Liam Andersen

Liam Andersen

I'm a mixed media artist from Denmark based in Greece. Im working on recreating photographs of my family and my upbringing into oil paintings – a method which allows me to capture the poetics and emotions that these memories evoke in me, allowing me to balance between memory and imagination. Below are a short description of the project.

Until I was Born tells
the story of my parents, from when they met until I was born, through oil paintings that are based on recreations of photographs as well as their oral accounts as they were handed over to me throughout my upbringing. It is a story of a young and idealistic couple who fall in love through a commitment to create a life together free from the individualistic and isolating reality of the neo-liberal market society of Europe since the late 1970s. From the squat scene of Sankt Pauli and Reberbahn in Hamburg, to the drug infused raves of Goa in India and experiments with communal lifestyles in various parts of southern Europe, this piece tells the story of the life of my parents as travelers who lived on the road in a bus converted into their home, before I was born and they became parents; Before they became pregnant and were confronted with the question: How can our lifestyle, our dreams and our aspirations, be compatible with the safe upbringing of a child? It is a story of sacrifice and compromise. Eventually deciding to settle down, and once again confronted with the meaningless life in a capitalist modernity, the piece captures the crumbling of my parent’s relationship and my father’s sinking into depression. After years of pain, the result is a divorce; I was born into this moment of pain, this moment of rupture. The only glimpse I would ever come to know of a harmonious family would be through the thousands of pictures that capture those years before I came into being, and everything changed.

A Thousand Faces
I have previews worked on oil chalk series called A Thousand Faces . The paintings are inspired by ongoing frustration of trying to find and define myself as an artist, something which I struggled with for a long time. In my mind, I envisioned the artist as someone who makes art for the aesthetics and beauty. I could not move my hands in the same way as the artists I would like to be, I could not keep my concentration long enough to be able to make the art that I thought was real art. I wanted to find a way where I could use my body while painting, a way of painting where things could happen spontaneously. The process that I have developed is simple, but yet therapeutic. Firstly, I take a large piece of canvas, often 90x70cm and cover it with a thick layer of chalk, a long and intensive process, often so violent that my fingers will start to soften and blisters will appear. When the entire canvas is covered in a layer of chalk, I use a knife to carve faces into the oil chalk, a deeply meditative process. I find this method exciting because it presents you with a completely different set of challenges but also opportunities, such as learning how to use a knife as a tool in the creation of a painting; balancing the edge of the knife over the canvas, producing thin and broad lines and cuts, piercing through the sometimes several layers of chalk, from which an endless world of colors and possibilities spring out. With this method, I have found a way to connect my body with my mind and my art, allowing myself to become one with the artistic process.

Before i was born

A thousand faces