Richard Mortensen (1910-93), Zattere, Burano, S. Michele (Dedicated to Charlotte), 1979
Richard Mortensen’s works from the late 1970s can be seen as confirmation of his Concrete painting from the 1950s, only with gentler geometry and a sparkling colour scheme.
In 1973 Mortensen builds a large studio by his house in Ejby near Roskilde, thus obtaining the physical settings necessary for executing very large-scale works. Mortensen goes from working with series of individual pictures to joining up several canvases to form a larger picture plane. Zattere, Burano, S. Michele consists of six square canvases put together to form a whole.
An architectural impule prompting the picture
Mortensen describes how the Venetian passages that pass right through a house provided an architectural impulse that prompted this picture. The movement from the sea on one side, through a dark opening and a passage to a square with trees and architecture on the other side:
”That is the trip from the Sottoporgo by Zattere to Burano […] A glimpse of S.Michèle is felt along the way.”
The trip through the long, dark passageway with S. Michele (the Venetian island used for burials) at the back of one’s mind gives rise to a liminal experience that is translated into the square that cuts across the six canvases.