"The local and the universal"

The encounters of Danish Artists with the aesthetic conceptions of the new Frensh pholosophers who appeared on the scene in the last 15 years - in particular  those of Francois Lyotard and Michel Serres - has on one hand sharpened their own interpretations of the world about them or their aesthetic opinions, and on the other elarged or altered their cognition. But the work they have produced has its own independent expression and meaning. Since words and pictures are never interchangeable. For that very reason the artistic idiom can express attitudes and perspectives tha language cannot capture.

Lyotard has pointed out that "le petit récit" ("the little narrative"), in the world of poetry and art, is "the form par excellence that the creatic imagination embraces".

Does this mean that art becomes a network of local spaces, and that universal perspectives will evaporate? Both philsophers and artists have tired to answer this question.

In his great work on the North West Passage, the French philosopher Michel Serres has thrown light on this question, In an interview with Per Aage Brandt, the Danish philosopher, he has emphasised that ther is not always a  passage connecting the local to the universal. But that does not mean that this passage never exists. Since "certain barely navigable fractal channels are to be found, such as the North West Passage."

Over the last decade several answers to this question have also played a prominent role in the work  created by young Danish artists. This is particularly true of  Ole Tersløse Jensen, who in an artistically convincing manner has introduced innovation with his paintings and the often computer-manipulated photography.

Ole Tersløse Jensen has already made his mark in Danish art circles. He has had several one-man exhibitions, carried out ornamentation in public spaces, and taken part in numerous group exhibitions, all of which have been praised by  the critics.

In Ole Tersløse Jensen´s paintings and photographs the local and the universal are bound together in many surprising and unexpected ways. A small local space which is the frame for a simple event is often woven into limitless cosmic space. This space is often built of an endless number of folds that seem to reach out into infinity. These reveal new corners of our lives, or  - often - vast perspectives or forgotten metaphysical attitudes. This is true, for instance, of an exhibition which tersløse Jensen has given the title "Bite" (1998). In one of the paintings the naturalistic  figure of someone fishing has been placed on a rock. He is waiting patiently for a bite. The space in which he is placed is peaceful, but is surrounded by a vast dramatic expans, dominated by the movement of spiral shaped waves that bring to min violent chaotic forces which give the viewer a sensation of vertigo.

In his new work - the computer manipulated photographs "Virgin Runway" in particular, which he is exhibiting in Paris - he has also created a mystique laden universe with interwoven events gliding between reality and fiction. Ordinary people - of the kun we know from our own realities - are shown meeting mysterious fish, and fish-like vessels. In these pictures Tersløse Jensen has given an expressive, sensitive artistic interpretation of how the alien, the sinister, and the incomprehensible suddenly break into our reassuring everyday lives. To clarify this interpretation he has incorporated allusions to hte work of Poussin and Bosch, among others, whose work is also built up of similar contrasts. This is true of Poussin´s famous "Et in Arcadia Ego" for example, where the idyllic landscape is broken by sombre references to death. In the series of paintings the motifs are taken from a private photo album. By means of the artistic interpretation universal human conditions are revealed.

At the Paris exhibition Tersløse Jensen shows  how the worlds of the photograph and the painting are woven together. The paths of fiction and reality, lies and truths, and the immidiate and universal perspectives cross one another  drawing the viewer into a strange artistic universe.


Else Marie Bukdahl

Ph.D, former principal of The Royal Danish Academy of Art.