Henrik Godsk (born 1975)
Henrik Godsk is both part of an art historical tradition and a renewal of this tradition. When encountering his works, it is difficult not to think of modernism and the master of cubism before him, Pablo Picasso. Henrik Godsk, too, works mainly in planes somewhere between figurative and abstract imagery, and his colour palette has a noticeable hint of retro. He completely acknowledges his affinity with modernism, which was an artistic movement from around 1900 - 1960, and he, as well as the modernists, often work in a dogmatic way, cutting excess to the bone.
Classic simplicity seems to be the key to produce simple, strict and timeless works, which have captured a large audience with their calmness and clarity. Often using very few brush strokes and limited nuances, this artist creates long-lasting, classic paintings, which can be experienced as both figurative and abstract. Perhaps this is why we are drawn in and want to rest our gaze at them. Henrik Godsk’s works do not tell a dramatic story or scream with colour – on the contrary, they ooze calmness with their limited, quiet, slightly dark palette and simple figures. Still, they possess the colour of modernism where the nuances are not naturalistic but rather determined by a pursuit of colour simplicity and minimalism; often the simple colour planes are what creates the composition itself. A certain respect for the classic form is obvious in his art while, at the same time, the innovative imagery and geometrical lines create a unique universe that allure the viewer. Henrik Godsk focuses on still life motifs and portraits and, particularly in his portraits, creates an imprint of people who, caused by the constructed geometric expression, keep a distance from the viewer and somewhat cools the experience. He manages to transcend time and place so that the viewer only relates to the person portrayed and are left to reflect on their personal history and what it might represent.
Henrik Godsk’s universe is full of contrasts, planes and straight lines giving a slight three-dimensional experience in both his still life works and his portraits, which is what he is most famous for. They have an androgynous expression – the person appears immediately as women but also in a space between the feminine and the masculine, which causes us to see them more as people than as gendered beings. They have erect postures and are non-communicating or neutral. Their gaze at us is direct and their posture, the straight back, the colours and planes, the manipulated perspective and their distance draws us in. The style is at once old and completely new. Godsk creates an elevated, almost religious, calmness and peace, which work as an anchor and a counterbalance to the stress and feeling of inferiority of modern life. We see in Henrik Godsk an extraordinary contemporary artist whose works will always have a classic appearance.