Erik Steffensen; painting on photographs. I used to do this and it inspires me. Gorgeous. They have a mood that points to a dampness in the heart. "Stand up for beauty."
“When you make an image, in some sense it’s there before you arrive.” Meet Danish artist Erik Steffensen who works in between photography and painting. “It means a lot to me to widen the space.” “I am not a photographer. Clearly, I am not a painter. I see myself in the tradition of people who transform things.” Erik Steffensen here tells the story of how he discovered and got drawn into the world of art. “I am trying to make images that interest myself. Maybe it is a kind of childhood trauma that you don’t have enough space. So you try for yourself to find a different space that allows you to breathe. That’s a way of dealing with images. It’s not a way of expressing yourself, but of being.”
“Photography”, Steffensen adds, was his first love. And photography is still the point of departure for most of his works today. After developing the images in the darkroom, he afterwards paints upon them. “What is happening with a photograph, when you add color on it, is a small miracle, because everything becomes unique. When you work in a darkroom, every tiny bit of light that comes to the paper, defines it. Every little thing means something. It’s like with a medication – you have to be very precise, otherwise it will kill you. With painting it’s the same thing. Detail is everything.”
“One of my purposes as an artist is to stand up for beauty. Because so many people they stand up for everything else – politics, whatever. Art of course is politics because you chose to do something different. But I still stand up for the kind of beauty that is connected to the inner world. It’s a bit like reading a poem. You can look at a tree and say: ‘Yes, it’s a tree’. You can also look at it and say: ‘Yes, it has a deeper meaning.’”
Erik Steffensen is a Danish artist and writer born in 1961 in Valby, Copenhagen. He studied Philosophy and Art History at the University of Copenhagen and was educated at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts... As a writer Erik Steffensen published his autobiography ”Valbyengelsk” in 2003.... Erik Steffensen was interviewed in his studio at Vemmetofte Kloster on Stevns, Denmark in June 2021. -Louisiana Channel.
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