The Island in the Sea

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The Island in the Sea

Throughout two winters Helga C. Theilgaard has lived at Christiansø where she has followed life and portrayed most of the islanders. The result is an extensive exhibition where a large number of islanders have been portrayed in a way that makes us feel as if we know them. We are almost let under the skin of the individual while picturing what it is like being part of a very small community.

At the beginning of the 20th century Christiansø became an artistic center as several of Denmark’s most important artists moved to the islands and utilized the extraordinary light and the topography of the island as an impetus for a transformation of new artistic currents from France, but even though the location and its magic was the excuse, the paintings became general statements about the time and the circumstances under which they were created.
In the same manner Helga C. Theilgaard’s photographs are endearing portraits of a number of individuals as well as a portrait of the small community reflecting the outside world for better or for worse.

Like the painters who transformed familiar motives from Christiansø into general statements of the time they were created in almost a hundred years ago, Helga C. Theilgaard presents the different portraits and the story of the individual as an overall picture. Even though the individual story is still at the center diversity universalizes the overall picture. A picture which tells us about the very unique and, at the same time, and maybe even more so, about the universally human condition which, no matter where we stay and live, can place us on the outer reefs. 

Lars Kærulf Møller
Bornholm Art Museum

Excerpt from the Movie ’Øen i havet’ with english subtitles: