The memory of a radio on the table. Of sun filtering through the lace curtains, forming patterns of light and shadow. Dust dancing in the rays. The lake and the mountains on the other side. You see it through your windows. Three of them, dividing nature into a triptych. A divine view.
It was summer; you should be out doing something. But you were focusing on the radio. Meditating what man is capable of.
It was 22. July 2011. You were listening to the news about the terror attack in Oslo and at Utøya, trying to make some sense of what you heard.
You remember the radio and the shifting’s of light.
The brutality of man, forever linked to that radio. A memory constructed and kept alive by that image.
Mattias Härenstam´s works revolves largely around the disintegration of the welfare state, about what lies smouldering under the well-polished surface of our absurd and disturbing existence. How something familiar in one blow turns into something frightening.
The artist points to the fleeting or transitory in our lives, the way living things are constantly in juxtaposition with death. Feelings and experiences we find hard to grasp, because they´re hidden somewhere beneath the surface of our consciousness.
His works often imply situations where personal, but also a larger, social and political level of control is lost. The motives are autobiographical, mixed with references to art history or mythology. Summer Landscape with Radio (picture) refers to the terror in Oslo and on Utøya July 22, 2011, capturing a deeply felt disparity between Härenstam´s idyllic living room and the devastating news he was listening to.
Mattias Härenstam´s works with seductive craftsmanship and an intense and moody signature. His works are exquisite and refined, like gothic stories of great beauty. In his works Härenstam goes behind the facade, below the surface, always giving room for the unexpected. Persistently, he pushes his art beyond both disappointing reality and facile surrealism. The result is stunning.