Henrik Godsk - Installation View

Most people probably associate figurative art with realism, and many will immediately think of artists who traditionally seek to capture ”reality” in their art.

However, several contemporary artists work with figuration beyond the naïve wish of recreating what is seen. Figurative art is in a process of transformation as the role of the recognisable figure in contemporary art becomes ever more varied. Recognisable objects are mixed with abstract, alienating elements. Some still work with oil paint, clay, and plaster, while others experiment with non-traditional solutions involving newer technology to create visual art.

Though their efforts are varied, a common denominator among these artists seems to be that a direct path to the ”field of reality” is not an option. It is unclear whether their work refers to reality, to our perception of reality, or to some undefined mental space.

Even though the window to the world of reality is fogged over or sometimes even barred, the figure appears to be difficult to get rid of. Sometimes, works are filled with recognisable objects, though they do not purpose to recreate reality. In other instances, the figure appears unexpectedly in an abstract context, a stowaway that will always make itself known eventually.

The artist group Trans-figuration seeks to capture and further develop this very complex tendency of contemporary art.

Transfiguration means transformation, and refers of course to a tradition of figurative art, one that is presently going through a process of transformation. However, the group has chosen to hyphenate the word, transfiguration, to highlight the etymological components of the concept.

”Trans” means ”beyond” or ”across”. Are the artists of today beyond what we have traditionally thought of as figuration? Have they ”crossed over” from a traditional set of figurative and realistic forms of expression – yet without completing letting go of the figure?

The resemblance between a figure and the object it represents is often explained by characteristics they share, but do we still believe in "reality”. How wide, deep, and safe is this connection back to reality, and can this road even be taken anymore?

These are the questions that the artist group Trans-figuration wish to address, respecting the identity of the individual artist and without the naïve, traditional expectation that the figure has to be actualised and challenged in a specific visually artistic medium.

 

Ole Tersløse - installation view