20 August - 20 September, 2009
Lars Bohman Gallery
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Text: Olle Granath
Translation: Hans Olsson

“There are only two ways to paint – for me, at any rate – that do not adhere to
a school programme. One way is to paint by inspiration – while the paint is
wet and the mood hot, while the first enthusiasm still makes the blood boil and
compels the brush as a force of nature. The other way is to paint with a fervent,
long-suffering love’s untiring, never-failing and never-ending tenderness and
care; redo and redo again, love yourself into every corner of your motif, into
every wrinkle of a face, into every leaf of a tree. – A painting of the first kind is
usually finished in its own way. – Those of the latter kind are never finished.”

Ernst Josephson

When I first visit Erik Jeor’s studio he refers to a statement by Ernst Josephson, which
he has discovered in a catalogue produced by Liljevalchs konsthall in conjunction with a
1950s retrospective exhibition of Josephson’s work. At the time, Erik Jeor was not born,
but the statement has remained important for him. To create uncertainness round the
work, both in terms of time and space, is characteristic of Jeor’s art. My first impression
of his previous exhibition at Angelika Knäpper Gallery was that this was an artist
enamoured with ancient Chinese ink painting with landscape as subject matter. However,
closer inspection revealed that this was painting with a completely different aim. The
landscapes were perhaps chimeras conjured up in the mind of the viewer, who, in the
effusive watercolours, was witnessing a struggle between free flowing and solid, sometimes
crystalline structures.

Our conversation about the images quickly moved on from ancient Chinese painting
to Öyvind Fahlström and his 1950s paintings – works such as Dr. Livingstone and
Ade-Ledic-Nander, whose swarming shapes eluded unequivocal definition just as they do
in Erik Jeor’s paintings, regardless of other differences. In the latter’s painting, the world
of signs is not allowed to dominate as it does in Fahlström. Suddenly, unruly nebulae of
pigment and water sweep over the large sheets of paper and the disciplined drawing has to
defend its place in a world of images in which the struggle between light and dark appears
to be the essential thing.

If we return to the quotation from Josephson, it seems as if Erik Jeor wishes to
combine the two kinds of painting in one image, to integrate that which is finished “in
its own way” with that which is never finished. He creates paradoxes, which could be
described – in words other than those of painting – as if he refuses to choose between the
journey and the destination, between the question and the answer. He lets both of them
struggle for space in his images with the result that they never stop or freeze for a moment.
Concepts such as mutability and evanescence are convincingly depicted.

This is probably the background to the exhibition title, Quark. According to the
encyclopaedia, quarks are some of the smallest building blocks of matter. They are smaller
than electrons. There are several kinds of quarks, all designated by a colour. What they
have in common is that they cannot exist in isolation. In fact, in order to exist at all, they
have to be coupled with something that is their opposite. On this level of matter, there is a
constant being and non-being. What a challenge for an artist who sees his forms emerge,
get erased and change shape both within and outside of his control. Water, his solvent,
which is allowed to flow freely across the sheets, transforms them into billowing reliefs, a
specific topography underneath the painted topography. The landscape metaphor makes
itself known again, even though we are removing ourselves from the fog of the Chinese
mountains and approach Henri Michaux’s hallucinations.