Everyone who has followed Anders SCRMN Meisner, since his first exhibiton with Hans Alf Gallery back in 2012, knows that his eccentric universe has been driven by a continuous investigation of the paper as a medium. In the beginning, SCRMN sketched his works on cut-out pages from obscure encyclopedias that he found in the back of old bookshops in Amsterdam. Later on, he started processing them into idiosyncratic collages on the history of Western civilization with detours into mysticism and the deeply personal.
In his exhibitions “The World Was Weird” and especially “Under Distant Palm Trees” his yellowing sheets were glued together to form giant “canvases” that SCRMN painted with concise and saturated gouache, akin to Matisse and more contemporary artists like Geoff Mcfetridge and fellow Dane Søren Behncke. In that sense, his trajectory towards the canvas has been unmistakable.
In MODERN LOVE, SCRMN takes the final leap from paper to canvas. More than two years has gone into the making of what has turned out to be 15 extremely personal, poetic and most of all eclectic works. And although art lovers and consumers alike love to draw parallels, nothing really looks or feels like SCRMN’s visual language. If he is an epigone, the model for his style is found solely in a distant parallel universe, where people are portrayed as naivistic silhouettes, the world is two-dimensional, all colors are egg-yolk-deep, and love still exists in its purest, most esoteric incarnation.
With his newest collection of works, SCRMN takes on the ungrateful task of portraying love from a female perspective. According to the artist himself, it is not a question of feeling the same as a woman or to pretend to understand her, but rather to meticulously and carefully describe what he sees; to approach the topic without preconceptions as a scientist relating to his material without prejudice. The intention is to capture a special strength, tenderness and complexity, which SCRMN believes to be more cultivated with the opposite sex - but, which he also acknowledges, may only exist in the eyes of the male painter.
Art history is rife with women posing passively without interacting with their surroundings; women who seem to be hiding very little behind a jaded gaze. In Modern Love, SCRMN seeks to remove himself from this by insisting to portray strong, confident women whose emotional lives are rich but also inaccessible to him, which gives the works an almost voyeuristic character because the subjects themselves have a tangible reluctance towards being portrayed: They live their own lives, have their own agendas and aren’t easily solicited by the universe of the viewer. The women in SCRMN’s paintings are peripheral acquaintances, people the artist has met in passing or simply strangers.
Modern Love is hence also the story of a man, looking at a woman, looking at a man (or another woman or looking away). And because of this, SCRMN is aware of the inherent impossibility in his original project: Best case scenario is, he catches a splinter of something real / Worst case, he sees nothing but his own reflection.
Nonetheless, the resulting show is an extremely interesting testimony to love and longing in the 21st Century. Rewriting the old proverb, one could say that “the operation failed but the patient survived”. For the works in MODERN LOVE are alive, and with this exhibition SCRMN demonstrates that he has taken another quantum leap in an already promising career.