Sune Christiansen's work is representative of the fields of Abstraction, Expressionism, Figuration, Street art and Pop. Born in the early 20th century, abstract art can be defined as a movement escaping the classical definition of art, which succeeded in creating its own tradition through freedom and a new perception of reality. In abstract artworks, the objects are simplified, modified, and hold little to no reference to the real world. Abstract art represents a pivotal moment in modernism, and its roots can be traced to Impressionism. With Abstraction, the artists are free to explore deep into their emotions, and create completely new and liberated representations of the world, which are inherent to their own perception of it. Wassily Kandinsky, who believed that colours and shapes could be used to represent the artist’s inner turmoil, is often considered as the father of abstract art.
Expressionism can often be considered rather as an international tendency than a coherent art movement, which was particularly influential at the beginning of the twentieth century. It covered various fields such as art, literature, music, theatre and architecture. Expressionist artists wanted to express emotional experience, rather than physical reality. Famous Expressionist paintings include Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Wassily Kandinsky’s Der Blaue Reiter, and Egon Schiele’s Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up. Expressionism is a complex and grand term that has meant different things at different times. However, when we speak of Expressionist art, we tend to consider the artistic tendency which emerged as a reaction to Impressionism in France, or the movement which emerged in Germany and Austria in the early twentieth century. The term is so flexible that it can accommodate artists going from Vincent van Gogh to Egon Schiele and Wassily Kandinsky.
Often perceived as the opposite of abstraction, figurative art also exists beyond just a simple depiction of reality. Although it essentially implies the ability to depict a real-world subject, the style, approaches and mediums that can be chosen by the artist are boundless, which gives figurative art the possibility to be truly innovative and radical. Some great examples of figurative art include Henri Matisse’s sculpture The Serf, or Pablo Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles D’Avignon.
The international extent of street art is highly significant, as it represents an extraordinary form of modern artistic expression, and often a mean used to question social structures. Street art is often thought of as originating from graffiti art of the 1970s-1980s, although it highly focuses on the artistic approach and the vision of the artist, it can exist in urban settings as well as in art galleries and museums. Pioneers of the genre include Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
As the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark has often been rather influenced by the Germanic culture of Northern Europe, which borders its southern limits. This responsiveness is often combined with the Nordic traits of restraint and melancholy in its arts. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, and in the earlier part of the twentieth, Denmark produced an extremely important painter of Post-Impressionism, Vilhelm Hammershøi. Noted for his melancholic and extremely scarce interiors, Hammershøi's reputation was founded on his exquisite representations of light and shadow in modest, elegant interiors, most often his own residence. In the later twentieth century, Denmark was a key country in the CoBrA movement of Expressionist painting, where the naming convention was derived from the cities of the founding members - the Co standing for Copenhagen on behalf of Danish artist Asger Jorn. Founded in 1949, CoBrA's bright colours and lively childlike figures became both a scandal and sensation. Other critically acclaimed modern and Danish artists include Per Kirkeby, Olafur Eliasson, Danh Vō, Sergej Jensen and Tal R.
Born in 1988, Sune Christiansen was primarily influenced by the 1990s. Art in the 1990s was defined at the beginning of the decade by a group of artists in the United Kingdom that came to be known as the YBAs, or Young British Artists. They were a diverse group of artists, affiliated loosely by their age, nationality, and their association with Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art in London, alongside being favoured by super collector of the time Charles Saatchi. The most renowned artist of the group is Damien Hirst, who was also an early organiser of group activities. Other members included Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood. Much of their work became famous for shock tactics and the sensationalism of both material and message. They also became known for their use of throwaway materials, wild-living, and an attitude that was simultaneously counter-culture rebellion but also entrepreneurial. They gained a large amount of media coverage and dominated British art during the 1990s. Their international shows in the mid-1990s included the now legendary ‘Sensation'.
Conceptual photography led by German ideas and artists came to prominence. Artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Wolfgang Tillmans gained major recognition, and inspired other artists such as the Canadian Jeff Wall, who experimented with the kind of cinematic expansiveness associated with the German artists’ work. Painters like Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger exerted a notable influence on younger artists.
Also gaining prominence at this time was an emergent trend in Japan related to the huge boom in advertising and consumerism that took place during the economic dominance of the 1980s. The indigenous comic book culture of manga, allied to trends in advertising, graphic design and packaging, saw a young artist called Takashi Murakami develop his theories which he coined ’Superflat’. Influenced by his experiences in New York City in the mid-1990s, Murakami formed an influential collective called Kaikaikiki, which became internationally renowned as an artistic group.
A proliferation of trends characterised the decade, including the highly derisive sculpture of Maurizio Cattelan, and highly sensitive advancements of conceptualism as shown in the work of artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Relational Aesthetics became a key idea. It was a term coined by curator Nicholas Bourriaud in the 1990s to describe the tendency to make art based on, or inspired by, human relations and their social context. Works by artists like Douglas Gordon, Gillian Wearing, Philippe Parenno and Liam Gillick were described as key artists who worked to this agenda.