Art touching life
by Stig Åke Stålnacke
Swedish and international art critic
Member of AICA
(Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art)
Talk about ungovernability, talk about freshness, talk about eruptive power and creative happiness, then you have set the tone to Kjell Wallman’s painting.
In reality, I believe that this direct, this almost voluptuous painting touching life is the driving force and meaning of his entire artistry.
The colours are powerfully spread, the pictures shine like flares in the night. It’s quite impossible to pass by his art without getting a kick of energy or an unexpected dose of euphoria.
I have to say: I love the kind of pictures that Kjell Wallman paints. I love them because there is nothing artificial, superficial or manners of latest fashion. Just “head on”. He carries within himself a strength and a will of expression which does not allow itself to be disciplined into something well-adapted or vapid. His touch is intense, the eyes in his pictures glow scrutinizing towards the observer and he spellbinds me, at least, with his unfailing ungovernability.
Most of all I see faces and figures. And rather often it seems like these faces and figures are breaking out of geometrical patterns.
But let me say: The geometry just ties it together. The essential thing is, and must be, the will to tell us the story about the holy, chosen people that exists in his world of pictures. Maybe it’s about beings from within himself and ourselves and maybe his pictures, like rock-carvings and rock-paintings in caves, a kind of invocation of our lives and of our hunt for the meaning of life.
The expressively powerful writing and characters in the pictures give evidence of the curiosity and freedom of a great artist. He does what he wants to do. And this doubtlessness, this infernal firmness of keeping to a pictorial language of his own makes a great impression. A great impression in the age of pale epigones.
However, art is also communication. No matter how much I dislike “absurd interpretations”, I have to admit that Kjell Wallman’s way of addressing through pictures really can be understood and also interpreted.
He can show a dancing couple, which in its primitiveness approaches barbarianism and COBRA’s belief in the original and almost naïve within ourselves. Rather often, masks come out of his pictures, peaking sometimes severely, sometimes provocatively at the viewer.
No matter how much Kjell Wallman bursts his pictures to pieces, to fields and circles, no matter how much he lets the brush be the scalpel, in the end his pictures and his painting turns into “the eternal mask”.
If I didn’t see the seriousness in Kjell Wallman’s painting, I would claim that there are many things about his art that seems playfully simple. Yet the final impression is an almost harsh anger and a seducing colouristic beauty.
It is a kind of painting which forces itself upon you, not content with timidly peaking out from behind a door. Here demons and angels emerge on a full scale.
What is it about art that spellbinds us to such an extent and for eternal times?
I think it is the magic and infatuation within all fine art. The infatuation to try to find the innermost human, to find the many faces of man.
But I also believe that an artist like Kjell Wallman paints driven by an inner, sacred compulsion which just exists and which we can never explain nor to which find the key. We can only be grateful for having been given the chance to peak into his world.
Stig Åke Stålnacke
by Catherine Bourlet, lecturer and graduate in history of art and plastic art at the Sorbonne, Paris. Expert with the Swiss Chamber of technical
and scientific court experts. Expert with AEXEA, the association of Approved European Experts, Paris.
Kjell Wallman lives in Örnsköldsvik in the north of Sweden and, paradoxically, uses very Mediterranen intensity of colour to express himself in his work.
The vivid colours of the chromatic prim carve out geometric shapes across the blank space of his tableaux in acrylic on paper, on which he superimposes faces such as his ”self-portrait” with a full and rapid gesture; he paints swirling, aggressive shapes, which scratch at the surface of the tableau, to suggest two gaping eye-sockets and a sad mouth. He creates visual effects by positioning the coloured framework in the background or foreground, with intensity.
Freeing his energy by refusing to succumb to any constraints, the artist paints quickly using random scratches, colours and mixtures of paint, depicting distored faces, with fixed eyes often pierced by a small white light which seeks to communicate with the spectator from behind their prison bars. Kjell Wallman screams and wails about the suffering of the human being immured and solitary within his physical exterior, trying to communicate with the word of the living. Catherine Bourlet
Dan Sundell Hufvudstadsbladet
Kjell Wallman paints faces, or he looks for his own face, in a long sequence of strong, expressive works which sometimes swirl like a tornado. A pair of small dots can represent either eyes or nipples because the face and the breast are actually an expression of the same ting.
Pessi Rautio, Helsingin Sanomat
Kjell Wallman paints wild, splattering, aggressively masculine pictures a bit on the line of Jackson Polluck.