21.03.13 – 27.04.13
When Per Fhager (born 1980, Donsö, Sweden), revived an old-fashioned craft in order to fulfil his artistic ambition he simultaneously initiated a renewal of the Nordic romantic tradition of landscapes. His needlepoints, in the past mostly undertaken by women's hands due to their delicate needs and time consuming labour, are challenging the notion of today’s pace of production mimicking modern life. His works are depicting captions of video game stills, Nintendo NES, Commodore 64 and Sega Megadrive, the first generation that has captivated the artist’s imagination. The escalation of technical progress within this social phenomenon has had a huge cultural impact.
The video game generations of the past 40 years have created their own subcultures and codes, early consoles producing a new language making statements about stories and legends in imagery. Crucially it the iconic beginning of the video gaming industry that Fhager’s world evolves around. Like an ode to his youth he is revisiting this rich and dynamic self-controlled world.
His understanding of this medium and the interpretation of it are an interesting example of how relevant a seemingly conventional craft can be. A new direction and current context are embedded in these works of art showing a fantasy of today. The skill to create these works requires imagination, understanding and finesse. The artist executes each work in a distinct way playing with the format, different stitching techniques creating textures and colour density or a lack of it. The wool and cotton threads are mirroring the screens flickering iridescent colours. Finely stitched stills emerge from the artist’s own indulgence in the digital make-believe world, creating an entirely new catalogue of historical images.
Fhager found himself attracted to this labour-intensive medium of rich shades and diverse surfaces. He embellishes captured moments relaying key sequences within the games that have in turn become part of his internal world. With a beauty and tension at work, Fhager closes a gap broadened over centuries between contemporary art and needle point creating something truly unique. The artist creates an ‘anti-nature’, recapturing feelings of awe and euphoria. By constructing landscapes that are bright, dangerous, arresting and Arcadian, the artist is making a powerful statement about what contemporary art can be.
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