Cronqvist, Lena, 1963

116x100cm, KODE - Bergen Art Museum

Lena Cronqvist (b.1938) is one of Sweden’s most prominent living artists. She made her debut in a solo exhibition at Galerie Pierre in Stockholm in 1965, where among other things she exhibited a series of paintings with monkeys as the subject – with the work Nschyego included in this presentation. It is as if her intense, almost human portrayals of the monkey presage what would later become her most important hallmark as an artist; depicting the condition of human beings, both their vulnerability and strength. During the early sixties Cronqvist saw an exhibition of works by Francis Bacon at Liljevalchs konsthall in Stockholm. It was above all Bacon’s raw and direct portrayal of the isolated, solitary human being that made an impression on her, and that would have decisive significance for her development as a visual artist. Since her debut in 1965, Lena Conqvist has developed her project with extraordinary consistency and has been preoccupied with the condition of human beings in society and in private relations, whether this is depicted in brutally candid self-portraits, in ambivalent, disturbing depictions of mother and child, or in pictures of sweetly posing little girls, who upon closer inspection are occupied with malicious and grotesque games.