LISA RYTTERLUND (SE)
Lisa Rytterlund primarily creates figurative paintings appropriating religious iconography to explore gender and sexual issues.
Rytterlund’s works show a clear influence of illustration and urban art. This can be noticed in the use of bold graphic lines and in the recurrent presence of contemporary outfits associated with suburban eastern European areas.
Rytterlund has a background in traditional Greek icon painting which emerges in her choice of subjects. In fact, she builds on classic religious images to explore issues related to women’s sexualization and gender norms.
Her knowledge of Greek icons is evident in the accurate depiction of her subjects inspired by Medieval religious paintings in their treatment of surfaces, compositions and the choice of material.
Rytterlund, in fact, often uses metal leaves to create golden halos and backgrounds similar to those used in religious paintings to symbolize sanctity.
These traditional elements are combined with contemporary elements such as the recurrent appearance of tracksuits worn by Rytterlund’s characters. The specific three-lined patterns worn by her subjects appear as well in some textile artworks and as abstract background in more recent works.
Rytterlund appropriates work by famous artists, in this case, replacing the iconic picture of the mythical Medusa with an image of a phallic-haired girl, mocking the position of women in society. This may be viewed as a form of empowerment and sexual liberty, stressing the fact that women can also think about sex and not be worried about societal rules. Moreover, through the myth of Medusa, Rytterlund reflects on solidarity among women in the attempt to contrast a patriarchal system as in the story she is turned into a monster by Athena as a punishment for a crime committed by a man.
Uniting religious and sexual references to traditional and contemporary elements, Rytterlund creates ironic and powerful artworks highlighting the absurdity of social systems.