About Malin Persson
In the paintings of Malin Persson (1978, Sweden), nature goes hand in hand with abstraction. She applies dark frames and grids to depict the landscape as seen through a frame or a stained-glass window. Or as pixels – her imagery and translation of a landscape. After graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and finishing her residency at the Rijksakademie, Malin won the Royal Award for Modern Painting in 2007.
‘The painted grid above my monochrome surface can be seen as air, mud or water: all aspects of the landscape. Each grid has a specific colour that connects with the colours in the landscape. They have different temperaments, they live their own lives.’
Malin’s work may seem abstract, but she doesn’t seek to paint pure forms in relation to each other, contrary to minimalist painters such as Reinhardt, Mondrian and Malevich. The actual landscape is her orientation. Only upon closer inspection, the perspective in her paintings reveals itself.
‘I'm inspired by films like Andrey Tarkovsky's “The Mirror” and “Der Himmel über Berlin” by Wim Wenders. Those films have very slow and dense narratives, but I love the images. In my work, I embrace the beauty in melancholy. I grew up in Gränna and spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s summerhouse, on a small island in the middle of Småland. There I watched all the spectacular performances of dusk and dawn. This slow-motion film of real life sunset and sunrise became fixed in my mind. When I’m away from Sweden for longer periods of time, this image starts to fade. That’s when my landscapes become more abstract.’
According to Malin, the Swedish landscape embraces you but the Dutch landscape stays open: it consists mostly of fields with lines attached to the horizon. As a part-time restorer of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, Malin knows the entire process from cleaning old varnish to retouching damages in the surface.
‘I’ve been doing this since 2014 and have had many different paintings in my hands. It is an intense and responsible job where you get under the skin of these old masters and the particular materials they used. When I came to the Netherlands in 2000, I didn’t know who Willem van de Velde was. Now I do.’
Malin uses different sorts of imagery and has groups of series that she returns to. Her work on paper, for example, can be completely different from that on canvas. Although her work is not conceptual, it contains certain meanings. Malin likes it when her drawings, watercolours and paintings compete with each other.
‘I like to search for interesting images. Images that ask questions and continue to communicate, even after having revealed the answer. Something can be strongly harmonious, for you to just enjoy it. A work is complete when I can look at it and be directed around, without being led out of it. When I feel that there is enough fight, as well as harmony.’