Per Mølgaard

The heart has got to open in a fundamental way

The title of the work is from the song Democracy on Leonard Cohen’s 1992-album Future. Typically for Per Mølgard’s motifs, it expresses a distillation of a mental experience or state of mind; in this case the fundamental human longing for love and compassion.

Two central figures in the work are depicted in delicate, lightly expressive “pencil drawing” set against a landscape in linear perspective with a low horizon line and sloping lines meeting in a distant, luminous vanishing point to create a sense of depth. Light shimmers along the road like small rotating suns from the street lamps, spreading out in a rain of colorful splinters in an otherwise empty landscape, painted in the broken, muted colors typical of Mølgaard’s preferred palette.

The painting has an air of delicate melancholy, expressing the longing of the two androgynous figures though their enormous, sensitive hands and outstretched, intertwining arms. The two figures aren’t standing in the landscape but floating above or outside it, as emphasized by their transparent bodies and the fact that they partially break the boundaries of the upper frame of the painting, leaving a head and a hand beyond it. This work on Bysøplads highlights the ways we try to reach others — and the fact that human encounters require us to open our hearts.

b. 1969 in Roskilde, lives and works in Sweden.