Knoglehegn (Bone Hedge) and Det døde birketræ (The Dead Birch Tree) are the titles of the two paintings by Anette Harboe Flensburg, both from 2020. Harboe Flensburg is known mainly for atmospheric interior paintings with light effects in a room, mirror reflections and translucency as their main, motionless elements. In Museum Salling’s two new acquisitions, nature is the main topic. In recent years, Harboe Flensburg has turned her gaze more directly to nature, in a sense stepping outside the room, out to where ‘the trees exist’, to quote the title of the artist’s current exhibition at the Nivaagaard Collection, which includes Museum Salling’s two new paintings.

Bone hedge and tree trunks

The image in Knoglehegn is taken from Harboe Flensburg’s own garden, where a hedge forms the boundary between her lot and the neighbour’s. In winter the branches are bare, and in a certain evening light they sometimes suddenly take on the appearance of bones. Bone and hedge – as the artist has previously explained, combining two words in an unexpected way can have an ‘electrifying’ effect. In order to capture the image, Harboe Flensburg constructed a small cardboard model with a ‘panorama window’ and a transparent ‘curtain’ that she placed in her window sill. Her studies and photographs of the actual bone hedge through the cardboard model in varying weather and light conditions served as her sketches for the actual painting.

In Det døde birketræ a large, coarse birch trunk towers up before us. Seen from a distance, the depiction appears realistic. Upon closer inspection, the viewer discovers figures hiding just beneath the surface; florid, organic patterns from an earlier painting that Harbo Flensburg painted over. The patterns were made by pressing a crocheted tablecloth into wet, thick paint. The combination of the crocheted patterns and the coarse texture of the birch trunk almost appear like a clash between order and beauty on the one hand and nature’s harsh reality on the other.

About Anette Harboe Flensburg

Anette Harboe Flensburg (b. 1961) attended Design School Kolding in 1981–85. Her main medium is painting, often with spatial examination as a key topic. Her process typically involves meticulous photographic registration of spatial models which she subsequently transfers and combines to form her characteristic expression. Harboe Flensburg has exhibited frequently in Danish museums, and her works are included in many museum collections. In the course of her career, she has received a number of accolades, including the Carnegie Art Award in 2003, the Eckersberg Medal in 2017 and the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist Grant in 2018.