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Tolli .


Þorlákur Kristinsson Morthens (Tolli) (1953 -).

1953 Født i Reykjavik.

1976 Skolen for Kunst og Håndværk, Reykjavík.

1983 – 1985 Hochschule der Künste, Berlin.

2004 – 2008 ophold og atelier i København.


Tolli er én af de vigtigste islandske landskabsmalere, der har specialiseret sig i at male det islandske landskab og naturen med brug af lyset. Han har også malet abstrakte værker.
Tolli har haft en megen stor produktion og udstillingsaktivitet. Han får sin inspiration fra den islandske natur, og fra hvad der sker i verdenen.
Tolli er repræsenteret på de islandske museer.

Tolli (Þorlákur Kristinsson) * 1953 Reykjavik


Tolli emerged as one of the instigators of the New Painting in the early 1980s. Few movements in art swept along so many adherents in such a short time. As a movement, this period was short-lived, it was an eruption of the emotions, a Dionysian dissidence against many things including over-analysis and excessive rationality in the arts. The time had come to let the emotions speak. The fact of the matter is that the intellectual faculties do not create. They are incapable of that – but they make fine back-seat drivers. Intellect tells us what is important and what is not. In all creative work the emotions and insight must be in the driver’s seat; intellect is essential , but only to keep watch. Today we are driving in new times but through the same landscape, with the same view but in a different vehicle – and rather faster through an area that has been largely trampled down if not paved over. This area of reality that science has mapped out completely. But the map of the area is not the area itself.

This is Tolli

When a new generation of drivers, brimming with emotions, travels through an area that may even be familiar, it kindles inspiration, the imagination, insight and vision in the spirit of Schiller and Goethe. In its day, the vision manifested in Icelandic nature spawned the masterpieces of the country’s first generation of visual artists, who were contemporaries or the heirs of those Germans. They captured subjects or visions that struck chords with them and stirred their souls. Whether people were writing poetry, composing music or painting pictures was irrelevant. They were Romantics. They brought the nation to life, to make it believe in its own existence. Like others before and afterwards, the Romantics of that generation were enchanted, they looked into the light and wanted to carry it. There was beauty, power, clarity, worship of the magnificent. Nature was their theme: the lofty mountain, the nobility of the glacier, the play of the shore, the calm of the lake, the majesty of the waterfall. “I stood out in the moonlight, I stood out in the wood”, Cliffs imposing, high and mighty”, “O burn ye fires”. Yes, “fair are the fields”. By Schiller’s time the point had been reached where landscape was mere distance and people were not in the habit of running up mountains without good reason to do so. The land was only beautiful when the fishing was good and the grass grew well.

“Artists were not supposed to paint what they saw in front of them unless they saw it in their hearts; if this did not happen they should desist from painting altogether”, Caspar-David Friedrich is supposed to have said. The first influential generation of Romantics in the 19th century taught us to read the soul and heart in nature, which of course had been there all the time – had been an inseparable part of the lives of people who really knew nature. They had a huge influence, but certainly not because people had never noticed the soul and heart in nature before. Far from it! The reason was that that urban society was losing this soul through the workings of materialism and rationalism. Science was killing it. The camera, which emerged around this time, had awful consequences. It destroyed both ghosts and angels. And people began to believe that nothing existed unless it could be reflected, measured or captured on film. Such naivety – the consequences were terrible depression.

In its day the New Painting was nothing but Romanticism – it even went under the name neo-Romanticism. Romanticism is not only a literary movement confined to a certain period in the 19th century, any more than Surrealism is confined to André Breton & Co. Romanticism is an element in man that bursts forth at the unlikeliest times. It represents those who venture forth armed with emotions and inspiration. Those who seek to open windows or doors onto new worlds. Especially when reality had become like the reality of Thatcher and Reagan in the early 1980s. The time had come to philosophise with our hands, demand a future and use the imagination. This was the time when Þorlákur Kristinsson, Tolli, was born as an artist. Two main metaphors are used in all aesthetic discourse. One is of the mirror image reflecting its life, nature and society. “Every man sees silver with his own eyes”, the proverb goes, or “Every man admires his own bird”, or simply “Each to his own”. The other metaphor is of the window or door that opens up a vision of an area that was previously hidden. It is there that the imagination dwells – unborn reality. That reality is not reflected until later because it has not been born into the world of measurements, reflections and photographs. It dwells only in the subconscious or the depths of the soul of each individual, waiting to enter that world. It is this vision of inner worlds that is a long way from being charted – Much work lies ahead.


