Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke — Twist & tease — peintures nouvelles



Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke
Twist & tease — peintures nouvelles

Past: January 22 → March 5, 2011

For the past twenty years, Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke’s painting was essentially about process, colour, matter as well as the corporal and intellectual involvement of her person. Her work shows both rigorousness and great freedom, where the act of painting itself, the spreading of luminous matter, becomes respiration.

TANGRAMtwist & tease — new paintings

Invited by the Rothko Foundation (Latvia) for a workshop in 2009, Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke created etude-for-tangram (study-for-tangram) there, inspired by Tangram — a solitary Chinese “brain teaser” game where the original name Tchi’i Tchi’iao pan means “board of wisdom” or “board of seven tricks”. Following the games1 system of interlocking geometric shapes, she has produced a series of small format square paintings, each one made up of two triangles. From the central diagonal to the edges, the artist places fine paint drippings made in retention through small concentrated movements that are both deliberate and mastered. We are a far cry from the large gestures and wide strokes that dominated her previous work.

The series etude-for-tangram (study-for-tangram) marks a turning point in Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke’s work: whereas up until now the drippings were the “unintentional witnesses” of her large movements, they have become the expression itself, replacing the stroke that seeks freedom and momentum. Their juxtaposition and encounter draws a dense and vibrant grid; the application of colour arrives through force dragging the loosened matter towards the formation of more or less long drippings. If the choice of colours remains spontaneous and free, their playfield is determined by Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke’s “tangram”. The latter is not limited only to triangles and squares; it also includes rectangles, which are either superimposed — to form a square striped with drippings leading from the centre towards the top and bottom — or in juxtaposition, in a horizontal composition. Through this system of combinations, in theory, the work can deploy itself to infinity.

The artist once more succeeds in defying the pictorial space, using a process which is both systematic and open. The result attracts and intrigues. The intensity of light emerging from the artworks releases a jubilatory feeling. The experimentation of form, the optical game of colour and the dense sometimes impenetrable surfaces constitute a challenge for sight and spirit.


From the start Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke sought to keep a maximum openness during the realisation of her work: in the beginning she worked on fragments of street posters, giving herself the freedom to increase or reduce the work surface. By soaking her papers in paint, she created large irregular planes of colour. Following that she began to work colour through superimposed layers and large horizontal bands. In 2003 the desire for a faster and stronger paint gesture pushes her to stick the paper on stretched canvas. This new procedure leads to a major change: the brush strokes “stand-up”, from top to bottom and inversely. The artist explores the infinite possibilities of the surface by turning the support in one direction or another. A few years later, feeling limited by the predefined size of the canvas, Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke begins to use narrower formats. Working with each format on its own initially and then by bringing the canvases together, she thus creates modular and modifiable encounters. This approach finds a new impulse in 2008, when the artist benefits from a residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut: the brush strokes become longer, thinner and interwoven, giving birth to filigree that resonate on the white paper space remaining naked and very open.


The upcoming Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke (1967) exhibition, her fifth at the GALERIE MARIA LUND (2004, 2005, 2006 et 2008), is part of an impressive career initiated at ENSBA (1988-1993) with the professors Pierre Matthey, Jan Voss, Claude Viallat and the Navajo Indian Joe Ben Junior.

Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in France, Switzerland, the United States and Denmark where she originates from — in gallery’s (Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, Galerie Véronique Smagghe, Galerie Zürcher, Galerie Weinberger, DCA Gallery, Galerie Proarta and Galerie Frédéric Storme) — and in institutions (Galerie Municipale de Vitry — prize winner in 1999 and Kunstcentret Silkeborg Bad with Paper revisioned). Equally, there are numerous articles in the press (amongst others Connaissances des Arts, AZART, le Nouvel Obs, Politiken, Jyllandsposten and Børsen). In 2004, a program was dedicated to her on France Culture (interview by Marie du Bouchet in Etats d’art).

A catalogue retracing Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke work over the last ten years was published in 2007.

For the exhibition a brochure texted by the art historian and critic Ann Hindry will be published.

1 The basis of Tangram is a square made up of seven parts of which five triangles, one square and a parallelogram, whereby diverse figures can be composed. Its purpose is to evaluate the flexibility, fluidity and the creative originality of the player.

  • Opening Saturday, January 22, 2011 5 PM → 8 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

48, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10

Chemin Vert

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Maibritt Ulvedal Bjelke