Marie-Louise Ekman has alternated effortlessly between painting, sculpture, film and drama since the late 1960s. In her works, Ekman exposes the absurdity of everyday life and undermine social constructions, and in rooms decorated with floral wallpaper, people, animals and farting geezers sit at the same table.
Liberation and comic books
Marie-Louise Ekman belongs to a generation of Swedish artists who emerged in the politically turbulent 1960s. Many young artists in the 1960s were deeply influenced by popular culture, and comic books in particular. Ekman made series of silkscreen prints, stitched fishcakes out of shiny, pink silk, built enclosed worlds out of miniature objects, and borrowed the format of comic strips for her own serialised paintings. In her early works, she also appropriated images from The Phantom, Donald Duck and Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy. Ekman’s protagonists, however, are Minnie and Daisy, together with April, May and June, rather than their male friends.
At Home With a Lady
Ekman’s works have a strong narrative focus. In cramped pictorial spaces with warped one-point perspectives, dreams, passions and disappointments run amok in a heightened reality. In the series At Home With a Lady from 1973, a lonely woman acts out her desires, captive in an interior, like an animal in the zoo, reliving the same reality day after day. In Striptease (1973), this blonde female figure is transformed step-by-step, via ape and man, into a bird that flies away. This is not a sexually charged act of undressing, but a way of stripping off roles and entering and exiting states of mind. In other paintings, windows and sinkholes open up to other worlds. The women’s orifices evolve into exotic landscapes with oceans lined by palm trees, and beyond the windows are other windows, where new wondrous scenes are enacted.