90 X 66 CM
Heaven Lent You a Soul Earth Will Lend a Grave
If Baroque painting had a twenty-first century soul it would take the form of the lenticular.
Heaven Lent You a Soul Earth Will Lend a Grave is a modern reinterpretation of one of the greatest examples of Baroque painting – ‘The Triumph of Divine Providence (and the Fulfilment of its Purposes under Pope Urban VIII)’ by Petro da Cortona (1632-1639) in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome.Opulent & theatrical, the ceiling of Palazzo Barberini in Rome vibrates with the thrum of its 100 plus characters and is a masterpiece of seventeenth century painting and optical illusion.
‘Dilated to infinity beyond the limits imposed by the architecture’, the original fresco plays with perspective whilst the modern form of the lenticular pushes the games of perspective even further. Displaying a marketing savvy similar to today’s Instagrammer or social media expert, the Barberini ceiling offers a masterclass in self promotion & propaganda, a recurring theme and comparison in Magnus’ work. ‘We think that this obsession with portraying oneself in the perfect light is something new that has come with the age of social media, but in fact humans have been doing so for centuries.’
Born in London to Norwegian parents, Magnus Gjoen grew up in Switzerland, Denmark, Italy as well as in the UK. As a contemporary artist Gjoen has exhibited worldwide and questions the notions of beauty by juxtaposing a range of styles and media, incorporating a street and pop aesthetic with a fine art approach. His pieces draw on history and allusion, using existing artworks or fragments from the past to create his own, contemporary aesthetic.
Describing himself as an ‘accidental’ artist, Gjoen studied fine art and fashion design which led to a successful career in fashion, working for brands such as Vivienne Westwood.
A move back into the art world came from decorating the walls of his London flat and realising he could do so with his own artworks. Thought-provoking and often-emotional, Gjoen’s art offers a modern spin on old masterpieces or manipulates powerful and strong objects into something fragile yet beautiful. By blending two genres from completely different worlds, his art is about rediscovery, taking things from the past and renewing them for the contemporary market. Breathing fresh air into dusty old paintings found in the far corners of a museum or lending a sense of beauty and grace to typically powerful, even dangerous objects, Magnus Gjoen’s work invites a second look. It’s this ability to engage with the viewer and get them questioning, challenging and thinking that makes him a promising and successful young artist in the contemporary art world.