fi nd in the ideal and idyllic landscapes

that are typical of the national romanticism

of the Danish golden age. Otte’s landscape is raw

and unsentimental. The scenes are displayed as

characteristic mixed forms or cross-overs, uniting

classic panoramas with elements that, in a traditional

understanding of the scenic, do not belong

in a ”pure” portrayal of nature. On the one hand,

Otte’s provincial landscapes record the typical,

controlled, optimized, agricultural landscape, and

on the other, they are distorted by decay, accidents

and, not least, an arrested motion. We

meet Allan Otte’s Danish landscapes in silence. In

a state of ”after”. The buses have collided, the car

has landed in the ditch, the truck is overturned. All

we see are picturesque moments where the echo

of a preceding, sudden violence has died away.

The moment is deserted and stagnant.

The sense of momentary stagnation is emphasised

by the fact that the many roads and wrecked

vehicles of the paintings come across as amputated

signals of progress. When Allan Otte lets reality

come to a halt, it is part of a strategy, which

makes it possible to capture aspects of reality that

normally would not be embraced by our culturally

defi ned gaze. In Otte’s fi gurative universe the conventional

values have been turned upside down.

Aspects of reality that are often given a lower

priority are emphasized and consequently, at long

last, they fi nd their way to our desirable gaze.

By depicting the landscape as possessing this

“otherness” Otte not only succeeds in challeng-

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