MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Agnete Bertram
Name: Agnete Bertram
Who are you and how would you describe your art?
I am a flow of energy, a rhythmic brushstroke, a timeless pause. I am nothingness and abundance. I exist by virtue of the people I love and through the images I create. I move around the world like a hermit crab with no home - unprotected and exposed - because only with openness can the essence germinate. I was born into a "højskole" life, which has made ‘the collective’ my very breathing. My childhood was in nature. Self-sufficient, with willow braid and plant dyeing, so it struck sparks in the neon nylon of the 80's. Art, and especially painting, has followed me all the way through. As quite a young girl, my nanny was an amazing visual artist whose motifs were organic tulips in swollen settings. Later I found loopholes in the primary school assignment race. There was always an angle that allowed me explore the artic side of something. As an intern, I sketched the flowers in Monet's garden in France. So who am I? I am an artist who seeks the rhythm of the brushstrokes as the essence of her paintings. One based on collective currents. Mother of four and completely chronically in love.
Who are some of the other female artists who inspire you?
When I give lectures on my artistic work, I often describe my practice through other acclaimed artists. I love making labyrinths, telling anecdotes and through stories finding ways into the current in my own artistic universe. It is a huge gift that there are so many artists who inspire and challenge me daily in my work as an artist.
I am inspired by living as well as deceased artists. Strangers and close friends, in the same genre and light years from my own expression. But without these amazing dialogues, fictional and real, my art and thus myself would find myself in a lonely place. One artist in particular has inspired me more than anyone else throughout my life. Louise Bourgeois. When I was young, I loved her huge scale when working with sculptures that were taller than houses. In my encounter with motherhood, she became my mentor. Every time I have found myself in a maternity bubble, where the pace has naturally slowed down or become non-existent, I have with a galloping heart seen the world whizzing by in beautiful solo exhibitions, sold-out trade fair stands, festive vernissages, honorary scholarship dinners, even the queen's ball. That pace has been challenging to follow over the last 10 years with pregnancies, maternity, toddlers. In my heart I know that art lasts and that time will come again. But still, time and time again I have experienced restlessness in my body and a desire to be able to do everything at the same time. Here I whisper to myself “Remember Louise! I have all the time in the world. ”
(Louise Bourgeois turned 99 years old and worked all her life. She didn't receive wide recognition until she was in her 70s. She was the mother of 3 sons. She is also one of the female artists that is responsible for the fact that female artists make up 2% of the market on secondary sales sale).
If you were to pass on some good advice to new female artists entering the art world?
Collegial support is something I have always appreciated and this I something I can feel the younger generations embracing. I really experience the younger generations as having a foothold in their lives and art, which inspires me. So I really want to take this opportunity to thank the younger artists for their eternal inspiration. I think there has been so much power and belief in one's own worth and talent in recent years on the art scene. I experience to a greater extent that the younger generations work collectively and interdisciplinary, which for me is a good step towards a healthy and exciting work life. There is a momentum right now as a female artist and I experience that the younger generation takes it in and thereby moves mountains in the way that they are artists. They give me hope and belief that old structures can be broken down and something new and more collectively inclusive can emerge. Thanks!
What is the most challenging thing about being a female artist?
The biggest challenge for me is that female artists always have a gender determination in front of their identity. Female artist. As I have said to my students for many years, women are never artists to an extent that no gender determination comes first. It has always been a huge frustration for me and has caused me to do self-harm to the female in my art for a long time. As a student, I experienced several times receiving respect and recognition from teachers, with the words "you paint like a man". There was a natural expectation that I would take this as a compliment. Today, it makes me a little embarrassed that I was so uncritical in receiving the teaching. I was not alone. Similar statements have had a negative impact on many wonderfully talented female colleagues who have had to model for the same stupid nonsense.
At the time, I did not say it out loud and clear. Even though I, to this day, want to be an artist before a woman, I am still proud and happy that I can stand by the femininity in my art. This is thanks to a large female collective that works tirelessly to strengthen the position of women in art.
What do you want people to notice about your art?
One of the finest and most important things about art is how art can bring about sharpened senses, expectations and attention, which the viewer takes with her/him into the space where the art is presented. These spaces can be classic museum buildings, where it can be easily sensed where the art experience starts. But art is everywhere in our country, thankfully! A bike ride, a trip out on the town or in the countryside is all that is required to experience art in the public space, completely free of charge. Here it is easy to sense how much the surroundings influence the experience of the art. In my art, I always incorporate the viewer's bodily encounter with art. The dialogue I work on between the works and the viewer's bodily presence has, from my perspective, the same positive impact on the body as training the body physically. Of course, it is some completely different parts of the body that are trained in art, but for me, those parts are at least as important to train. Therefore, the best the viewer can take with her/his from the encounter with my works is a renewed attention to her/his own body.
Each Monday MUNTHE brings you an interview with a female artist. Follow MUNTHE ART MONDAY here.