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Blaabjerg’s landscape

By Lars Svanholm

For hundreds of years the landscape has formed a motivic pivot among visual artists and especially painters have naturally found inspiration in God’s own nature. In the golden age nature was depicted with often detailed objectivity. The provocation was hidden in the principal belief that nature was not considered important in an abstract, aesthetic sense of the word.

In the Kingdom of Denmark there were nature and beautiful views in abundance, so the choices of subject seemed inexhaustible back in the nineteenth century. A point of departure one might take is for instance Christen Købke’s painting ‘Udsigt fra Dosseringen ved Sortedamssøen mod Nørrebro’ (A View from the bank at Lake Sortedam looking toward the Suburb Nørrebro outside Copenhagen). Seemingly idyll and peace rule here; however, when observed today the view makes up just one of Copenhagen’s more hectic environments. In this way civilisation eats its way through the landscape with lightning speed.

And so, in a roundabout way, we make our way to the painter Christina Blaabjerg and her depictions of nature versus architecture and urban landscapes anno 2009. As with so many other coincidences, the artist received a revelation practically by chance and this was going to have a significant effect on her choice of subject. She was in Central Park, New York where she took a snapshot with her camera – and the photo recapitulated the contrast between the natural elements in the park and the monumental architecture of the metropolis.

Colour, perspective and the course of the lines represent the backbone of Christina Blaabjerg’s leitmotif. Earlier on man was visualised as silhouettes in paintings, thus hinting at living individuals being present in the landscape. In principle this has not changed although man has now left the scene, which is of minor importance really. Everyone sees what man has accomplished in terms of achievements, and with regard to the waterfront in the capital of Copenhagen, in which Købke also found inspiration for his paintings.

When eventually the fascination with Blaabjerg’s collisions between architecture and landscape has been established, one cannot help but undertake an unavoidable discovery into the composition of her works. Blaabjerg works with the quality of the mutual complementary colours in a way in which the viewer is drawn into a place that ends in the faraway distance where ocean meets the sky. Here all imaginary lines meet and thus create a stirring illusion.

If one were to guess at how Christina Blaabjerg might develop in her paintings, it is tempting to expect a further simplicity in their expression, but, as everybody knows, there are neither guaranties nor keys with respect to visual art – and certainly Christina Blaabjerg will develop at her own natural pace.


Translated by Gerda Hattesen Petersen