I am the Comet, racing through space, making my way on my orbit around the sun, the planets and my fellow comets.
In August of 1797 I came past the blue planet Earth and a woman was the first to see me. She was very excited and decided I was hers to claim. She rode ahorse for thirty miles to let the men at Greenwich know that I was hers. For her I meant luck. For most people on the blue planet I was thought to be a bad omen.An evil Mercury, bringer of bad tidings.
Some days later another woman saw me make my lighted way through space. She decided I was bringing good. But she was mistaken, for her and her loved ones I truly was the Mercury to be feared. I do not decide those matters. I just make my way through space on the route set for me by the laws of gravity, speed and movement.
I am the Comet.
“Peter Cornell hyllade Sofie Proos The Comet of 1797 i Expressen i helgen. Köp den hos oss. "I sitt anspråkslösa format inbjuder den till en fri lek mellan text och bild och genrer: här samsas biografiska notiser med citat, kommentarer av kometen själv och speglarnas vittnesmål om vad som passerar förbi. De interfolieras med svartvita bilder, mjuka akvarellporträtt i en romantisk pastisch och dramatiska etsningar av den mäktiga kometen som tycks betrakta de lidelsefulla förvecklingarna på jorden. Himlakroppens närvaro låter oss se den lilla världens mänskliga komedi på distans som i ett teleskop, ett perspektiv från universum."
C Herschel-lunar crater, Inkwash on paper, 360x270mm
Comet woman, Copper etching, 240x190 mm
Nebula, Copper etching, 240x190 mm
The Comet, Copper etching, 240x190 mm
The Great Escape
Exhibition at Stene Projects 2018
The Great Escape is a series of paintings thematising existential flight. Each painting contains its own interpretation of what it could mean to escape life and distance oneself from reality. Among the motifs are a solitary cottage in the woods and a ship departing from a shore, but also more subtle images of alienation from reality. Such as an audience at the theatre, a stage at the opera, or an old reading chair perfect for fleeing into a good book.
Proos’ characteristic technique makes it easy to recognize her works. By using thin layers of oil she creates a beautiful effect resulting in light and luminous, dream-like images that spark imagination.
The literary influences in her works are far from obvious, yet some of the motifs appear to be illustrations from a romantic 18 th century novel. Today, the romantic era is often regarded as the ultimate withdrawal from reality into a fictionalized and aestheticized world. Ironically, the aim of the romantic turn towards nature and emotion was, in fact, to get closer to the world. Their escape was an escape from the increasingly rationalized life world, and not from the world as such.
This also applies to Proos’ great escape. In distancing herself from one world, escaping into artistic practices and alternative universes, Proos reconnects with a world that is lost in the colloquial – an inner world, at the same time unique and belonging to everyone.
Astrid Grelz Andersson
The Letter, 26,5X23,5cm, oil on canvas
Ruin of the young (novel), 26,5X23,5cm, oil on canvas
Hideaway, 37cm diameter, oil on panel
Mythology, 47,5X52,5cm, oil on canvas
Romance, oil on canvas
Encampment, oil on canvas
Ruin of the young (opera), 26,5X23,5cm, oil on canvas
The Escape, 285X3935cm, oil on canvas
Villain, 26,5X23,5cm, oil on canvas
Resting on the likeness
Exhibition at Stene Projects 2014
But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul, is to be expunged; this I shall do, by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite.
In her new series of paintings, Sofie Proos transforms two-dimensional sculptures and monuments into one-dimensional paintings. She re-paints the works of previous artists, removing one dimension and hence reducing the beholders access to the works into one single point of view. The monumental or architectonical work of art is usually experienced as something "in itself" free-standing, placed in a space that allows the contemplator to move around it – to see it from different perspectives and to see the play of light and shadow change as one moves through the room. Proos reduces this spatiality, allowing us to view the monuments only through another work of art, which is created in a whole new medium. The painting is only to be experienced frontally – facing the surface of the canvas. It demands an interpreting contemplator, reading into the one dimension something beyond it. Still, the monumental feeling in Proos’s works remains. The sculptures are filled with cracks and the buildings are mere ruins; one glance at the technically accomplished paintings and one can almost feel the smooth marble and raucous rocks under ones fingertips. Occasionally, the eyes and faces of the sculptures are left out – we only encounter the fragments of that which used to be. The luscious colour scale creates an illusory, dreamy atmosphere, highlighting the historicity of the motifs. They almost seem radiant, as if glowing from the inside, or perhaps reflecting instant sunlight. Still, Proos's paintings are no mere nostalgic expressions of Ancient Greek aesthetics or even of the re-claiming of these aesthetics during the Enlightenment. Rather, the emptiness of the faces seems to imply the opposite – a critique of the era ruled by reason. The motifs are like empty shells, violently beautiful but somehow purposely lacking humanity. Although the sculptures possess the outer form of human bodies, they seem as empty inside as the abandoned architectonical sights. Proos tells us of a humanity that is frozen, stagnated and slowly decaying by organic processes. Much can be read into the abyssal voids of the faces. Whether the pictures strike us as a reminder of our own mortality, or of the fact that humanity has a tendency to get lost in our most earnest attempts to overcome nature, and build civilisations – they remind us of the struggle between culture and nature. And in the end, they make us realise that there can be no winner in this so-called war.
Astrid Grelz Andersson
Figurehead Oil on canvas, 135 x 118 cm
Flight of Stairs 135 x 118 cm
Greek God 55 x 46 cm
Meissen I 55 x 46 cm
Meissen II 50 x 40 cm
Sappho 40 x 35 cm
Sappho Red 40 x 35 cm
The novel of colonial power and aesthetics
In the end everything becomes a story. And if it is told over and over that story becomes true. For centuries the Western world sought to conquer the body and mind of all lands and its peoples. Methodically all of it was categorized, explained and mythologized. In doing so The Great Story of the World was created. It still echoes today, whenever cultures clash or nature and man come head-to-head.
At the heart of this story, as in any story, is fiction. It is to a great extent a fantasy fueled by scientific evidence. A fantasy governed by the morals, taste and beliefs of the times. By re-examining these images the exhibition wants to create a new story – a novel of colonial power and aesthetics.
These portraits look so familiar. It’s the kind of pictures we’ve seen at the national galleries in Stockholm, London, Paris and Berlin. No matter where in Europe it was produced, the style is the same: a crisp face looking at you in the centre of the image. It is the gaze of Enlightenment.
But what we’re really looking at never existed. We are looking at ghosts for these images are entirely fictitious, created in the mind of Proos. Usually portraits like these are clear, like photographs painted in oil, but at the hand of Proos they are diffused watercolours. It is Reason turned into Romanticism.
Text by Anders Karndell ...
Bow Baudelaire, 2013 70X58cm, oil on canvas
Stargazer Oil on canvas50 X 40 cm
Konstnärshuset Solo exhibition "Portrait revisited" Ink works on paper 2012