Louisiana Channel: I Don’t Make Cute Decorative Paintings

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“I’m not the type to have a little easel and fiddle with a brush”

Meet German-born artist Ursula Reuter Christiansen in her studio in Denmark and learn more about her practice and an artistic career of more than fifty years – and counting. 


Reuter Christiansen takes us from her roots in the German town Trier and all the way up to her most recent, large-scale action paintings. On the way, we stop in front of a handful of works from the artist’s enormous production.

Reuter Christiansen talks about influences from Catholicism, literature, romanticism, mannerism, politics, female role models, and peers in her youth such as Markus Lüpertz, Jörg Immendorff, Imi Knoebel, and Sigmar Polke – and the decisive influence from professor Joseph Beuys, whom she studied under at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in the mid-1960s.

The use of different materials in creating artworks that have a strong physical, sensual presence is at the heart of the artist’s production. “I’m not the type to have a little easel and fiddle with a brush”, she notes and shares one of her most recent works where the political substance is formed with paint, bodily action, and raw eggs.

The video opens with a passage from Reuter Christiansen’s text “Fast pictures” (1983): “Fast pictures, hasty pictures, scrawled pictures, impatient pictures, mirror pictures, desperate pictures, amorous pictures, revealing pictures, superficial pictures, mad pictures, never: nice, comfortable, thoroughly prepared, sweet-smelling, conciliatory pictures. All I can say is that I HAVE PAINTED THEM! … These pictures are true curiosities. Look at them, dammit!”

Ursula Reuter Christiansen (b. 1943) is a German-born artist, based in Denmark since 1969 when she graduated from Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and married Danish artist and composer Henning Christiansen (1932-2008). Reuter Christiansen has exhibited widely. In 2001, she represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale with Henning Christiansen. She has participated in group exhibitions such as WACK! Art and the feminist revolution at MOCA in Los Angeles and MOMA PS1 in New York in 2007-08. Recent museum solo exhibitions were held at SMK National Gallery of Denmark and MdbK Leipzig. Reuter Christiansen has served as a professor at HFBK Hamburg and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. For more information on the artist see: https://ursulareuterchristiansen.com/about/

Ursula Reuter Christiansen was interviewed by Tine Colstrup at her studio in Denmark in July 2020.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken

Edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen

Produced by Tine Colstrup

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Den A. P. Møllerske Fond

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