Guðmundur Oddur Magnússon, professor at The Icelandic Academy of arts.
Fortællinger i horisonten

Da Annegrethe, gallerist i Bredgade Kunsthandel i København, bad mig om et forslag til et navn på min udstilling i hendes galleri i februar blev jeg lidt i tvivl.
Mit blik gik mellem malerierne i mit atelier mens jeg funderede over hvad det var, der karakteriserede mine malerier. Hvilken ledetråd er der i mine værker?
Hvad er der i mine malerier, som kan siges i en sætning?

Efter nogen omtanke og spekulation registrerede jeg at horisonten deler billedfladen i langt de fleste af mine malerier. Den ligger vandret i varierende højde og giver tilskueren en fornemmelse af enten at kigge op over eller ud over, måske endda ned over lærredets vidde.

Jeg begynder næsten altid abstrakt når jeg går i gang med et nyt maleri, lader farver og form flyde over billedfladen med brede penselstrøg, uden nogle forhindringer og intet andet end den musik som de frie strøg skaber, betinger den performance, der finder sted.

Stærke farver indhyller hinanden, gule breder omfavner knaldrøde ildtunger, som styrter ned i iskoldt og dybt mørkeblåt vand.
Jeg er ikke bange for farver.
Jeg lærte meget om farveholdning da jeg lå på alle fire en hel vinter i blomstermarkedet Blómaval med akvarelpapiret foran mig og malede akvareller af sydlige blomster der hver uge kom ind i massevis fra Amsterdam.
Der lærte jeg at der altid er harmoni i naturen. Uanset hvor stærk og overdreven blomsternes farvekombination var så havde den altid en helt nøjagtig harmoni.

Og jeg maler videre. Der tilføjes mellemtoner ved at blande hvidt og sort sammen med de andre farver. Jeg hamrer en rytme ind i billedfladen så der opstår en takt i sammensmeltningen af farver og form.

I denne første fase af maleriet trækker jeg en linje tværs over billedfladen og der med bliver fortællingen født.
Uanset hvor uklar billedfladen er, og det kan endda være et urørt hvidt lærred, så starter fortællingen når linjen bliver trukket. Man bliver placeret et sted og kigger i retningen af noget.

På den måde møder jeg fortællingen og jeg prøver at overraske mig selv med resultatet. Det næste der træder ind efter horisonten er så lyset.
Lyset og skyggen danner dramaet i fortællingen og det er netop lyset, der karakteriserer den islandske natur, som jeg maler mere end noget andet.
Det er ikke så relevant hvor, på hvilket bjerg eller sted, fortællingen finder sted.

Det der er relevant er at der er et maleri som indebærer en fortælling om et bjerg eller et naturfænomen som vi kan se på maleriet, men frem for alt et maleri der har sine egne regler og principper.

Det er maleriets indre karakter der vækker fortællingen, penselføringen, farverene, overfladen og forskellige stilfigurer i det gådefulde, men til sidst træder historien frem.

En gang i mellem maler jeg dog fuldstændig abstrakt, malerier der er udfyldt til hvert hjørne og kun handler om sig selv. De malerier er som regel meget ekspressionistiske, har slagkraft og er disharmoniske.

Men når jeg giver min bevidsthed lov til at flyde i en uorden hvor man intet hold har i horisonten eller en fortælling og jeg giver mig selv lov til at drive ud på det dybe vand så sker det uden videre, at min bevidsthed og mit sind finner sig til rette i maleriet som er min højere kraft.

Jeg er lærredets fortæller.


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