Erik Bille Christiansen Gallery

Erik Bille Christiansen (born 1954 in Copenhagen) is a Danish artist. A painter inspired by grand masters like Velasques and Delacroix. He paints with almost furious and aggressive strokes, deeply personal and emotional. Erik Bille is one of Denmark's leading fine artists. Since 2011 he has found new inspiration in the Disney universe and Duckburg, creating a new series of expressionistic paintings - and at the same time paying hommage to Carl Barks.His first visit to Duckburg resulted in an acclaimed exhibition at the major art gallery, Galerie Birch, in Bredgade, Copenhagen in 2011. The title of the exhibition was "Happy Days". A born succes - and all paintings sold out fast. Erik Bille Christiansen continues to challenge the figures from Duckburg in his new paintings from 2012. It is an honour and it feels natural for Gallery to invite Erik Bille Christiansen into our comic art universe - he is a born member!Art historian Majken Lucia Christiansen:"Choleric, happy, defeatist, scared, care free, intoxicated, disgruntled – are all feelings we can relate to. But you will rarely find these feelings depicted in art works with the same finesse that we see in the new series of paintings by Erik Bille Christiansen. It would be easy to proclaim that the theme of these paintings is reinterpretations of the popular Disney characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy and Uncle Scrooge, but in reality this is far from the case. In the encounter with the playful Disney-universe of Erik Bille the well known characters from Duckburg are only secondary to the experience. Firstly the viewer is confronted with a long line of delicately executed moods and states of mind. With these naïve and innocent oil paintings the artist succeeds in capturing some of the most relatable human moods. We all know what it feels like to be so outraged and angry that doing like Donald Duck in “Smoke a cigar” and “I det røde felt” can seem to be the most satisfying way to get rid of your frustrations. Everyone might know one of those people who can produce a look of disapproval fit for Uncle Scrooge – like in the painting “We are not amused”. In other words – you are at no point unsure of the moods and feelings that are objects in these paintings. Even though the expressive strokes of the painter’s brush and the blurred lines of the characters all together do not depict the cartoons in their classical form, they do create recognizable shapes that can be no other than the popular ducks. It can be difficult in the end to determine whether we recognize the characters because of resemblance or because of the exact and very characteristic moods attached to each and every one of them – the moods that are the true main characters of the paintings and forever associated with the Family Duck and their friends. Erik Bille has with these paintings evolved far past his usual realm of motifs – often those of mythological and biblical themes – but the distinctive painting method of the artist is the same as before. The palette may have been brightened up a bit but we still get a sense of the same ground colors. The new color choices match well with the new theme of the artist and the subtle and warm colors provide the paintings with a Carl Barks-like atmosphere drawing lines all the way back to early characters from Duckburg. The body language and the facial expressions of the characters are portrayed very precisely and yet quite diffuse – maybe that is why it is so difficult to hide a smile in this meeting with Donald Duck and co. á la Bille. It is almost a case of joyful recognition and an awakening of childhood memories all the while the paintings also remind us of the changeability and complexity of the human mind and temperament. Capturing these feelings is an art and this makes the theme of the paintings interesting. It diminishes the focus on the familiar and homely personalities and reminds us to pay attention to ourselves and our surroundings. You might consider asking yourself: Which Duckburg character would I be?"