Several times in the course of one’s life, an individual finds oneself sucked into a vortex of deep, articulate and not necessarily logical or related thoughts. It can happen in a wide variety of situations and, in my case, even several times in a single day.
Such a process is part of the human instinct and accompanies us from the very beginning with existential questions about our creation, our values, our emotions and our perception of space-time.
Out of one thought comes another, and the conception of transcendental images, ideas and judgements about society and its components gets thicker and thicker, passing through religions, myths, legends and what has sculpted some of our most common cognitive biases.
However, when it comes to materializing these mental projections, many of us get overwhelmed, while others try to externalize them through ‘channels’ that we now call the arts.
And it is this development that can be found in the art of the Norwegian duo Guttestreker, formed by Petter Malterud Grøndahl and Christoffer Kroge Christensen.
Following this narrative thread linking science, history, human consciousness and the representation of remote worlds in our minds, the Norwegian studio has come up with a new terminology to identify a language for information and education through paintings with a deliberately eccentric and colourful aesthetic: Illustrated Philosophy.
Their ideas and worlds are intertwined, bringing to the public paintings of important dimensions, with plenty of details that allow the work to take the next step and go from being an art creation to a transcendental, and indeed, instructive vision.
Combining judgements and ideas on existential themes and primordial questions, they use the space on their canvases and prints to bring to life the noumenon existing in everyone’s minds, offering a mixture of emotions that can vary depending on the work.
Indeed, if in front of works like The Peoples Pandemic each of us (unfortunately) perceives a sense of familiarity, dismay, and sorrow, especially by looking at all the elements that characterize the overall scene. On the other hand, observing Limbo, the mind is in a contrasting state oscillating between lightness and heaviness, bringing to our soul both anxiety and relaxation.
While, again, in front of Birds And Bees, what lies in the innermost spaces of our mind and our ego rises to the surface, taking us with our thoughts to an area of the brain that belongs to our original state of existence, translating the shapes and colours received by the work as part of an ancestral experience that we have carried in our DNA for millennia.
Furthermore, taking Primal Thoughts as an example, time stands still and attention shifts to the primate’s intrigued, and almost emotional, face. Who knows what and how many mechanisms make that universe, that forest and all its animals work? Who knows what will happen when the sun goes down, and what will be there when it wakes up?
As the artists quote in the description:
“When did our ancestors get the ability to think about the cosmos and create images of gods? Was it after they discovered fire and started to cook their food? As the food was processed over the fire, more of the nutrition was absorbed by the body, which in turn gave the brain more energy, and it started to grow. Did this trigger these big thoughts about the universe, or were there already beings that had these abilities May there be other species out there capable of these grand thoughts and questions? Like a monkey fantasising about using a perrot to bring messages to his friends on the other side of the forest?”Guttestreker
Questions which lead to more questions. The Norwegian duo’s works manage to speak to every individual, allowing them to exercise their prior experience through different layers of interpretation.
Their entire production is a continuous investigation into the details. “Chance” has no power in their artistic elaborations.
Thus, as you delve into the minute drawings, you will acquire information, pose questions and search for iconographies (just like in the Renaissance paintings of the great artists of the time) and learn as well as appreciate new meanings, feeling like the protagonist of Post Apocalyptic Adventure 1, an explorer discovering what was once known but has now been forgotten.
Please check out Guttestreker’s website and shop to support their work as an independent artistic studio.
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