Wetterling Gallery proudly presents Love Lundell's fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. In Orfeus Källare, a new suite of oil paintings, where Lundell's significant figurative imagery is mixed with, for the artist, new abstract motifs is presented.
Love Lundell's artistry moves in an illusory and mysterious dream world where surreal and ordinary everyday elements intertwine. Through a constant collection of images, Lundell has created an extensive image bank where everything from real estate photographs to subcultural Pinterest-accounts, icons and logos are represented. He uses these fragments to create collages, taking the images out of their context and lets them go through a painterly process. The results are complex motifs in multitudes of layers where new worlds, places and stories emerge.
When the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus hit its culmen, Lundell's thoughts were drawn to the tragic fate of the Austro-Hungarian artist Egon Schiele. Hundred years earlier the artist, along with his wife and child, tragically died of the Spanish Flu. With a fear of facing the same fate, Lundell let his thoughts wander and, like previous exhibitions, it was precisely there among the daydreams that the inspiration for the exhibition Orfeus Källare emerged. Brainstorming led to the fictional place Hotel Elefanten, which later gave birth to the idea of embodying Orfeus Källare, a long-closed bar in the heart of Stockholm. In the bar’s glory days it was a foggy, crowded and remote place to those who didn't know about it. The motifs in the exhibition depict fictional people who may have all found this bar as their refuge. Composed of diffused snippets of images, these figures appear as fragmented reflections of our contemporary society. The abstract motifs with mixed fields of strong colors and patterns create psychedelic cut outs that recall landscapes and tapestry or quilts.
“It was a rainy day in August 2020, and I was lying in bed upstairs in my wife’s family residence in Ångermanland with my headphones on; downstairs, our newborn son was screaming and we were doing our best to be parents. We were there to “rest”, allegedly, and to christen this screaming creature, but now I was just lying there on a mattress from the early 80s trying to shut the world out and work. In my case, that means seeking inwards somehow and making sketches for paintings. But all I could think of was Egon Schiele. I couldn’t help being so self-centred as to compare my situation with his tragic fate. More than a century ago, this not-yet-fully-blossomed but later celebrated giant and his wife and kids all died in the Spanish Flu. Now, Covid-19 was sweeping across the world, and every cell in my body and pixels on my screen felt sullied. I thought we were heading towards the same fate, that it was over, finished, and I sank deeper and deeper into that darkness; but downstairs, my son was still hollering for dear life.
In the midst of that pandemonium, I began thinking about my youth and that phrase I always carried with me: the so-called elephant in the room, that everyone sees but no one mentions, and to me this came to infuse all of me (it’s hard to summarise so I’ll have to go into it in more detail some other time), but no matter how I thought about it, it felt increasingly like I had inhabited a room inside the elephant, and this warped idea spawned a hotel named The Elephant. This hotel I populated with guests, and the idea gradually gave rise to scenes and characters, a way of telling some kind of story…
Much later, when our child had been named, when face masks had become normal, vaccinations had been topped up, and when some kind of ordinary everyday had resumed, I was sitting in my studio when I happened to hear someone on the radio mention a now-defunct hazy and secret bar – a stone’s throw from Hamburger Börs – called Orfeus Källare (Orpheus’ Cellar), they didn’t say much about it, but the name triggered my imagination, transforming that idea of mine in the bed in Ångermanland, I just had to return to square one, let go. Orpheus’ Cellar grew into the bar where lonely, outcast, shady individuals went to listen to fado, blues and jazz on repeat, in eternity. My hotel guests simply checked out from The Elephant Hotel and each found a dimly-lit table to sit at in Orpheus’ Cellar, where they probably remain to this day. “
- Love Lundell, Stockholm, 2022