Words: Sylvester Dunvad
Photos: Kristian Kragelund
Kristian Kragelund is an artist. That is not a thing you can say with absolute certainty about a whole lot of people, since beauty, and in this case the definition of art, indeed is defined in the eye of the beholder, but in this case it is very much true. Born in 1987, Kragelund has his artistic claims covered by a handsome resume that includes attendances at both the PRATT institute in New York and the renowned art school, Central Saint Martins in London. His daily life centres around London, but Kragelund has held exhibitions in galleries all over the world, including solo displays everywhere from at Tom Christoffersen in Copenhagen to Finale Art File in the Philippines.
It is said, that Kragelund concerns himself with the objecthood of painting and the historical resonance of sculptural materiality. But it is also seen. The paintings of Kragelund have a tendency to revolve around the processes of creating the works themselves, but at the same time dismissing the very canvas they were conceived upon. When describing his process, Kragelund explains how layers of different materials and chemicals allow him to work from a paradigm, that could be referred to as ‘staged expressionism’, which, contrary to his self given title as ‘painter’, means that Kragelund doesn’t actually paint. His process revolves around allowing the different materials and coatings to react with each other, and thereby remaining in the artistic limbo between being in full control and having no control at all. Kragelund makes a clever point of redefining the relationship between the painting and the spectator, because what can the spectator really claim to know about a painting, that was never really painted?
But if the paintings are never really painted, can a painting ever have a message? Kragelund thinks yes, and has a good point about it too. He explains how the reactions between the different layers of materials and chemicals translate well into the seemingly increasing tendency we have of applying layer upon layer to our own personalities – all in order to reach an idealised, version of ourselves that we all now, deep down, does not really exist.
Redefining is a big thing for Kragelund. Speaking about the mediums on which he expresses his art, he insists on nullifying the canvas to a mere translator of a message – a defined, non-quintessential part of the artistic piece itself. He does so in order to define art itself as a never ending stride to reach the purest message; the greater the artist, the purer the art. By removing the significance of the canvas, Kragelund is removing what can only be a thorn in the otherwise clearseying eye of the spectator.
Kristian Kragelund is an artist. And he is defined as one because of the way his thoughts not only deserve, but insist on consideration when experiencing any of his significant work.