Tommy TC Carlsson

Tommy TC Carlsson

Born 1958 and lives in Långasjö, Småland, and Stockholm. 1977 basic artistic education, at the art school of Öland. Ever since the early 1970s, he was given the nickname “TC” and uses it to sign his works. Tommy started to paint and quickly gained a special expressive Power. On the initiative of his teachers, he was given a scholarship for his further artistic education. During his education, he developed a passion for representational art. The Dutch paintings of the 17th Century, as well as Lifes, were especially interesting for him. This established form of representational art with its traditional artists became a challenge for Tommy and at the same time was the entrance into his own oeuvre.

Tommy chose his motifs from his personal Environment. Often these were items with notable traces of the course of time, which stands in a special perspective for the Viewer through a clever composition of the painting.

Over many years of his first creative period a certain guideline phrased by Tommy >TC< Carlsson himself, shaped his style of painting: “My still Lifes are composed of old objects, which have been affected by the tooth of time for many years. With atmosphere and mysteriousness, I am trying to sell you a story. A symbolic painting, free to interpret.”

Works with precise, plane backgrounds emerged, mostly with wooden panels. Subsequently Tommy, in a large number of his work, placed the objects in the foreground and chose free background designs – whilst not using a Concrete room situation. The specialty of these works is that the room is only indicated through shadow and light, shine and feebleness on the items themselves or in the direct background of the objects. In this way, Tommy created a relationship of tension within his works which inspired many of the lovers of this art.

Stimulated by educational journeys and the participation at various art fairs Tommy increasingly changed the objects in his works and temporarily accentuated the symbolism as well as individual parts of objects. the continuous advancement of his style of painting ultimately led to a complete focusing on the object.

For a number of years, the main focus of Tommy >TC< Carlsson has been a style of painting orientated towards trompe lóeil. By playing with the deception of cognition, he found new ways of attracting the gaze of his viewers.

Tommy designs this game with a special humor. Behind the directly ascertainable, quasi-tangible, figurative reality of his objects, manifold hints and allusions become visible. They enable a contact between the artist and the viewer, an optic interaction. In this way, the works of Tommy >TC< Carlsson show a colorful reality, which connects the past, the present and a future-oriented fantasy which makes curious.

Ellen Lippe

Larissa Stenlander

Larissa Stenlander

Watercolors by Larissa Stenlander are charming and quirky works that reflect everyday human emotions. Loneliness and craving for love, social vulnerability and joy of belonging, independence and discrete cries for help – the situations and states that Stenlander’s characters find themselves in create instant recognition and emotional resonance in the viewer.

The stylized world of Stenlander’s art is quintessentially female and revolves around the artist’s alter ego: a sympathetic and a little plump middle-aged woman who is thinking about herself and life in general. Sometimes the woman is alone, sometimes she interacts with her friends, or, rather, with her own doubles. The scenes usually are humoristic, although there is an aura of melancholy over most of Stenlander’s art. The melancholy seems to be rooted in the sad premise that life is a constant struggle with the self and the world.
The emotional content of Stenlander’s drawings is enhanced by the pure, finely chiseled and minimalist imagery

Stenlander uses symbolism in the same way as the 1600s Dutch masters did in their Vanitas. Every single detail carries a certain meaning; books, bottles, ladders – all the details present in the works are necessary and are placed there for a reason.

Humorous and melancholic at the same time, Stenlander’s stripped mis-en-scenes account for an independent vision and for the artist’s very own development of a traditional genre painting.

Natalia Goldin Lundh

Karl Valve

  • Karl Valve, "Calm life", mixed media on linen, 100x100cm



Karl Valve spent his early years in Tullinge just south of Stockholm where he grew up at the same time as graffiti culture was starting to emerge and develop. Without being a graffiti artist himself, he nevertheless filled his notepads – ‘black books’ – with drafts of bold letter combinations, sometimes spiced up with figurative elements. The turning point came when he moved to Malmö and discovered P-huset Anna, a multi-storey car park with so-called ‘legal walls’. This was a favourite haunt of young graffiti artists, since it gave them the chance to paint and develop their creativity without the risk of being nabbed by the police. Their spray cans were bought in Copenhagen, which also had a broad selection of graffiti magazines.

These early experiments with graffiti were the precursor to Valve developing a deeper interest in art and especially in its technicians, since for him it wasn’t just about applying paint to a canvas (or other medium) in a figurative or non-figurative manner. In replacing spray cans with putty knives and adding layer upon layer of paint – nowadays up to ten of them – he gave his surfaces a poetic depth which invited interpretation and clarification. Important sources of inspiration for the development of his work with putty knives were such artists as Gerhard Richter (Bach Suite, 1992) and Ola Billgren, who in the same decade created his gleaming red “echoes of Pompeii”. The artist who was to have the greatest effect upon him, however, was the American Robert Rauschenberg. In the 1950s, as part of his development of late 1910s Dadaism, he introduced combines and assemblages as artistic media. The most famous example of the latter is undoubtedly his Monogram of 1959, a goat with a car tyre around its belly, but it was primarily Rauschenberg’s combines which from an early stage came to fascinate Valve. For Rauschenberg, these often work in the same way as contemporary documents or diary entries. Photographs, newspaper clippings, letters of the alphabet, and streaks of colour are combined into collages rich with association. In Valve’s current exhibition which he, with a dash of nostalgia, calls Life on the Seashore, this relationship with Rauschenberg is as evident as the differences are striking. Valve too works with combinations of colour, photographs, figurative painting and letters, but whereas Rauschenberg is extrovert in his work, Valve is introspective, otherworldly and lyrical. A streak of contemplative poetry runs through the current exhibition, not least in its bird motifs.

Without having any real idea of how the finished work will look, Valve begins by applying layer upon layer of acrylic paint to the canvas. Shifts between thin glaze and more impasto textures create a relief-like effect in the paint, the nuances of which determine the content of the rest of the painting. In Fågelmålningarna (the Bird Paintings), Valve’s palette seems to have carried his thoughts to the beach where the sea ebbs away, where the shifting light of the heavens is reflected from dawn to dusk in sand that remains ever moist and where the sun appears as a shining globe. His paintings are thus transformed from abstract lyricism into summer beaches, into a setting for birdlife but also for bathing, boats and beach cabins: a setting with horizons both deep and implicit.

The whole exhibition is characterised by a quiet beauty closely allied to nature. Should we then refer to Valve as a nature poet? ‘No,’ he says, he is a child of the city, while acknowledging a strong attraction to Taoism, the Chinese philosophy which in nature and through inward contemplation and meditation seeks to find ‘the Way’ to inner harmony and an understanding of life. One of Valve’s favourite books is Benjamin Hoff’s Tao of Pooh, an unsurpassed source of wisdom in which Valve finds a soulmate in the form of Pooh Bear’s friend Piglet. Taking Piglet by the hand is in fact an excellent way to find the right path into Karl Valve’s multi-layered and deeply poetic world.

Britte Montigny