Arts and Gardens


Realistic Surrealism: In this strange, colorful painting by Elizabeth Thun we see no people, but clear signs of their presence. What is reality, and what is a fantasy?

© Elizabeth Thun / BONO: Outskirts, 2007.
© Elizabeth Thun / BONO: Outskirts, 2007.
Alf Edgar Andresen

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A blue swimming pool with a mosaic floor is framed by green bushes and a blue-white sky. But why is the sky paved with tiles? Some of the tiles are missing, with blue sky shining through the gaps. In two places, the tilework is interrupted by frail, colorful ribbons. They are fluttering in a wind that is not present in the rest of the picture. The picture is devoid of human beings. But, in a simple exercise, we can place ourselves within this strange world: sitting in the shadow, gazing out at the colorful, sunny landscape.

The details of Elizabeth Thun’s picture Outskirts are realistically painted. And yet, something is off. There is something surreal about the painting, something odd, indefinable. This very quality constitutes a visual effect, whicch makes us stop and watch it, over and over again.

Elizabeth Thun’s (1978-) approach to painting is characterized by a desire to find new solutions and explore new places. She seeks to create deserted scenarios that seem to be captured just before, or after, an event. In the process, she picks quite freely from art historical references and methods. Thun is considered a very promising, young artist. She received her master’s degree in art from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts, and is currently established in her home country of Sweden. Outskirts is her Bachelor’s work.