The passerby, perhaps a little shaken by life, enters the gallery: in sharp contrast to the daily horror, he finds himself confronted with a rapturous celebration of human existence:
Bright reds, blues and yellows vibrate on the canvas, set tensely against each other and sometimes against black. Man appears as a natural being and yet at the same time is at home in the cosmic expanses of the universe. He floats over sky bridges in space or stands on shimmering plains, above which a sun shines mightily.
The painter also lets his creatures crash back to earth like comets, or blocks their return below with proliferating tissues. But these are only moments of non-fulfillment in a sea of bliss. The manneristically elongated figure is bodiless, devoid of all earthly heaviness, and brings to mind the spiritual astral bodies of Steiner’s teachings.
From behind the expressive painting, the romantic longing for self-evident oneness of man with the surrounding world shines forth. The introductory text of the catalogue asks whether man is made for the world at all, the world that is hardly nature at all anymore because man faces it instead of being with it. This is the counter-vision that Frans Widerberg develops by tearing down all spatial and temporal barriers. In this way, man becomes vulnerable in his work, but can still triumph.
Widerberg is a well-known artist in his Nordic homeland. After graduating from the Oslo Academy in 1963, he first appeared as a graphic artist, with woodcuts in particular which were created as literary illustrations.The artist’s romantic influences were already expressed in these works. The paintings shown in the exhibition are from the past decade, but the Widerberg’s concentration on primary colours, which is at their foundation, dates back to the second half of the 1960s.
Widerberg is one of those artists who found his way early on and then only had to flesh it out. The ethos of his art, the visionary claim that supports it, can also be understood through the awakenings of the late sixties. The new sensibility found at that time towards the body, the opposite sex, and nature in general emanates from the paintings to this day.
Text: Berliner Zeitung, No. 221, September 23 1991/ Andreas Quappe