Biography

Ernst Billgren biography

photo: Per-Erik Adamsson

Born in Stockholm 1957 I Lives and works in Stockholm.

 

Ernst Billgren’s art was described as obstinate early on. This assessment revealed a contradiction in relation to Billgren's intention: to create ordinary art, anchored in scattered reproductions featuring familiar motifs deriving from art history’s landscape painting, animal depictions and religious elements. As we contemplate his oeuvre we are led as viewers into remarkable imagery where outlandish scenes are played out, often in the salons of the eighteenth century upper-class or the bourgeois homes of the 1950s. A group of ducks may be having a conversation, carefully arranged on art deco furniture, or a bear, wearing an Elizabethan jacket, may pass through a room with empire bureaus and Stockholmsarbeten (Stockholm Works) furniture. Over time, however, the contradiction of intent and analysis was reduced to the elusive and transient, which emerged as a hallmark of the artist. Billgren challenges the notion of a distinction between good taste and bad, between art and the decorative arts. His work consists of a cross-genre practice that moves from painting and text to sculpture and glass. There is a willingness to criticise or question the role of the artist as it has come to be portrayed ever since Romanticism – a legacy that was viable and continued to be mythologised in the modernist period.

 

Ernst Billgren studied at the Valand Academy – University of Gothenburg (1982 – 1987) and at Birkagården, Stockholm (1979 – 1981). Since 1997 he is a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm. He has had numerous solo shows, in Sweden as well internationaly. His works are included in numerous collections such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma, Helsinki and at Malmö Konsthall.