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A beautiful two person show at Olseröd konsthall mixes Lukas Göthman’s abstract, text-based paintings with Sofie Proos’s distinctive, historically inspired images. Jenny Danielsson met with Sofie Proos to explore the idea of taking a group of 18th century ladies out for an adventure.

3 min read

What are your sources of inspiration?

Images. My works begin by looking at images. I am also a big history nerd. I love history. My works are never the outcome of a story I want to tell, they are provoked by other images. For example, the series Portraits Revisited, which is my take on British 18th century portraits, started when I saw a painting by Sir Henry Raeburn. He had set Miss Eleanor Urquhart in an atmospheric landscape, her dress blending in with the background, and it’s as if only her eyes anchor her to the picture. Raeburn is such a wonderfully strange modern painter. Seeing that one picture started the whole project, that has now been the theme for three different shows.  

You are obviously attracted to the 18th century, what is it that you’re drawn to?

There is an intriguing clash in the images from this time. On the one hand they are harsh, but on the other hand they are very cheerful. But I also feel a deep connection to the people in these portraits. The idea that we haven’t changed that much over the years, our bodies function in the same way and so on.

It is wonderful how art enables us to meet the eyes of someone who lived a long time ago. What about this group of people climbing a pyramid in one of the paintings, who are they?

I had the idea of taking these 18th century ladies out for an adventure. Society of the curious mind, is based on a famous photograph of a group of Victorians in Egypt.

Along with the joyfulness, there is often a streak of bravery in the images. For example, the lady standing on her own on a hilltop, looking out over, what I imagine to be a vast valley. The painting, On top of the world, is round, is this a format you have been working with before?

My degree show at Valand Art Academy, in 2005, consisted of an entire wall of round paintings. In this case, a presentation of flowers, or to be more specific, dead flowers in the form of seed capsules. I have worked in that format on and off ever since.

How did the show in Olseröd come about?

Axel Mörner, who runs the gallery, invited us. We didn’t know each other in person, even though we are both based in Stockholm, but we knew of each other's work. It turned out, as we started preparing the installation, that Lukas and I share the same palette: the colour nuances we use are similar. So, the display presents our works mixed together. In my opinion, it was a stroke of genius to invite us both. I'm very pleased with the show.   


The exhibition, If it happened it will last forever, showing paintings by Sofie Proos and Lukas Göthman runs until 30 July 2017. For more information about the show, please click here.