Royal Danish Rider Paintings and Greek Pottery with Rune Christensen

Interview | Rune Christensen

PIERMARQ*: When/how did you get into painting? 
Rune Christensen: I was always drawn to painting and drawing. As I remember, it has always been a safe place to be and it has been my major interest my whole life. It started with comic books and later skateboard culture imagery.  In the early 90’s I discovered graffiti and the vibrant colors and compositions blew me away. In the early 2000’s I switched over to canvas work and haven’t looked back since. 

P*: Did you study fine art? If so, where did you study? How did studying art benefit or hinder your practice? 
RC: I’m a self-taught artist.

P*: What exhibitions or artists have left a strong impression on you and your development as an artist?
RC: Ever since I was a kid my parents would take me to museums. My dad was especially fascinated with the renaissance period and we spent hours looking and talking about battle scenes and still life paintings. I also grew up with an uncle that was an art collector so I was introduced to the art world very early in my life.
In 2006 I went to see Danish painter Michael Kvium’s show Jaywalking Eyes at Aros art museum and that show blew me away.  

I also love following the practice of Danish contemporary painter Tal R. His palette, imagery and the texture in his paintings has been a great inspiration to me. His work keeps surprising and has changed my understanding of what painting can be.


P*: What are the core concerns of your practice?
RC: I’m interested in the relationship between humans, society, culture and history. From a young age I have always thrived when travelling, meeting and observing new people and cultures. I think this is my main interest and what I try to communicate in the narrative of my paintings. 
I want to create vibrant paintings that jump off the wall and draw the viewer in. I leave many areas of the work loose, textured and with lots of color so the abstract in the work becomes as relevant as the figurative.

P*: What’s your jumping off point with a new painting?
RC: I start with a sketch, get it on the canvas, add layers of watery under paint (often in bright florescent colors) and work my way out. I never really know where it’s going and I don’t have a master plan of palette, I kinda just let the painting take me on its journey. I try to leave several places on the canvas with the fist layers giving it a glow and hopefully end with many layers for the viewer to explore.

P*: What gives you more satisfaction: the actual process of making the artwork, or what you take away from the resolved piece?
RC: For me these are two different things I enjoy equally. I love the process in the studio and fluidity working on multiple canvas and paper at the same time. I’m always trying out different techniques and looking to discover something new in each work. When the work is done I always get excited to take what I learned and use it instantly. When the work is done I always get excited to take what I learned and use it instantly.


P*: What is the meaning behind the historical references in your paintings?
RC: I guess I’m using an old language to speak about present times. 

P*: You often paint very large-scale murals – how does painting at this scale 
inform your smaller paintings, and vice-versa?

RC: Doing big walls has allowed me to loosen up a bit in my canvas work. I feel like I can be more free in the way I paint a wall because the viewer is far away. Murals are a playground for me, a free space where I can try out new techniques and ideas. The last two walls I did here in Denmark were partially a testing ground to work out the challenges of two of the paintings that are included in the show at Piermarq. 

P*: Talk us through the conceptual focus of your work for the upcoming exhibition at PIERMARQ*, and what we can expect from the show.
RC: The show contains still life and horse paintings, focusing on historical parallels and human behaviour. Inspired from the renaissance area, royal Danish rider paintings, Velasques and Thracian pottery I’ve tried to create a series of paintings speaking with modern times in an old language 

Parts of my practice have been introducing new technics and media to my work. Seeing the many thin layers of watery paint next to the very thick, textural and loosely painted oil pastel has given my work a new life that I’m very happy with. I enjoy seeing the many layers shine through and give the new works a deeper expression. This is defiantly a road I will continue to travel.


21 October 2019