Untitled (Meditations on Georges de La Tour)
- Artist: Olav Christopher Jenssen
- Creation date: 1991–1992
- Object type: Installation
Untitled (Meditations on Georges de la Tour) was inspired by Paal-Helge Haugen’s acclaimed book of poetry of the same name that appraised the sacred universe of the Baroque artist Georges de la Tour (1593–1652).
Haugen’s poetry does not describe de la Tour’s paintings, neither does Jenssen’s 107 small paintings on wood illustrate Haugen’s thirty -six poems. Concerned with paint’s malleable qualities, how the painterly marks agitate emotions and elicit potential meanings similar to words in a poem, Jenssen depicts nothing. Recognisable imagery or a defined subject, are absent from this array of small, inlaid paintings spread across the three walls of the installation. Jenssen seeks to evoke something of Haugen’s texts through the nature, colour and quality of paint. He creates a sense of place that is unrestricted, yielding and endless.
The viewer’s proximity to so many paintings creates a floating world, an emotional space whose sense of gravity is bound by a sensitivity of spatial order and depth. Fore, middle and background of each painting is built by layering and over-painting to construct an abstract picture poem. Key to this array of paintings is the artists’ love of drawing. It allows him to work like a poet with the freedom to scribble and notate at the same time. Jenssen fuses the characteristics of drawn pencil, chalk and crayon lines into the realm of paint. Inlaid into the wooden wall his picture poems form a gallery within the gallery, one that holds a special, treasured collection.
Text: Gavin Jantjes