This time it is personal!


The title of Tom Sanford's exhibition is taken from Italian artist and writer Giorgio Vasari's groundbreaking first work of art history, written in 1550. Inspired by Vasari's ambition to document his time in both painting and writing, Tom Sanford has painted portraits of his contemporaries, both artists and otherwise, that he admires, respects, and even loves. It is fitting that Sanford documents this moment for Gallery Poulsen as he can be characterized as the Godfather of Gallery Poulsen as he has played such large part in introducing the gallerist to the vibrant and pulsating New York art scene.

As in his past work, Tom Sanford portrays current events and people. However, in this exhibition, the artist has directed his gaze and paintbrush brush towards something personal and familiar, namely the art world and the artists who he feels attached to in Denmark and in New York. It is not simply the gallerist who brings New York art and American themes to Copenhagen. Sanford demonstrates that this is a two way street: the artists come to Copenhagen to show us their work and we give them some of Denmark in return.

Tom Sanford’s second solo show at Gallery Poulsen marks his longstanding connection to Copenhagen. A relationship that started with his 2005 exhibition "The Life and Times of TomPac " at Gallery Faurschou. On his first visit the Danish rapper Jokeren invited Tom Sanford to create paintings that became the cover art of his album Gigolo Jesus, which was released the same year. One of the many enduring friendships that started during his first trip to Denmark and have led to this remarkable group of paintings.

The artworks in the exhibition are painted in Tom Sanford's distinctive pop art style with which he portrays current events while referencing classical compositions from art history. The exhibition's central artwork, Cafe Copenhagen is inspired by Jörg Immendorff 's Cafe Deutschland . Portrayed here is a group of personalities and artists of significance to Tom Sanford (and Gallery Pouslen). The group is seen drinking at a classic Copenhagen institution, Cafe Victor. Sanford, always an unreliable narrator, depicts a scene that has never actually occurred, but one that could easily be real. Café Victor is in fact the first place that Poulsen artists are introduced to before they are let loose for an exhibition at the gallery.

The exhibition’s diverse portraits are inspired by the German artist Otto Dix who painted his contemporary fellow artists and civic clients during the Weimar Republic. In Sanford’s version Danish artists are portrayed in situations which are (at least for the artist) unmistakably Danish, painted from the artist's memories of Copenhagen The second part of the portraits are of American painters, colleges of Sanford, who also have strong ties to Denmark and its contemporary art scene.

With reference to Philip Guston's late works, Tom Sanford has painted a very personal portrait of a New York family in the year 2014. Here is the artist's family , pictured in his Harlem studio, with the characteristic Brownstones in the background. In the piece Tom Sanford's painterly heroes are given a nod: Peter Saul, Philip Guston, Ashley Bickerton and Otto Dix, all who are referenced throughout the exhibition.

Tom Sanford has said of this exhibition: "I want to make paintings about the conflict between artistic aspiration and the real world. I want to create paintings that connects me to the artists whose work I admire and who make me feel that I am not alone . "

The exhibition feature 9 new oil paintings and 3 works on paper. At first glance, Tom Sanford’s art appear straight forward even easy, but a closer look reveals that they anything but. Present in each painting is masterful and varied painting technique combined with a vast knowledge of art history on top keen observations and insights into contemporary culture. These pictures are layered with references multiple meanings embedded in each scenario for the viewer to explore. In other words, with Tom Sanford one cannot judge the book by it’s cover!


This time it is personal!


Titlen på Tom Sanfords udstilling er lånt fra italieneren Giorgio Vasari's kunsthistoriske værk fra 1550. Inspireret af Vasari har Tom Sanford malet portrætter af kunstnere og mennesker han beundrer og holder af fra hans samtid. Tom Sanford kan karakteriseres som The Godfather i Gallery Poulsen, da det var ham, der i sin tid introducerede galleristen til den pulserende og vibrerende kunstscene i New York.

Som sædvanligt har Tom Sanford skildret sin samtid. I denne udstilling har han vendt blikket og penslen mod noget personligt og velkendt, nemlig kunstverdenen og de kunstnere som han føler sig knyttet til. Det er altså ikke blot galleristen, der bringer New York og de amerikanske temaer til København, men udvekslingen går også den anden vej.

Tom Sanfords 2. soloudstilling hos Gallery Poulsen markerer hans mangeårige forbindelse til København og Danmark. Et forhold, der i sin tid startede med udstillingen ”The Life and Times of TomPac” hos Galleri Faurschou i 2005. Efterfølgende inviterede den danske rapper Jokeren, Tom Sanford til at skabe malerier der danner coveret til hans album Gigolo Jesus, der udkom samme år.

Værkerne i udstillingen er malet i Tom Sanford’s karakteristiske popkunst stil, hvor han portrætterer sin samtid med referencer til klassiske kompositioner i kunsthistorien.
Udstillingens hovedværk, Cafe Copenhagen er inspireret af Jörg Immendorff's Cafe Deutschland. Portrætteret er her en gruppe personligheder og kunstnere med betydning for Tom Sanford. De er placeret i en klassisk københavner institution, Cafe Victor og forestiller en scene, der ikke har fundet sted, men som sagtens kunne være virkelig. Café Victor er nemlig det første sted kunstnerne introduceres til, før de slippes løs i en udstilling hos Gallery Poulsen.

Udstillingens mangfoldige portrætter er inspireret af den tyske kunster Otto Dix ,der portrætterede hans samtidige kunstner kollegaer og borgerlige klienter under Weimarrepublikken fra 1919-1933. I Tom Sanfords version er danske kunstnere, portrætteret i situationer der for ham er umiskendelig danske, malet fra kunstnerens erindring om København. Den anden del af portrætterne, er af amerikanske billedkunstnere, der som Tom Sanford selv har stærke forbindelser til Danmark og kunstcenen her.

Med reference til Philip Gustons sene værker, har Tom Sanford malet et familieportræt. Her er kunstnerens familie, afbilledet i Tom Sanford’s atelier i Harlem, med de karakteriske Brown Stones i baggrunden. I værket refereres til Tom Sanford’s maleriske helte: Peter Saul, Philip Guston, Ashley Bickerton og Otto Dix, der i værket figurerer side om side med et New Yorker familieliv anno 2014.

Tom Sanford har sagt følgende om denne udstilling: ”Jeg ønsker at lave et maleri om konflikten mellem kunstnerisk aspiration og den virkelige verden. Jeg ønsker at skabe malerier, der forbinder mig til de kunstnere, hvis arbejde jeg beundrer og som får mig til at føle, at jeg ikke er alene ”.

Udstillingen tæller 8 nye olie malerier samt 4 værker på papir. Ved første øjekast er Tom Sanfords kunst glad og lige til, men ved eftersyn er hans værker alt andet. I hvert maleri er et stort kendskab til kunsthistorien samt referencer indlejret i motivet, som beskueren kan gå på opdagelse i.
Med andre ord: Man skal ikke skue ikke hunden på hårene!

Tom Sanford vil være tilstede i galleriet fra 3 - 7 april, kontakt Morten Poulsen på +45 3333 9396 / [email protected] for mere information.


The Lives of The Artists

4 april til 3. maj
Fernisering fredag 4. april fra 17 - 20


"Café Copenhagen" 2014 Oil on canvas, 150 x 173 cm
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