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Tal R

Tal R was trained at Kunstakademiet (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts) in Copenhagen in the years 1994-2000. While attending courses here he was also a visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.

Tal R – the R is short for Rosenzweig – is a cosmopolite. He was born in Israel into a Jewish family with a Danish mother and a Czech father. He grew up in Copenhagen, attended a Jewish school, but lived in the utterly Danish suburb of Valby. He is married to a Caucasian woman. So his identity is composed of many different elements and cultures.

The same can be said about his pictures. He describes himself as a bag man, who collects from the city’s refuse bins, literature, comics and Nintendo games and his own personal history. All of these elements are juxtaposed in multiple combinations in paintings, drawings, etchings, collages and books.

At first glance the pictures look like a teenage boy’s drawings on the cover of his notebook – filled with wild and violent signs and meanings that the spectator does not quite know what to do with. Is it serious or joking?

There is much irony and distance in Tal R’s paintings. ”Paintings are a big joke – depending on where you put the colour the meaning may be the Resurrection of Christ or alienation in Ballerup”, as he says. But beneath the apparently infantile and innocent surface there is something frantic and irresponsible, something lecherous and sexy – like an innocent teenage party about to develop into a horror film.

Tal R paints in a manner that at first seems sloppy. But we should not be mistaken – the pictures are ”realistic and meticulously carried out, like a teenage girl putting on make-up before going to the youth club”. And in his composition he moves the attention of the spectator to the edges of the picture thereby challenging the traditional centre of a painting – which is not necessarily what matters most.

Despite the seemingly bragging nature of his art, Tal R is in many respects a painter in the common sense of the word – strongly preoccupied with colouristic and compositional issues. How should just this detail be accentuated in relation to another and to the whole? Sometimes the pictures are long in progress making only small advances. Tal R gladly creates series of pictures, and often he works on more series at a time.

Internationally Tal R is one of young Danish art’s very big names. Already when attending the Royal Academy of Fine Arts he exhibited at Louisiana in Humlebæk, and since he has had exhibitions over most of Europe.
Tal R, photo HKM