Tom Jørgensen, Editor Kunstavisen, 2006  

The sea, the sky and the horizon –
or how you can have your cake and eat it
On Henrik Hadsund’s newest pictures

One can always start by saying what Henrik Hadsund’s pictures aren’t. In contrast to a painter such as Mark Rothko where colour comes from within in an almost religious manner, the Danish painter has rejected the impression of depth in favour of an energy that rises from the paper out towards the beholder.

This is due to the oil crayon technique with which he has almost exclusively worked the last few years. A technique where each colour is applied as a luminous film to the paper thereby eliminating all possibility of going into depth, literally as well as figuratively.

When, in other words, everything can be found on the surface for Henrik Hadsund, one could be prompted into believing that stylistically he is closer to another American painter, Frank Stella, whose clear and mechanically applied acrylic colours are as consciously non-illusionistic as possible.
It is here, however, that Henrik Hadsund’s need for synthesis, to be able to include both this and that comes to light.
For if there is anything that is characteristic for him as an artist then it’s a constant attempt to encompass everything.

To suspend contradictions and strike the golden mean, that isn’t a wishy-washy compromise but a fertile whole.

 

If one considers the colour scheme and form of the pictures, then the clear, flamboyant colours and the unremitting use of a square canvas during the later years point towards American minimalism and pop-art. Henrik Hadsund consciously works with seriality and a colour scheme that is non-Nordic in a Per Kirkeby winter-melancholic sense. This almost conceptual and scientific approach to painting is corresponded, however, by something tugging in another direction.
Precisely because Henrik Hadsund doesn’t use opaque acrylic paints but crisp, porous oil crayons instead the pictures have an uneven surface. This is reinforced by the expressive way in which he uses crayon. It seems as though he works spontaneously and yet disciplined at the same time much like Chinese or Japanese pen and ink artists.

One also finds this doubleness in the way the drawings are built up. On the one side Henrik Hadsund builds his pictures around the same central idea. The landscape is organized around a few fixed points; the embarrassingly horizontal horizon, the field or meadow divided into one side filled with light and the other with shadow and an overall dividing of the canvas into three. This very severe composition is softened, however, by the often blurred contours and the dynamic and asymmetrical zigzag shapes that cut through the picture giving a personal and organic dimension to the whole.

With his latest pictures the artist has managed to create his own personal Henrik Hadsund universe. A universe that at one and the same time is organic and tight, disciplined and exuberant, rational and dreaming, expressive and minimalistic. And it actually seems as though this is a precise strategy by Henrik Hadsund. As if he wants to say to us that contradictions exist so they can be relinquished or – to coin a phrase – that you have your cake and eat it.

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