Not only Sweden's best-known painter, sculptor and printmaker, Ernst Billgren is also a writer, designer of garments and furniture, film director, guitarist, and a good tennis-player.
Opening on 6 May at Galerie Anhava and the Ateneum Art Museum, "Finnish Art Improved" is an exhibition in which Ernst Billgren presents his own versions of works of the so-called Golden Age of Finnish art in the collection of the Ateneum and of some contemporary art as well.
Some of the pieces are very similar to the originals, while others contain only hints of them. The composition may be similar, although the theme has changed – of course for the better. The colours of the works create their own Billgren reality, and all of us who believe our eyes are mystics. Von Wright's classic birds can turn into clumsy wooden dummies, or his wood grouse can become a vintage American automobile, and Hugo Simberg's Wounded Angel remains as touching as ever.
The works are painted with skill, airily and wonderfully, as only Billgren knows how.