Lars Elling (1966 – )

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Lars Elling (b.1966) was educated at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts (1988-92). Elling is a story teller. His layers of imagery evoke memories of childhood, with the possible disturbance and trauma written between the lines. Family is the repetitive theme in Elling’s works; familiar moments infiltrated by surprising or unpleasant elements. The formalistic aspect of Lars Elling’s paintings is characterized by the erased and the broken. The pure visual expression has a meaningful function, where story and poetry are strong fundamentals. The paintings can be seen as a burst of memory, a description of a moment, where the almost experienced or almost seen is presented in a dreamlike and poetic expression, which can be compared to the poetic expressions in the works of Francis Bacon. Also like Bacon, Elling’s works also portray a description of the logic of feelings, and illustrate a beginning, a middle section and an end, however not in that order. Elling’s works searches in a layered paradox of the intentional/ unintentional though based on a personal pilgrimage into concentrated work and moments of surrender. Lars Elling works with language, but not in the traditional sense. This point can be illustrated by comparing Elling’s way of painting to a film by Chantal Ackerman, who is the director of “Toute Une Nuit”. Neither Ackerman nor Elling can be decoded using a rigorous structuralism; the character of their works are late in their symbolism, and thus do not escape aspects of melancholy. The film is one of the simplest visual films ever made, where we meet about 50 different people who do little other than embrace each other a summer night. Still Ackerman was very precise in writing the scripts of her film, which is surprising, as it is only natural to assume that such a pure visual expression does not require a language. There is a language that can’t be read in a linear way, the language is an emotion or a symbol that only can be expressed through an aesthetic matter.