When Picasso and Georges Braque in the years prior to World War 1 created the first cubistic paintings, this was nothing less than a revolution in European art. Here for the first time were motives showing how the world actually could be seen rather than the conventional static depictions showing objects from only one viewpoint. When the eye scans its environments and the objects in them it does not remain stationary, only regarding one point at a time as in the conventional perception. The perspective changes constantly; a minimal twist of the head, a small step forward, all changes that mean a totally different perspective.
This introduction is meant to demonstrate, that Per Christoffersen does approximately the same thing when painting his landscapes. Many of his paintings are divided up into several vertical spaces, reminiscent of old analogue film strips, as if Per Christoffersen in the forest took one photograph of a particular group of trees, took a step to the right and took another photo, and so on. In the end he has combined the “strips” as one picture, and voila! The painting is complete. In this way his paintings resemble the way we actually experience walking through the forest.
Picasso and Braque’s paintings are very analytical, primarily using natural colors and not conveying a natural, lyrical atmosphere. Per Christoffersen has, on the other hand, many colors on his palette. These warm, vibrant colors flow towards us and create an impression of emotional communication with nature. He can get so close to the object that the structure of the tree’s bark, the light spots on the leaves and the wheat in the field nearly become abstract. He can also zoom out so that we can see the shining white birch trunks and the grazing sheep in the meadow far away.
Per Christoffersen is absorbed by one thing in particular, linking all his compositions together: sunbeams. Like a prism they illuminate the object and cover the picture in a strong, warm or mild light, depending on which time of day he is rendering. It is no exaggeration to say that the light in Per Christoffersen’s paintings conveys more than a simple objective registration. Without being specifically religious, at least not pleading one particular belief, the paintings radiate an enthusiasm for nature, a certainty that there is more than meets the eye. Something connecting us, humans and nature, to each other.
This generally pantheistic approach to life is repeated in Per Christoffersen’s city pictures. Here we see the same rhythmic flowing composition and the same emotional identification with the motif as in the landscapes.
In the series “Art of the mind” Per Christoffersen has recently moved in a more surrealistic direction. Without being classically surrealistic the objects are often modeled so that the total effect is magical and dreamlike. Especially because many of the pictures deal with the confrontation between the physically recognizable reality, often humans in everyday situations, and the “supernatural”: sudden and unexplainable “cracks” in nature, which can be the entrance to a new dimension or just a reference to everything normally considered as irrational and illogical. Often there will be a crow, a rook or a raven in these pictures. These large birds have always represented both wisdom and mythical connections to higher powers.
Whereas the landscapes could have been painted on the scene, in nature, these are obviously created at home in the studio from recollection and above all by transformation based on the strength of fantasy. That is also the reason they are named “Art of the mind”: art created through imagination.
Per Christoffersen’s art tells us about an artist whose work is not just a matter of style or inspiration. It shows us an artist and a person who is emotionally committed, who identifies himself with the motif and who is not afraid to demonstrate unconditional passion.
Art reviewer at Jyllandsposten,
editor at Kunstavisen (Art News), Denmark