Portraits of the rich and powerful have always featured heavily in art, but today the genre may seem outdated and not as popular. Lena Trydal’s paintings test the boundaries of what a portrait can be in our modern age. The two paintings of hers we are showing at the exhibition are undoubtedly edgy and full of humour. A large portrait of the Norwegian royal family shows a relaxed king who has not dressed up for the occasion. The only one taking the portrait seriously is the crown prince, while the queen is chilling on her phone. The crown prince’s sister, Princess Märtha Louise, has always done things her own way and is here portrayed in her own painting, next to Folkekongen (‘the people’s king’). How far can the royal family go in their desire to be down-to-earth and accessible?
Trydal paints figuratively and explores various genres from the history of painting, even as she seeks to say something about the world today. In addition to the royal family, Trydal has portrayed political figures such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in new situations. What is magical about painting is that everything is allowed. Trydal is calling the shots here. GH