Per Mårtensson Beckers Art Award 2009
Main hall, Färgfabriken
Curator Fia Palmgren
The 23rd Beckers Art Award – a grant of 150 000 SEK – will this year be awarded to Malmö-based painter Per Mårtensson, whose work is infused with remarkable focus and visual confidence.
Through the use of conceptual rigor and deadpan humor, Mårtensson plays with painterly conventions and with our understanding of the exhibition space. His use of art-historical references never fall into post-modern pastiche, but rather allows him to explore the limits of painting and representation. Versions, an ongoing project where the artist depicts empty exhibition spaces, connects references such as traditional interior painting with the modernist pictorial language (minimalism, abstraction) and the white cube exhibition space. The largest pieces in the show are Mårtensson’s black and white paintings depicting the kind of vertical blinds that have come to be ubiquitous in the impersonal office landscape. The blinds are partly opened (or closed) and the view outside (or inside) is perfectly dark. Fallen Painting is a white painting that has been distorted by being allowed to fall from the wall. In another piece, the viewer is confronted by a white wall where the artwork itself appears to be missing. Upon closer inspection however, one discovers that the light patterns from the gallery spotlights, are in fact painted directly on the wall.
The Beckers Art Award Jury writes: “Per Mårtensson is awarded the Beckers Art Award 2009 because he, in a subtle and accomplished manner – and with a pinch of humour – depicts and examines the notion of representation in current and historical art practice through his paintings and installations.”