“What keeps me painting day after and year after year is curiosity. Curiosity to reach higher and higher, right up to perfection. I may not know what perfection looks like, but I keep my focus on it.”
Starting from a very young age Dennis Møgelgaard (Copenhagen, 1959) already knew that he wanted to be an artist, but he couldn’t find the right education in Denmark. He was looking for an academy where het could learn the craft and precize way of painting. Eventually he mostly teached the skill to himself. Møgelgaard paints still life with one big object and next to that several smaller objects. The objects are put on a table and the spectator is looking at it slantwise from the top. The background and surface are kept sober: the colour is equal in this area and has brown and grey shades. The objects that are shown are also discrete in colour but in a different way than the background and the surface. Sometimes you can see an outstanding color here and there, for example a few berries or a small box painted mostly in red. The compositions of Møgelgaard are always executed very precisely. Concerning composition, light and technical perfection his work perfectly fits into the Magical Realism from the thirties. The painter discovered the work of Koch, Ket, Willink during his search for recognizance in art. He couldn’t find this in Denmark.
His depicts are placed in a bright light which causes a strong distinction between light and dark. Not the objects itself, but the composition of color use and the creating of balance are central to the work. Clarity, even lighting, peace and harmony in color and shape are the aim of the artist. The influence of Jan van Tongeren is shown in his work, Van Tongeren is a big example to Møgelgaard. The objects that Møgelgaard depicts are recurrent, just like the objects in the work of Van Tongeren. But Møgelgaard his shapes are more round and gracefull, which give the work a softer look. And the color palette of Mødelgaard is more limited than the palette of Van Tongeren. Outstanding colors are rare to see in his work.
In the different works of Møgelgaard we can see references to art history. The self-portrait with the owl of Jan Mankes is imaged a few times. Also a wrapped head that links to Cristo or the mermaid in the port of Copenhagen. Besides that we can find references to the danish history of literature. But the meaning of these images don’t seem to be the most important, they only serve as a shape in which the composition is built. The artist is a member of group with colleagues who founded the Danish Figuration together in 1989. They aim to get more appreciation for the Danish realism by throwing exhibitions in Denmark and abroad. In search for recognition for his work Møgelgaard came to the Netherlands and found what he was looking for. In 1977 the artist got attached to Gallery Mokum because of his realistic painting style and his technical perfection.
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