Artist of the Month is a monthly interview series where Tegnerforbundet introduces a member who is represented in our Sales Department. With this initiative, we want to give readers an insight into the members' artistic work and highlight the importance of drawing in their work.
Aage Langhelle (1959) explores the unconscious mind in his artistic work. His figurative approach with expressive pencil strokes brings to life the stories and mythologies that surround us. The artist uses free association as a method to reach the unconscious and to express the interplay between personal and collective experiences, between individual and society. Conceptual, content and formal aspects are carefully woven together, both within the individual works and in the context between them. The tension in the drawings lies in the balance between randomness and order. The fact that the individual elements are seemingly unrelated arouses curiosity in the viewer, who tries to grasp the underlying patterns and connections. Langhelle was educated at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, Statens håndverks- og kunstindustriskole in Oslo and the University of Bergen. The artist lives and works both in Berlin and in Western Norway.
TF: Aage, can you tell us a bit about your artistic work?
AL: I now work mostly with drawing and graphics. I used to work a lot with photography and installation, but gradually I missed the creative process that takes place on several levels in good old-fashioned craftsmanship. I've also worked digitally with photography and drawing, but digital tools currently give me little resistance, both physically and mentally. So as far as techniques are concerned, you could say I've come full circle, I'm back where I started.
TF: Why do you draw? Tell us a little about your work process.
AL: Drawing is a simple way to materialize and develop underlying currents and thoughts. It can remain a sketch, a draft for new works, or become drawing art.
My starting point is the idea that primary information about us is stored in the unconscious mind. It communicates with us in its own coded language, a personal alphabet that our consciousness tries to decode. I read mythological stories (fable/science fiction) as a method of trying to establish a communication with the unconscious. It inspires me to automatically draw and free association. Eventually, my own experiences also become involved in the process and the work becomes more representative.
TF: Can you name some artists with focus on drawing who inspire you?
AL: There are many, but I always come back to classics like Albrecht Dürer, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Paul Klee, Otto Dix and Giorgio De Chirico.
TF: You are interested in mythology and the unconscious. How is this expressed in your art?
AL: It has evolved slowly into the images you see today. Two important periods of study form the basis. I started with automatic drawing when I studied for a while with Professor Gerhard Rühm (musician/writer/visual artist) at the Hamburg University of the Arts. Shortly afterwards, I was involved in literary studies. This led to a need to combine experiences from literature with visual art, not in the direction of illustration, but to find expressions for states in the borderland between unconscious and conscious. As the brain is our first archive, I start by drawing memories of literary texts.
TF: What other themes preoccupy you as an artist?
AL: In my mental landscapes, a metaphysical wonder can be said to be a common denominator.
TF: What does it mean to draw for you in your work?
AL: I consider the line to be central to my work. Both as a tool in the work process and in finished images. It has been with me since I started drawing and printing on fabric in my boyhood bedroom.
TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!
AL: They are all drawn with marker pen on paper. The motifs in the works in Tegnerforbundet are the basis for a new series of larger drawings and graphics that I'm working on now. They will be exhibited in the fall.
Image: Aage Langhelle. Hall of Fame.