Henrik Aa. Uldalen was born in South Korea in 1986 and raised in Norway. He then spent time in Barcelona, Florence and Mexico City, before moving to England in 2015. Henrik is a self-taught, expressionist artist, whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting. Developed for over 12 years, his technique is placed together with abstract impasto, presented in a contemporary manner. Henrik examines the dark side of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The artist’s practice helps him grasp his entity, expressing “I paint because I need to paint. I have always had things in my life that I need to work out, and I’ve found that the best way is to take it out in the studio.”
Though a figurative painter, his focus has always been the emotional and metaphysical content rather than narratives, his works being self-portraits projected onto models. This visual stimulus is deeply ingrained in his production.
Moreover, the prevailing motif of covered or shut eyes, is symbolic of the atmospheres, struggles and inner turmoil’s rather than the physical conceivable world. As part of his daily routine, Henrik begins with a brief sketch, allowing him to release his artistic endeavour. Using oil paint as his main medium, the artist interprets his own photography. The poignancy of his canvases, achieved through the striking application of the paint creates atmospheres often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism. The existentialist nature of his realist paintings appears like a breath of fresh air in a contemporary art world saturated with abstraction and conceptualism. Indeed, Uldalen leaves the viewer to build a narrative of his works. The artist has described the creation of his work taking place with ‘no limitations, pure expression’, a rare approach combining both gesture and intellect, two actions never before synchronised.
For Henrik, social media has been a significant part of his career as it has allowed him to reach his prominence. Taking Instagram by storm, the artist has reached a remarkable following since 2012. Being a part of a vast international community of artists online, Henrik shares inspiration and interacts with others across the globe. This has given him the freedom to pursue his unique and extraordinary concepts, striving away from the pressures of producing commercial work.
JD MALAT GALLERY TO OPEN WITH EXCLUSIVE HENRIK ULDALEN EXHIBITION – June 2018
Download Henrik Uldalen Exhibition Press Release (PDF)
‘Artist in Focus’: Henrik Aa. Uldalen