8 - 23 March 2012
In these new works, the juxtaposition of organic Rothkoesque shapes is anchored by intense gridlines like a matrix tethering and connecting humanity.
Danish artist Morten Lassen and I first met in the small French village of Buis-les-Baronnies in the shadow of the mythical Mont-Ventoux.
The random encounter led to a few glasses of local red wine and a viewing of photographs of his paintings. Immediately captivated by his work, I asked the artist if he had ever considered coming to Australia. His answer in deadpan Nordic English was an empathic "No...Never."
Ten years on, Morten Lassen has exhibited every year in Australia and lived off and on in both Sydney and Melbourne. His work has been collected by public and private collections throughout Australia and he has firmly established himself as one of the premier abstract artists in the country. This should not be a surprise as his work is in constant demand around the world.
In the last two years Lassen has shown with great success in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, London, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Indeed his influence in Australia extends beyond collectors. A generation of young local artists are looking to him, not as the oracle, but as an artist who has been able to capture the ethereal nature of the contemporary world.
This is an important challenge for our artists, our politicians and economists. We are constantly reminded that we are a world community and technology has made this practical and real. Indeed, Lassen is the personification of a world citizen; his work transcends borders, race and language. It is beautiful and it is powerful; it is work of our time.
In recent months, Sydney has been treated to the extraordinary career of modernist painter Pablo Picasso. In my various viewings of this great artist's work, it is his constant searching for the essence of modernism that is so integral. For Picasso wanted painting to survive photography and the moving picture and indeed society itself.
Lassen continues this theme. He is a painter who wants to show that the ancient medium of oil paint can influence our society now. For Lassen, painting must remain relevant and his works show us that technology is still a function of humanity.
In these new works, the juxtaposition of organic Rothkoesque shapes is anchored by intense gridlines like a matrix tethering and connecting humanity. Lassen embraces technology to link his work to disparate cultures, yet unlike Wikipedia or Google, he doesn't give us all the answers. Ultimately you have to work it out yourself- the (often over looked) ultimate human condition of creative thought is required.
It is work by artists like Morten Lassen that ensures painting will never die.
Art Equity, March 2012