• Germany's news in English

Painter creates clash of circumstance

Hannah Cleaver · 11 Sep 2012, 16:50

Published: 11 Sep 2012 16:50 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Andersson is limping and struggling with a heavy load - his portrait work has featured people with facial disfigurement, and now focuses on people from desperate circumstances clutching or wearing the baubles of the first world. They shock and challenge the viewer, and are steadily becoming wildly popular.

Yet although his subject matter does weigh heavily on him – he said going to Haiti this summer changed his life – Andersson’s limp was from a knee injury and the load he was carrying was actually a roll of paintings.

He was in Haiti in July, on a humanitarian mission with some friends distributing medicine. It was there that he met Nakaia, the little girl in his Brand For Life painting series.

Andersson painted her holding a vintage Gucci handbag. She is joined by “sweatshop worker” wearing an A & Fitch T-shirt, while a third picture shows a young boy holding a pistol and wearing a Louis Vuitton hat. Another shows a disfigured man wearing a Texaco hat, while a fifth has not brand visible, but is called "Apple worker".

Follow the link for a selection of Andersson's work

Andersson creates a clash of circumstance – the faces staring out of the pictures telling a story of poverty and hardship unimaginable to those watching, yet the subjects wear or hold instantly recognisable first world fashion items.

“What I am trying to do is to shift our perspective. I am not condemning western culture or brands but I want to take a step back. How important is my bag or shirt?” he said.

“If you take a step back and think about what the cost is to other people – if you think about how Apple products are made and if you knew the cost we would, for example, see Steve Jobs differently.

“It’s about the people behind the brand, the sweatshop worker, who stands for every sweatshop worker, he represents humanity.”

The sweatshop worker and the boy were composites of faces he had seen on the internet, admitted Andersson.

Does this matter? The 26-year-old’s last project Stolen Faces, was a series of portraits of people with various disfigurements, from accidents, attacks, tattoos, plastic surgery, and plain bad luck. These were all paintings of specific individuals, with the idea being to give a visual voice to people who are usually marginalised.

Story continues below…

The Brand For Life series is not as literal, yet Andersson is earnest in his desire to show the collision of the material poverty of his subjects and the suddenly ridiculous objects he paints them with.

His work can be seen this week at the De Freo Gallery on August­straße 85, Berlin, until September 30.

Berlin Art Week runs until September 16 with exhibitions at galleries across the city.

Related links:

Hannah Cleaver (hannah.cleaver@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps 'Armenia genocide' concert in Turkey
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd