World Champions of Painting – Karin Mamma Andersson

First post in a series of three, four or five. Go HERE for the introduction.

The reigning champion of the world, the no. 1 painter, all categories:

Karin Mamma Andersson

Yes, that’s Mamma as in mama.


Foto: Mikael Olsson

As a painter this mother simply is the best practitioner alive. She is experimental, free, creative, certain and humorous. She is every hackneyed cliché adjective that comes to mind when discussing The Greats of our kind.
Hers is love both motherly and otherworldly.
However embarrassing this is to me, since I do have American readers I feel obliged to point out that Andersson’s paintings aren’t trying to impress on anyone. Dear friends, there can be great opportunity in regarding a work of art expressing the human condition as it is, without buttercream and powdered sugar frosting.
Her voice originates from hard knock rural Sweden; still it more than holds its own universally.


“We Work so Closely Without Even Knowing It”, 2005, 160cm x 128cm, acrylic and oil on two panels

On scrutinizing her paint application Andersson’s self certainty and extensive experience become all too apparent to the eye in the know. There’s no evidence of fear. The paint surface in places appears agonizingly alien yet at the same time simple and childish, invigorating. In a very playful but controlled manner she draws full advantage of the paint.
Mind you, her oeuvre is nothing for the light of heart. While some are left dumbfounded by Andersson’s work, spectators willing to really confront her imagery are left all the wiser. You’re confused, you’re spellbound, and you’re reminded of how fortunate you really are.


“Travelling in the Family”, 2003, 122cm x 92cm, acrylic and oil on panel

Her expression is at once very brusque and dainty.
In her imagery she ingeniously makes man’s horrible and fathomless darkness graspable and venial.
Andersson represents the final frontier of Swedish Memento Mori. Her imagery echoes that of the late Ingmar Bergman. Profound and proud but with a subtle whiff of ‘fuck you’. We’re moving into territory where Sweden with the rest of Scandinavia has long proven a somewhat lonely force. Leave this rocky north and you find everything slightly more shallow and stinky.
As did Andersson’s peers she presents a pictorial depth that by far surpasses the obvious boundaries of her medium. We’re invited to follow multi-layered narratives; motifs of a world distant yet immediately present.


“In the Room of Another”, 2002, 81cm x 64cm, oil on panel

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person. She held a lecture / a presentation of her work at an art school I was attending during the autumn of 2001. I remember her as being funny and beautifully human in person. In addition to that, I once saw a photo of her tits.


“The Best Storyteller 1”, 2005, 122cm x 80cm, acrylic and oil on panel

The subject of the unchallenged dominance of Karin Mamma Andersson lends itself poorly to blagging. I assure you this is not just another case of me being a crappy writer or not knowing what I’m talking about. I am a master painter, and I haven’t often lacked insight into any topic. To prove my point I’d like to encourage you to look up anything written about the work of Andersson; you’ll see everything fails miserably at doing her justice. No one comes even remotely close to expressing a valid comment on even one of her canvases. Suck it.

Karin Mamma Andersson. Nuff sayd.

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