This month Danish painter, Morten Lassen, is hosting a highly anticipated exhibition in London called “Interference,” using oil and spray paint on linen while exploring the intersection between the natural and digital worlds. Lassen likes to think of the paintings as maps which chart the empty spaces of the modern world awash with invisible signals, codes, and pulses of information – an abstract expression of the chaos inherent in both physical and digital tracks.
Lassen grew up in the south of Denmark where his mum and dad were teachers, but were really interested in art and were also creative themselves. His passion for art stemmed when his family visited exhibitions and like most kids, he did a lot of drawing and painting at school. His family had a small studio in the basement of their house, and that became the starting point for being creative in his spare time. From the ages of 16-20, Lassen did a lot of experimenting, and his enthusiasm for painting took off!
Lassen hosted his first small local exhibition when he was 19, and then he moved to Copenhagen where he worked almost full-time painting while studying for a degree in art education (at the time the artist dream seemed uncertain, so his degree served as a backup plan). As his career blossomed, Lassen was selected for several art accolades and started hosting exhibitions around Denmark. In 2003, he took up a residency at Sydney Grammar school beginning his Australian adventure – and later, he graced the UK, Asia and the States with his artistic presence.
Alongside the major works on display in London, Lassen will be launching a book on his art, offering collectors an insight into the philosophy behind his creations. Hailed as an ‘artist to watch’ by the Wall Street Journal, “Interference” will be his fourth exhibition in London, following a show at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in New York last year.
Art Zealous borrowed five minutes with Lassen to chat about London gems & his upcoming book.
Art Zealous: Hometown?
Morten Lassen: I grew up in a small town called Graasten in the South of Denmark, close to the German border.
AZ: You’re having another exhibition in London – where is your favorite place to frequent in the city?
ML: I started working with the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery 10 years ago – I think this is my fourth show in London, and I have also shown twice in the NYC gallery. When I am in London, I usually stay close to the galleries in Conway Street and Charlotte street. I love the small restaurants and cafes in Charlotte street and the Soho area. If I want to go shopping, I walk down the small streets to find more local brands.
AZ: Favorite travel destination?
ML: I lost my heart to Sydney, and have lived there on and off many times. I love big cities like Singapore, Paris, London and NYC. Day to day, I live on the coast of Denmark, so I get my big city fix when I travel.
AZ: What would the title of your autobiography be?
ML: I think, “PAINTER.” Painting is my language, and the way I express myself best.
AZ: What is your material of choice?
ML: I work with artist-quality oil paint and spray paint on Belgian linen and coated paper. When I was younger, I worked with acrylic paint, but oil paint just fits my painting process a lot better.
AZ: Please tell us about your upcoming exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack London gallery elaborating on the theme of exploring the intersection between the natural and the digital worlds.
ML: My new show at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery is called “Interference.” Over the last few years, I have tried to describe the invisible world around us. It started as an interest in the new digital world with WIFI, GPS, Bluetooth etc, but after focusing on the transport of data, my focus changed to describing the meeting between the digital world and the organic world. What we see, hear, and feel is also invisible and the interaction between the organic world and the digital world is very new and interesting. My paintings are still abstract and I am not trying to describe the invisible world as a scientist, but more to paint the feeling, chaos, order that characterises this meeting.
AZ: Tell us about the book you’re publishing.
ML: I have just finished my first book. The book’s focus is on the last 10-12 years, but there also are a few things looking further back. There are photos of my paintings with a timeline, so you can see the change in style and themes and there are snapshots from my daily life in the studio and when I travel. There is some text written by Ralph Hobbs, James Arvanitakis, Søren Solkaer and Rebecca Hossack, and a few of my own thoughts. It is still in the process of being printed, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
ML: I don’t look too far ahead. I show with some great galleries around the world and I will do my best to continue that. Perhaps it could be interesting to have a show in a small museum or something like that. My paintings are changing all the time, and to guess their direction is impossible as they develop in the painting process and cannot be controlled.
Morten Lassen Exhibition @ the Rebecca Hossack Charlotte Street Gallery
28 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia,
London W1T 2NA, UK
T +44 0 20 7255 2828
1 June – 2 July.
Follow Lassen on Instagram.