Arts and Gardens

The Apple Thief

Red, blue, yellow and black. An explosion of color almost succeeds in drowning out the subject in Per Christian Vatn’s lithograph, with the everyday title of Epletyven (The apple thief). A tree and a figure that reaches upward in the process of picking the fruit is indeed part of the scene, but far from the most prominent element. Central to the background is a magnificent building, a mosque or a church with dome and towers. The whole scene seems to begin with the blue dome, which is located in the vanishing point of the picture.

Per Christian Vatn: Epletyven, 1988
Per Christian Vatn: Epletyven, 1988
Alf E. Andresen

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Could this be the Fall of Man from the Garden of Eden? It is difficult to see whether the apple thief is a man or a woman, but some of the branches of the tree bear a clear similarity to winding snakes. Such an interpretation may also explain the violent insurgency and the dramatic color tones in the picture.

Per Christian Vatn (1954-) is a visual artist. His elongated figures in detailed, decorative surroundings can give connotations to folk art, perhaps particularly African art. Vatn uses bright colors and imaginative designs, guiding our traipsing thoughts towards fairy tales and mythology. His pictures have been purchased by the National Museum of Norway, and he has made a public art decoration at the Haukeland Hospital.