With Dante in Paradise, The South-eastern part of Odsherred

22.05 – 27.06.2015


On 22nd May from 5-7pm, Galerie Mikael Andersen will be opening the exhibition With Dante in Paradise, The South-eastern part of Odsherred with new paintings by Jesper Christiansen. The exhibition takes the audience on a visual journey to paradise as described in Dante Alighieri's renowned masterpiece, The Divine Comedy.


"Dante's text is set in the mountains outside of Florence, but I have allowed myself to let the scenes take place in a landscape that gives me a sense of freedom, makes me contemplative and sometimes downright happy: The south-eastern part of Odsherred”.

                                                                               Jesper Christiansen, 2015.


Thematically, the point of departure for these paintings is paradise, but Jesper Christiansen sets the scene within another well-known Danish context. The landscape of Odsherred is, from the perspective of visual art, known for the artist colony of painters from around the 1930s who depicted the life and nature in Odsherred.


In his paintings Christiansen again dives into a major literary masterpiece, that of Dante's Divine Comedy (previously Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf has been sources of inspiration). The focus for the artist is on the final part of the book: Paradise. However, it is not religious depictions, but visual representations of the structures and hierarchies that Christiansen interprets from this text. The paintings, therefore, become hints of the patterns and structures within it; the light Dante precisely describes in the text unfolds and is translated into multifaceted colours and nuances. In Christiansens' paintings there are no humans present but yet the paintings are not void of the human; signs, symbols and everyday objects in the paintings give a clear presence of civilization with an underlying intricacy and understanding. This working method makes the paintings much more than just landscape paintings.


With the starting point in paradise, Jesper Christiansen enlists himself among a number of artists who, throughout history, have been fascinated and inspired by the stories of the Divine Comedy. Christiansen's paintings, however, have always been distinct in their appearance; the paintings in the exhibition stand as strong visual representation of something universal within a local context.

Photo credits: Jan Søndergaard