Kathrine Ærtebjerg (f. 1969), Transformation, Disappearance, 2003
In an ethereal, dreamlike landscape we see a feminine figure of indeterminate age underneath a tree where various furry animals recline on the branches.
A characteristic picture
This picture is typical of Kathrine Ærtebjerg, who paints landscape spaces peopled by fairytale-like girls reminiscent of cartoon heroines, kitschy fairies or figures from an idealised teenage girl iconography.
Poetic vision and nightmarish sensation
At first glance it looks like a carefree, magical fantasyland, but on closer inspection the saccharine harmony gives way to a disturbing sense that fatal transformations are about to take place, that animals and objects can turn out to be dangerous or at best misplaced, and that the divinely beautiful little-girl figure will turn into a monstrous creature. The poetic vision is replaced by a nightmarish sensation where dark energies and desires constitute a disquieting supplement to the pastel-coloured universe.
This composite world where complete opposites co-exist in a close symbiotic relationship is Kathrine Ærtebjerg’s image of a reality where identity is not clear-cut and where the foundations of existence can be overturned at any time.