Bertil Sjöberg


Stations in life: 70s

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Torroella de Montgri – Antiquity and Myths

Artistic air marked by form and content. It is illustrative and narrative, but does not report, for example, about reality when it is manifest. It is historical narrative and past expressed in calligraphic form. There are pictures that contain a surrealistic mysticism, expressed in drawn symbols and figurations. Things are experienced that have been retrieved from deep-most memories. Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm 1976

In the Sixties, Bertil Sjöberg’s works developed into a poetic language of tiny symbols that gradually turn into magical landscapes. Not the least because of the influence of archaeological digs performed by his wife Bitten, the Phoenician goddess Tanit moves into these landscapes more and more frequently. In Bertil Sjöberg’s new domicile on the mainland, Ibiza’s patron saint was supplanted by figures from antiquity.

Karl-Erik Eliasson summarized this in the Helsingborgs Dagblad of February 12,1976, under the heading ”Living Past: Antiquity and Myths” as follows (translated by Bitten Sjöberg):

It is obvious that Sjöberg’s move to Torroella de Montgri has had a decisive influence on this artist’s development.
The content of his pictures in the current exhibition bear witness to an influence of a particularly fruitful kind. With one daring picture, one could claim that the artist had established an umbilical cord to this piece of Spain’s mother earth since he has been living in Torroella. His art is being steadily furnished with new nourishment and impulses via this umbilical cord.
The area was once a Greek colony and a mysterious mystique that is projected by the earth there is reminiscent of earlier times.
Sjöberg has recognized the necessity of lifting the veil that has been covering the classical past, retrieve memories from the earth and translate them into today’s idioms.

Nevertheless, as so often happens in Bertil Sjöberg’s paintings, decline and impending downfall are lurking even under the beauty of antiquity. Delicate organisms resembling airborne seeds are possibly bearing death and destruction, the Pompeian Horse contains the subtitle ‘79’—the year Mt. Vesuvius erupted; grinning demons are lurking where they are least expected, and under the dangerously thin crust of the earth are dwelling the monsters and mythical creatures of a pristine world predating antiquity.

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